Do you know Geta?
Before the Edo period (1603-1868), Japanese people wore traditional wooden clogs known as Geta or Zōri with their yukata or kimono. They are similar to the modern slippers we are familiar with today, except that their structure is slightly different and they are made from different materials.
Geta is considered informal and are worn with a yukata, a casual kimono made of thin breathable fabric. A Geta is usually made of three parts: The “Dai” which is the wooden platform where the feet rests; the “Hanao” or thong strap that holds it in place as the wearer moves about; and the “Ha” or teeth, which are two wooden bars underneath that support the base. Because of the extra height, they can to be worn even during rainy days or even the winter season without worrying about mud or snow.
For dressier occasions such as Japanese style weddings, the Zōri is the footwear of choice. They have a narrower, wedge-shaped heel that is usually covered with fabric, leather or vinyl. Brocade-covered cushion designs are also common. As formal wear, they are worn with white socks known as tabi. Elegant and expensive, Zōris can be bought with an equally stunning matching purse. Nowadays, a casual form of Zōri sandals made of rice straw have become common place. You might recognize this same material in the flooring of Japanese-style homes known as Tatami. These flat slippers are used for everyday such as with a pair of jeans and a shirt.
The Geta is steeped in Japanese tradition and has been part of the Japanese identity for centuries. One may hear Japanese elders feel nostalgia over the “clacking” it makes as the wooden heel strikes the ground. Sounds that hark back to simpler times. From sushi chefs who wore extremely tall Geta sandals to avoid soiling their feet with fish scraps to apprentice geishas (Maiko) who donned distinctive Geta footwear called Okobo, this custom has permeated throughout Japanese society.
Today much of the production of these wooden sandals have been moved to China. But traditional manufacturing lives on in Hiroshima where 60% of Geta slippers in Japan are made.
Here are 3 reasons why we think you should get a pair for yourself:
Healthy for Your Feet
Instead of wearing constricting shoes, Geta sandals allows your feet to breathe and move freely. It is believed that these slippers can help you maintain a natural posture while standing or walking. Its unique structure strengthens the foot and leg muscles and improves balance. In fact, a team at the Technology Department of Shizuoka University has proven that wearing them can stimulate acupuncture points of the feet. You might think that wooden slippers will leave you with sore feet, but if worn correctly, Geta slippers can be comfortable.
Wood is a resilient material that is recyclable and eco-friendly. If the thongs break, they can be easily repaired or replaced. Why contribute non-biodegradable waste products in landfills. Geta slippers help maintain a greener planet.
Just Look Cool
It’s no secret that Japan is one of the most fashionable and fashion forward countries in the world. The Geta traditional footwear is no exception. Unlike rubber flipflops, these sandals come in classy and artistic designs. They are not only beautiful, they are practical as well.
Want your own Geta traditional slippers? You can actually make a pair yourself. Check out this easy step-by-step at Instructables
The modern Geta-look sandals and slippers are popular nowadays
Well well, having said that, instead of wood, tatami (made of Igusa – rush) material Geta sandals/slippers are popular in Japan and overseas.
I personally like these as they’re comfy and have a cooling effect even in a hot summer. 🙂
Which one would you like to have? Traditional or modern Geta?