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Sandals and Traditional Japanese Sandals

Before the shoes…were sandals. But in some regions, the shoes were first devised rather than the more comfortable and light sandals. Throughout the world, there are artifacts and strong evidences that sandals had been existing since human first inhabited earth. These evidences were not only found in the relics but may also be sighted in the similarities of terminology to connote something that is worn for feet covering. Take for example the Latin word sandalium, or the French sandale and even the Arabic andal. All these seem to be linked by a common idea of a sandal.

The variety of sandal types today attests to man’s mastery over sandal making and the use he has found in the item. In the following sections of this article, we will discuss some of the most popular sandal types in the world. Most of the types mentioned here will only be discussed in brief since we will try to focus on the types of sandals traditional to Japanese culture alone.

espadrille - is a type of sandal characterized by the rope sole or rubber sole with a cloth covering for its upper section.

flip-flop - is Japanese in origin and is characterized by being backless. This sandal is held on the foot by means of a thong between the second toe and the big toe.

Gladiator- named after the sandals worn by gladiators of the Roman arenas, straps that are fastened to the flat sole to hold the foot in place characterizes this sandal.

huarache or huaraches - is a Mexican sandal with flat heels and woven leather thongs for straps.

scuffer - is usually worn as playshoes among children and as sportshoe among adults. Scuffers are frequently made out of lightweight materials and are characterized for their sturdy sole.

shoe - is a footwear that is patterned to fit the foot. Usually, the upper is made of leather, plastic or rubber and the sole is made out of much heavier and sturdier material.

talaria - is frequently mentioned in most Roman myths. This is a winged sandal worn by Hermes, a Roman god.

Zori or pusher - originally a Japanese, this is a sandal made of rubber sole and two straps that are held on either side which meets at the upper part between the big toe and the second finger.

Among these general types of sandals, the most popular types are the zori, the huarache and the gladiator.

Japanese sandals

The three of the basic Japanese sandals are the geta, tatami and the zori. Geta sandals are more commonly known among Americans due to the popularity of Geisha women images. There are varieties of geta sandals but two of the best-known are the vinyl and the wooden. The latter is worn during ordinary days while the vinyl geta is worn on occasion. Geta is named as such because of the sound (click clack) they produce when being walked.

The tatami sandals on the other hand are included in the casual category. These are typically worn for normal days and daily wear. The term tatami was derived from the Japanese word for straw. The tatami sandals are crafted from tatami, the same material used in making the mat flooring for traditional Japanese houses. Traditionally, the thong either comes in black or red velvet.

For formal occasions, zori sandals are worn. Along with these sandals come tabi socks that are split between the large toe and the second toe.


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