16th Lesson: Japanese Sandals

“I bought a kimono and would love to go out wearing it, but I’m still not sure what shoes I should wear?” Read all about Japanese sandals. How are they called and what is the difference? And most important: how much do they cost?

Japanese sandals are actually a never ending topic like the kimono itself. There are hundreds of different types and forms. Until a zōri (草履) or geta (下駄) is made, it has to go through hands of different craftsman who is in charge of the different parts.

zori terms

Zōri

Zōri are sandals worn with a kimono. The dai is often made of cork covered with fabric, what makes them weak against rain. There are special ama-zōri (雨草履 rain sandals) for rainy days.

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Basically the heel of zōri is between 3 cm to 8 cm. You can choose any height you like. There are plenty of colors, patterns, and forms. Traditionally you combine gold or white zōri with a formal kimono, but it’s up to you what kind of zōri you combine. Most golden zōri are sold in a set with a suitable bag.

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By the way, there are extra summer zōri, too. They’re hanao are made of ro fabric.

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Geta

Geta are well known as “Japanese wooden sandals” which describes the main difference between geta and zōri. The dai of geta is wooden and further they’re casual. You can also call them “the sneakers among Japanese sandals”. And the best: you can wear them throughout all seasons – even on rainy days.

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Geta for men

They’re mostly combined with yukata, but there are also geta which can be worn with a kimono. When you combine geta to kimono, don’t forget to wear tabi (足袋 Japanese socks).

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Traditional footwear stores

When you go to a traditional footwear store (hakimono-ya 履物屋), there are (of course) lots of different zōri and geta, but you also see many dai and hanao lined up separately. Traditionally one chooses hanao and dai, before the craftsman puts it together. He or she will also adjust it to your feet’s size, which makes it easy to walk in those sandals from the very first time. Especially when you wear premade geta for the first time, bring patches!

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The matching size

Buying shoes in Japan can be very frustrating, because Japanese people have averagely small feet. However, this shouldn’t bother you when we talk about zōri or geta, because they are worn way different than sandals or flip-flops.

It’s important that your heel protrudes about 1 cm. In former times a protruding heel with up to 3 cm was trendy. Hard to walk but trendy. 🙂

How much do Japanese sandals cost?

The cheapest geta start with ¥1,000. Zōri are sight more expensive, but you can find cheap offers at second-hand stores or online.

 

Picture credits: © private / All rights reserved


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