What is Tabi Shoes?
Tabi Shoes is a type of unique outdoor footwear worn in Japan. The most distinctive characteristic of Tabi Shoes is no doubt the split-toe design that separates the big toe from the other toes. This feature enhances their comfort and stability, and is also a great conversation starter.
Tabi Shoes have been traditionally worn by construction workers, farmers, painters, road workers, rickshaw pullers and others since the late Meiji Period (1868-1912). They are also worn during festivals and by traditional Japanese musicians such as taiko drummers. The sleek designs and comfortable fit of Tabi Shoes also make them ideal for everyday attire.
Tabi Shoes come in a variety of types, colors, and styles. The traditional fastening device is a series of metal clasps (kohaze) that hook into a series of loops. A 12-clasp tabi reaches about half way up to your knee. The sole of traditional Tabi Shoes are made of pliable natural rubber which is soft enough to be flexible, but stiff enough to protect the wearer's foot from ground debris.
The sleek design, versatile styles, and comfortable feel make Tabi Shoes the perfect attire for any fashion-conscious person with a bent towards functionality.
How to Choose & Wear Tabi Shoes?
Check the size chart and choose your ordinary shoe size. However, please be careful that size indication may vary depending on the type of Tabi Shoes.
Tabi Shoes have metal clasps called kohaze. Usually kohaze are attached to the inside of Tabi Shoes and fasten and adjust around ankles by hooking into a looped thread.
Short type Tabi Shoes have three kohaze while the long type has twelve. Wearing the Tabi Shoes with a few kohaze left open reveals some of the inside fabric allowing the wearer to enjoy different designs and styles. Fastening all kohaze enhances stability but how one wears Tabi Shoes depends on personal preference.
How to Maintain Tabi Shoes?
*When Tabi shoes made with natural material or synthetic fabric get dirt, use a lightly wet cloth and pat on the dirty area. It is also possible to wash the shoes by hand with a mild detergent, however, please note that the color may fade slightly . Especially for the shoes which use white fabric, please avoid washing them with water otherwise other colors might blur over the white area.
Dyed Tabi Shoes use an agent to avoid color loss but the color will gradually fade during repeated washings.
When you wash the Tabi shoes make sure to wash detergent away thoroughly and dry the shoes perfectly before next use. Putting pieces of paper inside of the shoes so that they can absorb water well and dry the shoes in shady place.
*Use general shoe cream for maintaining Tabi shoes made from real leather. Applying waterproof spray before wearing is recommended.
*Keep Tabi shoes in an airy place after disposing of any interior dirt and moisture. Avoid hot and humid conditions as this may damage or cause Tabi shoes to become moldy.
*With dyeing techniques available today, it is not possible to prevent the color from fading after washing or getting wet. Touching water, such as getting wet, sweaty, and load of frictions may cause color fading and color staining. Wearing Tabi shoes on rainy days is not recommended.