Japanese people love to wear socks and sandals in the summer. You can see many Japanese wearing this strange combination during the hot season.
This is not only a fashion choice; there is also a good reason for it.
- It’s because they feel comfortable when their foot is wrapped with something like this:
- Socks protect your feet from rubbing against the strap and prevent your feet from getting dirty.
Socks are not used only with sandals; many Japanese wear them with geta (traditional wooden clogs) and zori (flip flops).
Socks and sandals can be a strange combination, but they are easy and comfortable for walking around in the summer.
Let’s not forget that walking barefoot is also good for your health and spirit.
If you walk barefoot, you will feel refreshed. You can also get in touch with nature by walking on the grass.
If you enjoy wearing socks and walking barefoot, we recommend wearing tabi (traditional Japanese socks).
You can find Tabi at any convenience store. Keep your feet healthy and happy by using different kinds of socks!
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What’s the Reason the Japanese Wear Socks with Sandals?
During the Edo period, wearing zori was a necessity for most Japanese. It was not common to wear casual shoes as we do now in those days.
But since samurai often wore geta, people started buying and wearing them. Eventually, they became popular among ordinary people.
When Western clothes became popular in Japan, socks were introduced as a new casual-wear item for men as the kimono and coats.
The cotton tabi was designed to be worn with zori. That’s why the Japanese often wear tabi with sandals now; this continues those days.
As you can see, today’s socks and sandals combination is not just a fashion trend; it has a long history.
Why do the Japanese Wear Toe Socks?
Japanese wear sock-like tabi to protect their feet when walking outside.
You can see many kinds of tabi at Japan’s convenience stores, but toe socks are one of the most popular.
They are convenient because you don’t have to remove them when entering a house or temple:
Socks with rubber bands on the back are also typical. They are used when doing specific work, like cleaning or tending gardens.
Why do the Japanese wear wooden sandals?
Simply put, they wear wooden sandals because wearing socks with them is considered stylish. Japan’s hot springs (onsen) are the best place to understand this trend.
That’s why many people visit the onsen during the summer season:
That might explain why you can see so many people wearing tabi when visiting an onsen.
Why do Japanese sandals have platforms?
In addition to the platform, Jika-tabi has a thick sole made from rubber with a tab attached.
Jika-tabi is worn in cold weather with zori or geta. They protect your feet from snow and cold wind. Since Jika-tabi is not slippery like other sandals, they are famous for hiking or gardening.
Jika-tabi is also popular among people who spend much time working barefoot, such as farmers or gardeners. This is why the Japanese wear jika-tabi with socks.
Why do the Japanese wear tabi?
The tabi was initially made from white cloth, making it easy to put on. Japanese people started wearing tabi at home in the Edo period (1603-1868).
The tabi is made of white fabric with padding on some parts of its sole.
This makes it easier to wear zori or geta. Most Japanese had jika-tabi and zori, so they changed their footwear depending on the weather.
Since it is easier to take off, the jika-tabi was not worn outdoors until the beginning of the 20th century.
Why did Samurai Wear Socks With Sandals?
When we think of samurai, we imagine black-clothed warriors wearing traditional armor and helmets. But in fact, samurai commonly wore casual clothes in everyday life:
Samurai could wear either black or brown cotton juban (under kimono) and hakama (trousers) with kataginu (shoulder cape) and kesa (stole).
This is how a samurai looks with sandals:
A samurai wears geta, but he does not wear a tabi.
Samurai had to get used to walking barefoot when they were young, so geta was standard footwear for them in everyday life.
You can see straw zori (clogs) next to the samurai. They are worn by people who work, like farmers or fishermen.
This shows that socks were not commonly used in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). Most Japanese lived in small towns and villages where they wore zori daily.
This tradition has continued until now.