From a Japanese perspective, it is both encouraging and flattering that tabi shoes have become well known globally. Even Nike has manufactured them and one can say that Fivefingers shoes made by Vibram is based on a similar concept!
In case you don’t know, tabi shoes generally refer to traditional type of shoes from Japan with split toes. But when and how exactly did these shoes originate in the first place?
One theory suggests that tabi shoes originate from certain types of shoes worn by Japanese noblemen thousand years ago, but in any case, the current form of tabi shoes came to existence in the Meiji period (1868-1912). By this time, rubber was developed and became ready for mass production in the west, and in this context Japanese people combined tabi socks and rubber soles to create tabi shoes, or jika-tabi shoes. (Note: jika-tabi is written as “地下足袋” in Japanese, which means tabi that touch the ground.)
In modern Japan, tabi shoes have been an important part of the lives of workers, as tabi shoes are highly functional and washable. The shoes are also popular among the participants of traditional Japanese festivals.
Are you interested in taking a look at the actual tabi shoes products? You can visit this page on our website where we list Marugo’s tabi shoes. Marugo is a company in Okayama, Japan who offers a unique selection of tabi shoes products, including models that combine the traditional tabi design and the modern style. Ninjaya.com is the official international distributor of the company’s tabi shoes products).