Samurai wearing waraji Utagawa Kunikazu, 1855 © Asian Art and Archaeology Inc./CORBIS
Samurai wearing waraji
Utagawa Kunikazu, 1855
© Asian Art and Archaeology Inc./CORBIS

Traditional Footwear Types

In most cultures around the world, traditional footwear develops and evolves because of the wearers' needs and resources but also because of the climate in which they are worn. Traditional Japanese footwear is made from straw, wood and natural fabrics like cotton and silk.

Waraji

Archaeological evidence suggests that rice straw sandals, which were the earliest form of footwear in Japan, developed about two thousand years ago. Waraji have twisted straw cords that are led through loops around the feet and heels and are then fastened at the ankles. This secure binding makes them suitable for rough work and long distance journeys.
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