The Iguaneye is a shoe modeled after the original rubber shoes, crafted in the Amazon.

It has a bottom, but there’s no top, meaning air can run over your foot.

The insole is made mostly of cork, and side vents keep air running underneath it to keep things dry.

While the insole requires regular replacement, the synthetic rubber base should last a long time.

While the insole requires regular replacement, the synthetic rubber base should last a long time.

While the insole requires regular replacement, the synthetic rubber base should last a long time.

While the insole requires regular replacement, the synthetic rubber base should last a long time.

Kickstarting: An Ultra Minimal Shoe, Inspired By Amazon Natives

The Amazon’s natives invented the minimal rubber shoe. A new Kickstarter project channels the design heritage.

It’s a great commercial. Carl Lewis runs across New York barefoot, all the way up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. The reveal? The bottoms of his feet are tires. Pirelli tires.

While we’re talking about a tire commercial here, Lewis’s minimal shoes are a stone’s throw from what Amazonians invented. By dipping their bare feet in latex from the Hevea tree, they invented the world’s first rubber shoes—shoes so simplistically tailored that they put Vibram FiveFingers to shame.

It’s a convergence of these ideas that inspired the Iguaneye, a Kickstarter project for what may be the world’s most minimal shoe. The Iguaneye is basically a rubber slipper, coating the bottom of your foot to protect the skin from rough terrain, but doing little else. Is it natural, Amazonian rubber? No. But there’s a good reason for that.

“We first considered natural rubber for the main body,” designer Olivier Taco explains. “But when we realized that rubber comes from hardcore mono-culture in Indonesia, and that it must be protected from air by a huge quantity of ammonia, we decided to use synthetic rubber that is (in a paradoxical way) better for the environment.”

Where the Iguaneye really differs from other minimal shoes, though, is that it’s a total convertible—there are no tongues or straps to impede airflow over your foot—and the insole is 98% naturally antimicrobial cork. While Carl Lewis and the Amazonians wore bare rubber, the insole is a necessity, Taco explains, because “direct contact with synthetic material is not pleasant or hygienic.”

As a result, the Iguaneye has an interesting model that’s hyper vigilant around foot dryness. The shoe actually has vents that run underneath the insole, and its creators also encourage you to swap out that cork insole often, rotating through a few pairs to let the material dry out (and replacing these insoles with relative frequency.) The synthetic rubber shell—the shoe itself—promises to last a long time.

A pair of Iguaneyes can be pre-ordered now through Kickstarter for about $65.

Learn more here.

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5 Comments

  • jenmathis

    "A pair of Iguaneyes can be pre-ordered now through Kickstarter for about $65."
    This statement is somewhat misleading, as Kickstarter isn't meant to be used as a storefront. If they don't reach their goal, your "order" doesn't happen (your credit card won't be charged). As of this writing, they are only a little over halfway to their goal, with 10 days remaining in the campaign- a pre-order is anything but assured.

  • H_bhargava

    this is only good for flat surface, not on uneven or rocky areas, as one can see clearly in the ad it almost came off the foot of the person walking on rock. very small niche market, ideal for poor countries where people don't have any footwear or for ultra rich who have too much money lying around , so they can spend on fancy items like these.

  • Robertjan Kuijten

    Nice, but I already have 'ojotas':
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-JZPM...
    These can be bought locally for about $ 2 or € 1,50. These are used from the Andes plateau (over 5.000m or 15,000ft) down to the Amazonian jungle, and they give lots of grip! No cushioning though... ;-)

  • E.

    Unlike FiveFingers, this design could actually fit into a wardrobe. It mimics the ever-popular ballet flat, but maybe without so much foot sweat and better fit?

  • Heracles Papatheodorou

    Will fail in every way the FiveFingers Crocs failed. Or to put it in other words, it will be successful in the very small, niche market that believes shoes were created only to protect from your soles from blunt objects.