Friday, January 30, 2015

How to Wear Waraji

How to Wear Waraji

Waraji, sandals hand woven from rice straw, date back more than 2,000 years. These rudimentary shoes were prevalent among Japanese commoners that couldn't afford the heavy wooden sole shoes of the aristocrats. The military also wore them, and as a result they measured certain distances by how many sandals a soldier would go through to reach a location. The straw sandals are still prevalent in contemporary Japanese culture, often worn over hiking boots to increase traction or as part of a monk's habit. Though there are many ways to tie the sandal, the most common involves the overlapping of two hemp ropes.



    Put on a pair of "tabi" socks, which is the traditional Japanese accessory worn with the waraji sandal. Like most sandals worn in Japan, people wear the waraji with this special sock, which has a special division for the big toe, helping it to work well with thong sandals. These socks are often fabricated out of cotton, though they are sometimes blended with polyester and nylon.


    Lace one of the waraji's hemp ropes through the loop located at the front of the shoe. Afterwards, put the rope through the first two loops along either side of the shoe. At the rear of the shoe, lace the second rope through the loop located at the center back of the sandal, before threading it through the two back loops located at the side of the shoe.


    Slip the foot into the sandal, placing the toes in between the front loop, so that the cord falls between the first and second toes. The straps of the sandal should fit like a flip flop. Push the foot up so that the toes extend about 1/4 inch over the shoe's sole, as waraji shoes are normally cut a bit small to accommodate this traditional aesthetic.


    Interlock the front rope with the back at the side of the sandal, in between the two side loops. Then thread the front rope back through the front loop, located on the side of the shoe. As a result, you should thread this loop twice with the front rope. Next, cross the straps over the top of the foot and wrap, before crisscrossing the rope around the ankle once. Tie the rope into a double knot.


    Pull the back laces towards the heel, before crossing them once, right above the heel and behind the ankle. Afterwards, wrap the laces around the ankle, crisscrossing them twice and tying them at the ankle in the front of the shoe. A double knot will secure the second rope and secure the straw sandal.

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