Jika Tabi | Who Is Marugo?
BackgroundMarugo was founded in 1919 and is based in Kurashiki, a city in Okayama well known for its textile industry. The company has focused on the manufacture of tabi shoes since its foundation, and currently the company also develops shoes that are made based on the time-tested jika-tabi design principle.
Products IntroductionThe most unique feature of tabi shoes is the split between the toe and the rest of the fingers. The feature is believed to provide additional stability and comfort to the wearer. Tabi shoes were originally created to be utilized by people such as farmers, construction workers, and road workers, and are also quite popular shoes to be worn during festivals. Many people wear tabi shoes because some pieces of evidence suggest that encasing our feet together in normal shoes could lead to potential health problems related to the bone structure and the muscles. Quite simply: tabi shoes provide proper flexibility and stability to the wearer, making it a perfect alternative to other footwear, training or otherwise.
If we look specifically at Marugo's products, there are a wide range of models to choose from. The Air Jog and Kurashikiya series resemble the more traditional style of tabi shoes.
The Air Jog jika tabi has an air-cushioned sole that provides considerable comfort for running, lifting, or just walking around all day. The cushioning makes the sole less flexible so there is a natural trade-off between the barefoot feeling of traditional jika-tabi and the cloud of comfort that the Air Jog provides. The overall effect is a very sneaker-feeling shoe that has the styling, balance, and health benefits of tabi. The external material is 100% cotton. Socks for Air Jog tabi shoes are also available on Ninjaya.com.
hitoe are split-toe training shoes with a modern twist. They were designed with the goal of letting the time-tested tabi design principles release the foot's innate abilities and enhance athletic performance. The shoes have a knitted, seamless construction. The knit material is highly breathable and allows for excellent fit. The fit is also enhanced by the anatomic last.
tabiRela are comfortable tabi shoes in espadrille style. They are suitable for vacation time, or any time when you want to relax and feel like you are in bare feet. They are hand made from 100% cotton canvas; the fabric is provided by Takeyari, a company that has specialized in canvas for more than 100 years. tabiRela can be worn in bare feet. Socks for tabiRela are also available on Ninjaya.com.
365 (36⑤) are tabi-inspired comfort shoes for women. 365 (36⑤) were designed with the goal of utilizing the jika-tabi design principle in order to allow women to walk easily in their daily lives. The shoes feel very soft to walk in because they are made from a new type of material based on sportswear technology. These shoes can be worn comfortably in bare feet.
It feels so good to walk in tabiRela. It feels like you are walking in bare feet, grasping the ground with each of your toes. Because of the versatile design, you can wear tabiRela when you go out for a walk, for shopping, at the office, or while travelling.
Because tabiRela are light and compact, you can easily carry them along with you, anytime, anywhere. Thanks to the convenient slip-on design, it will take very little time for you to wear these shoes.
Very easy to wash.
Carefully made in Marugo's factory in Kurashiki, Japan.
Jika Tabi Health Benefits
Japanese Soccer Player Yuichiro Nagai (永井 雄一郎): "The first time I wore hitoe - It was a very good fit on my feet. It was just like bare feet, and it was very light. The running shoes I wore previously only made me realize how I was using my entire feet. But now, thanks to hitoe, I can tell where in my feet is my center of gravity. I am able to be more conscious about my center of gravity."
"Yes, I have aged over the years playing soccer. So I can lose balance when I get injured. In order to pursue optimal balance things like center of gravity are absolutely important. By wearing spikes after wearing hitoe, I am now more cognizant about how exactly I am using my feet even when I am wearing spikes. Thanks to hitoe, I think my body core training has become more effective. My training overall has become more effective thanks to the element of balance etc."
"When I go out for a little walk, or when I am just going out, I would wear hitoe. I wasn't really that much conscious when choosing training shoes, but now I realize shoes make a really big difference in getting results. I can't think of training without hitoe now. Standing on your own feet is at the core of living your own life for everyone. This is why I can recommend hitoe not only to athletes, but to anyone."
"Stretch Trainer" Tadashi Kaneko (兼子ただし) (Ex Professional Kick Boxer): "As you can see, your toes have ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Our toes and the back of the feet tend to get inflexible because of the shoes you are wearing. The point is, when the back of your feet become becomes inflexible, that means that you will have a hard time moving your toes. So when you stand up or when you are about to move, because your feet are tense, you will not be able to move the way you want, you will get tired, and it may result in injuries."
"What I personally wear are shoes that make your toes and back of your feet naturally flexible. They are called hitoe. These are tabi shoes with flexibility. They let you train the muscles, [ligaments] and tendons of the toes, which are the parts that you cannot normally train with regular shoes. And you can train those parts subconsciously. If your toes are inflexible, and let's say your toe thumb goes in an unnatural direction. You really cannot do anything about it by stretching it. This can be fixed by stretching your toes like this, by following human body engineering. hitoe has the flexibility that is consistent with this movement, and this is why it is suitable for increasing the effectiveness of your training."
