Today, we think of the Four Corners region of the American southwest as one of the most desolate, foreboding, mysterious regions in North America. The Anasazi civilization, on the other hand, knew it simply as home. These ancient people adapted to living and moving across the dry, rugged land. They provide the inspiration for Sazzi Toe Motion Footwear extends the individual-toed footwear trend seen on the likes of the Vibram Five Fingers to sandals.

"The Anasazi, ancestors to the Hopi people, were truly ahead of their time ..." Sazi explains on its website. "Their sandals utilized two toe posts to stabilize their feet for the hardcore terrain of the 'Four Corners Canyon Lands' region in which they lived. Like the Anasazi, we understand the advantages of multiple toe posts including unmatched lateral stability and comfort. Sazzi has merged the ancient with the modern in its new four toe posted footwear line."

Sazzi was founded by Mark Thatcher, who also founded Teva. While extending the individual-toed footwear trend to sandals may at first seem rather odd, since any pair of sandals or flip flops lets all five of your toes loose, Sazzi claims there are advantages in what it calls "Toe Motion Footwear."

The company says the Toe Motion Footwear system, which consists of five independent toe planks and four prongs separating the toes, provides better lateral and forward-leaning control for athletes. Unlike a solid-soled sandal, Sazzi sandals give you some individual toe movement, which provides for more precise control.

For those that have trouble visualizing the purported benefits of five-toed movement, just think of the difference in wearing gloves versus mittens. You have much more manual dexterity with gloves because you get to use all five fingers. While the benefits of toe movement aren't as pronounced, they increase your agility and dexterity. This is particularly helpful on uneven terrain, where your foot can better conform and grip thanks to the added movement - if you were a monkey, you wouldn't want to wear shoes while climbing trees.

Sazzi's "quad post lateral stability system" also connects your foot more securely with the sandal. You get more points of connection to give you a surer fit.

Sazzi offers its Toe Motion Footwear system in two different sandals good for activities like hiking, water sports and casual wear. The US$100 Digit is the more advanced of the two and features a puncture-resistant "Dura-Shank " and heel strap. The $80 Decimal is a simpler pair that uses the same five-toed, four-pronged layout but without the heel strap. The latter appears to have much more flamboyant color options. Both will hit the market in May.

Sazzis may be a little chilly in any season not called summer, but maybe you could manage to stuff a pair of Swiss Protection Socks into them for added warmth.

Source: Sazzi via The GearCaster