Traditional japanese footwear

Traditional Footwear Types
In most cultures around the world, traditional footwear develops and evolves because of the wearers' needs and resources but also because of the climate in which they are worn. Traditional Japanese footwear is made from straw, wood and natural fabrics like cotton and silk.

: Archaeological evidence suggests that rice straw sandals, which were the earliest form of footwear in Japan, developed about two thousand years ago. Waraji have twisted straw cords that are led through loops around the feet and heels and are then fastened at the ankles. This secure binding makes them suitable for rough work and long distance journeys.

Zori: The zori developed after the waraji and can be made of a wider variety of materials depending on intended use. Simple rice straw zori are suitable for everyday wear, while brocaded silk zori are frequently worn for weddings and other special events.

Nikai Zori: These velvet-covered double rice straw-soled zori with velvet straps are betrothal sandals. These are a special gift a man gives to a woman at the time of their engagement. The two-layered sole is symbolic of their union.

Geta: Geta are wooden sandals which often have a woven tatami insole for extra comfort. More expensive versions of geta are cut from single pieces of wood, while less expensive ones have added teeth, which are fitted into grooves. Geta first became fashionable in the bustling urban centres of the Edo period (1603-1867). When geta production became industrialized in the Meiji period (1868-1912) they become more economically accessible to everyone.

Lacquered Geta: Lacquer is used on a variety of Japanese decorative objects, including geta. Made from the resin of a tree distantly related to poison ivy, Japanese lacquer is painted onto the geta surface in successive coats. The metal piece covering the knot of the strap underneath is called the mae-gane.

Tabi: Tabi are socks with a separation between the large toe and the rest of the toes, which allow the thong straps of traditional sandals to comfortably fit the foot. Tabi are the only foot coverings traditionally permitted on the tatami mat-covered floors inside Japanese houses. Although today most tabi are made of cotton, these are made of deerskin.


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