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70614-0011 - Traditional Japanese Footwear

Japanese Footwear

Artist Unknown
Publisher Unknown
Medium Albumen Print
Period Meiji
Location Studio
Image No. 70614-0011
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A selection of traditional Japanese footwear ranging from geta (made of wood) to zori (bottom) and waraji bottom right).

As the above photo clearly shows, there is a large number of styles, depending on the wearer and the usage. Japanese footwear allows free circulation of air around the feet, making it perfect for the hot humid summers of Japan, although a bit cold in winter. The high teeth (歯 ha) of the geta kept the wearer’s feet clean during a rainy day on Japan’s notoriously muddy roads.

Although geta and zori had lost much of their popularity after the end of WWII, young people rediscovered them in the mid 1990’s with the new popularity of yukata (cotton summer kimono).

The yukata boom came as famous Japanese fashion brands like Kansai Yamamoto, Junko Koshino, Junko Shimada, Comme des Garçons and others threw out the traditional patterns and created beautiful new designs that attracted modern urban youths.

130609-4395 - Modern zori, Shibuya, Tokyo, 2013
Modern zori photographed in Shibuya, Tokyo, 2013.
131103-7851 - Modern Japanese geta by Japanese fashion brand tabunzettai
Modern variation on traditional Japanese geta by Japanese fashion brand tabunzettai (多分多分絶対), photographed in Shibuya, Tokyo, 2013.


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Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). 1890s: Japanese Footwear, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on March 22, 2023 (GMT) from

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Did they have to wear those in Winter also? :o



These were worn all year through, but in the colder places of Japan they also wore tabi (socks) and in case of snow a sort of snow shoes made of straw. At the time this photograph was taken such places were still barely visited by foreigners, though. So they wouldn’t have seen them.