Very light and comfortable to walk in sectioned shoes
Shoes with the purpose of protecting your feet. From shoes for sports to shoes for fashion, there are shoes with all sorts of designs and purposes. There are many different kinds of outdoor shoes, born from all sorts of traditions and cultures. But as one of those many different styles, have you ever heard of the Japanese Jika-Tabi? Tabi are a type of footwear that was created during the Nara period. They have an unique shape as the big toe is separated from the rest, and this style exists only in Japan. Jika-Tabi are a product that has made it possible for you to wear this unique design outdoors.
The Shoes for the workplace are made in Japan’s craftsmen centered society
Jika-Tabi are said to have been created in Japan during the Edo period. Along with the development of Japanese culture, as jobs that required detailed work increased, the predecessor to Jika-Tabi, the Kawa-Tabi (Tabi made of leather), emerged. The Kawa-Tabi where loved by craftsmen as they grabbed onto the ground as you walked, making it possible for these workers to do more detailed work. They allowed for the same agility as when you were barefoot, while also providing protection for your feet. This was an invention made possible by Japan’s craftsmen centered society.
Jika-tabi’s forms and materials have been developed over Japan’s long history
Jika-Tabi are outdoor shoes that have been used and loved by people in Japan since the Edo period and have built up a culture of their own. In the year 1657 there was a large fire [now as the big fire of Meireki] in which half of Edo is said to have burned. With this fire, as well as the increased demand for Kawa-Tabi, which are the origin of the Jika-Tabi, the material used to create Tabi switched from leather to cotton. As the Kawa-Tabi were made of leather, they had the downside that you were unable to wash them, so the material to make Tabi was changed to the cheap and washable cotton. This was a major turning point for the Tabi. The period soon changed from the Edo period to the Meji period, and with the start of this new period, rubber production was started in Japan. Along with the advancement of skill and this new material available, Jika-Tabi where created to fit with the new times.
As the material switched from leather to cotton, and now with the addition of rubber, Jika-Tabi were constantly advancing and becoming better and better. With cotton Tabi, there was the downside that it was easy to slip when wearing them and this flaw was quickly erased by adding rubber to the soles of the shoes. These new Jika-Tabi were much easier to use than Kawa-Tabi and they also were able to add cushioning to them, which was not possible before. As the low prices of the cotton Tabi where kept, this along with other pros, such as their easiness to wash and maintain compared to Kawa-Tabi, these new Jika-Tabi built up name for themselves with how useful they were for everyday use. This is why they still continue to be used heavily by workers to this day.
The design has progressed and adapted to modern times
With the advancement of craftsmen’s skills as well as their usefulness, Jika-Tabi, which were an essential to craftsmen across Japan, soon became an essential to the everyday lives of all kinds of people throughout Japan. But as rain boots and sneakers began to come into the picture, Jika-Tabi, with their unique shape soon started to die out. Up to this point was the history of the Jika-Tabi.
With this in mind, we looked at Tabi culture from a new angle. While thinking of the original charm that the Tabi has as footwear as well as the needs of our current society, we created a newly designed Tabi. In this design, we kept the original uniquely sectioned shape of the Tabi as well as designing it with a Japanese style. With safety and usefulness in mind, this design offers protection for your feet while also being very easy to move in due to the way they grab onto the ground. We also focused on making them the best shape to slip on and off, so that they will be easy to wear like sneakers. This is the emergence of the newly designed Jika-Tabi.