Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Fun Footwear

I have had a strange month with the loss of my father, and also another important person in my life history. Hence I have not been writing for a while. Recently I have been interested in feet, and I am not sure why, but mine are particularly awful looking according to children and end up being the butt?? of many jokes. I protest that they are beautiful, and I love them, (we go back a long way), but the truth of the matter is that they are better covered up.
Another truth is, well, I have a bit of a shoe addiction. I love shoes of interesting colours, and designs, and used to wear one green and one pink clog together, as I don't agree that they should have to be the same. Who made that rule? Why does everyone stick to it? I have a friend whose father always wears different coloured socks, and think it is wonderful.
I confess to having bought shoes that don't fit, just because they look wonderful, and have just kept them in the cupboard. Everybody knows how a good looking shoe (or two) can lift one's mood and make one's day brighter. I think my own collection is quite interesting, but Japanese footwear is also pretty interesting. The really high geta, as worn by oiran entertainers are beautifully lacquered and so seem to have more in common with a piece of table wear than with regular footwear, and the straw sandals, worn in the country side, appear to have more in common with hats, and they are actually woven together. Lacquered geta are sometimes beautifully carved too, and some have golden designs on, rather like temple decorations. Zori, leather, plastic or cloth coated footwear are the correct wear for formal occasions, and must be worn with white tabi. On other occasions colourful tabi, even lace ones have become popular, but geisha from the Fukugawa area of Tokyo are famous for their beautiful feet, and show them off in summer and winter, by never wearing any tabi at all.
I once went and had a pair of geta made for me in Asakusa. It was such fun to choose the bases and the ties, and then watch them be constructed in front of me. It gave me great satisfaction to see my choices coming together into a pair of geta, specially for me. They are my most comfortable geta, and I love to wear them even when I am not wearing kimono.
Well I am posting a random collection which I have photographed around Tokyo, both yo and wa styles. And I give a special mention to Hetty Rose, who so beautifully bridges the gap between both cultures with her made to measure footwear using recycled materials, most importantly kimono fabric. Look at her website, for more inspiring designs. http://www.hettyrose.co.uk/They will blow you away! Amazingly beautiful. So here's to feet, walking with us, the whole of our lives. Together every step of the way. They are undeservedly ignored. Enjoy the photographs.


  1. Oh yes, shoes do make one happy ^_^
    I am so sorry for your loses, I wish you all the strength you need!

  2. Thank you Misuchi,
    I appreciate your words. Even with my losses, pretty shoes, and wearing kimono still makes me feel happy, especially with kimono, it helps us enjoy the passing of the seasons. I really like that.

  3. What kind of shoes do you suggest wearing with cotton kimono & casual everyday kimono? Does it matter if they are those rush mat zori? And the tabi sock - do they HAVE to be worn all the time with kimono?

  4. Sorry I have not replied for such a long time. Tabi have to be worn with lined kimono. For unlined summer kimono you have the choice to wear them or not, and with yukata they are not worn, normally. Geta can be wooden, lacquer or straw ones, for casual kimono and yukata. Formal kimono and dyed kimono are usually worn with zori. Geta have been making a come back with informal kimono, and tabi only have to be white or formal occasions for tea ceremony or weddings etc. Otherwise coloured ones are pretty fun!!!