"You can wear these shoes when you are going shopping, or just going out. You can train your toes, and that will lead to enhancing your physical ability, and fewer injuries. This is why I recommend these shoes."
Harumi Hiroyama (弘山晴美) (Ex Olympic Athlete) : "Hello, I am Harumi Hiroyama. I run a full marathon once every year. When I train for that marathon, for example for jogging where I am running slowly, or when I am down jogging, I wear hitoe. By wearing hitoe, you can talk to your body."
"The fabric fits very nicely, and the sole is thin, which makes it close to a bare foot feeling. So when you walk like this with your spine straight like this, I can tell how I am moving my body weight, and which muscles I am using. Because it is jika tabi, you will be able to feel the thenar pressing the ground.The way you use your body will become more balanced, and because of this, you can have a better form, your step length can increase, and because the way you move your body because more efficient, you can increase your overall speed."
"You can talk with your body by wearing these shoes, letting you understand what to fix and what you are doing right. "
Kenichi Jiromaru (治郎丸健一) (Professional Athlete and Coach) : "Hello, I am Kenichi Jiromaru. I wear hitoe while I do recovery jogging. I would want to jog on the lawn with bare feet, but that would be dangerous. So instead I would wear hitoe and jog for 20-30 minutes."
"I think recently we see more shoes that let people use the functions of those shoes in order to run more efficiently. But I think our body has evolved to run in bare feet. The problem, again, is that in the cities you would probably not want to run in bare feet because of all the danger that accompany it. This is why I wear the thin sole hitoe, so that I can sustain my physical capabilities."
"When you wear shoes and run, you tend to touch the ground with your heels, so you tend to go over stride and not be able to touch the ground right beneath your center of gravity. On the other hand, with hitoe, because the sole is thin, you can touch the ground right beneath your center of gravity, just like you would when go down the stairs. This lets you follow up your movements naturally during your exercise. I really want people to do sports as if they were in bare feet, and I think these are shoes that people can wear safely for that purpose."
Shu Ando (安藤秀) (Professional Golf Trainer): "Hi I am Shu Ando, I am a teaching pro at the Japan Professional Golf Assoiation, and I have developed the Combined Plane Theory."
"If you look at this, these hitoe shoes are jika tabi with a rubber sole. The sole is thin, so you can examine your body while you swing the club. When you do a back swing, your right leg stops your body twist. When you do a follow through, your left leg twists your body. You can see where exactly is your center of gravity during movements like these."
"I am not necessarily asking you to wear hitoe during your golf games, or when you go out to practice. You can simply wear hitoe at home and twist your body, and by doing so you can know things like where you are stopping your back swing and how you are supporting your center of gravity while twisting your body. I highly recommend these shoes."
Kazuki Uwai (上 一輝) and Naohiro Shoji (東海林直広) (Deaf Futsal Players Japan Rep): "I am Kazuki Uwai. I am Naohiro Shoji. We are from the deaf futsal Japan team. The deaf futsal Japan team is trying to change ourselves physically. This project is called OUR VISION, and Marugo has provided us with the hitoe shoes via this project. We are wearing the hitoe shoes and doing some phsyical training, especially body core and body axis training alongside our futsal training."
"Futsal courts are rather small, so there are going to be a lot of turns and physical contact. This requires us to control our bodies. hitoe has become a necessary part of our training, because it lets us be more cognizant of our bodies during our regular day-to-day exercises. The feeling we get in our back feet is absolutely different with hitoe. We are getting really great training with these. Especially the feeling we get on our back feet, heels, hypotenar, thenar, and other toes are very good. We have been focusing on using these muscles that are located on the back of our body during our body axis and body core exercises. We think that by wearing hitoe on a daily basis, we will be able to be more cognizant of our back feet, and this will lead not only to better training, but also to how we use our bodies on a daily basis."
"I like the zebra yellow colored hitoe. Before I wore hitoe, I was wearing five fingers shoes from another brand, but I heard that with hitoe the body balance will be better and you will be able to run more efficiently. This is why I tried hitoe. Basically, I wear them when I do weights, and I think my balancing capabilities when I play futsal has gone up thanks to hitoe. Also, I feel a great deal of effectiveness with my weight training, and thanks to that I am better at balancing my left and right, as well as front and rear. My futsal playing style is now more diverse, and now I never lose when I come in contact with other players. I don't get injured now, and my back doesn't get hurt, so I think hitoe is good in those respects too. I feel a great deal of effectiveness in terms of balance."
"We are going to be world number one with these hitoe shoes!"
How To Wear Tabi ShoesSee the video below to learn how to wear tabi shoes
Step 1: Wear tabi socks or toe socks.
Step 2: Slide your foot into the tabi shoes.
Step 3: Grasp the tabi shoes.
Step 4: Place the kohaze (metal tabs) into the correct cotton hooks.
Step 5: Done.