visvim's potent mix of past and future make the FBT a true crossover paragon of foot finery du jour. It stays on the brain, regardless of your familiarity with brushed leather uppers and Apollo Mission-grade rubber soles. The FBT debuted over a decade ago and was at once timeless and ahead of its time—less a pastiche of Native American moccasins than a futuristic tribute twined neatly around its own maypole, all buttoned up and breezy.
The man behind the indigo-dyed curtain is one Hiroki Nakamura. His still-deep enthusiasm conjures thoughts of a sensei-cum-creative-director, or a shaggy, male red panda in a state of MUST, or a warrior monk whose artistic verve couldn't be contained by monastery walls, the way Fräulein Maria's artistic verve couldn't be contained by monastery walls.
In peeling away the singularly outré design elements splayed across dozens of Hiroki’s finest FBT nuggets, the fully exposed provenance of the silhouette swirls underfoot—the North America once belonging to roaming bison, peace pipes, porcupine needle work, maize, the sound of a Kodiak bear ambling out of the water.
Once you get the ghostly-stoic Hiroki talking and he senses he's got room to run, the man will wax philosophic about shoes until the casket drops. What a crazy notion in a world at war! According to Hiroki, authentic moccasins are cut from a single piece of deer or elk leather, comprising both the upper and outsole material, and is typically stitched above the instep (referred to as a "gathered toe") and down the heel with sinew. This authenticity is cross-hatched by the presence of a rubber instep, more suitable for urban-dwelling than the embryonic, soft-bottomed moccasins conceived to traverse soft knolls and leaf cover.
The ankle flaps—sometimes a single skirt, sometimes with fringe—seen on the FBT register as superfluous, but actually flip up and tie around the ankle for additional warmth. It sounds like a throwaway feature, but in practice looks just as suitable worn while keeping to yourself on the G Train as they would being attacked by a wampa whilst riding your tauntaun across Hoth.
It may be too early to call the hand-paint flourished, glam-mocc FBTs timeless, even if their ancestral annals go back a cool 100,000 daymoons before the word "timeless" was coined. No, what we have on our hands is a shoe that is beautifully older than dirt, but also futuristic enough to turn heads, or make your parents scratch them. If the FBTs invite any classification it would be that they're Future Vintage. Luxury lopers conceived by a man who woke up from a nice dream he had about the year 2135 and pledged we wouldn't have to wait quite that long for the fruits of the 22nd century. A pair of kicks that are both anachronistic and, somehow, right on time.
Rick Morrison is a writer living in North Carolina. Follow him on Twitter here.