By JUNICHI KAMIYAMA/ Staff Writer
January 15, 2020 at 10:30 JST
Re: getA’s geta-inspired sandals to be sold at the Iroha shop are shown on Dec. 21 at the Kinosaki Onsen resort in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture. (Junichi Kamiyama)
TOYOOKA, Hyogo Prefecture--The unsteady click-clacking of wooden clogs hitting the pavement followed by profanities muttered in foreign languages may become a thing of the past in this hot spring area.
A small company in Osaka’s Ikuno Ward has developed colorful, geta-inspired sandals that can be easily used by foreign guests who are unfamiliar with the traditional Japanese footwear.
“Their pop design was devised in the image of the future of geta,” said Yasuo Takamoto, 44, president of Re: getA. “We would like the footwear to be used by foreign visitors to Japan and to gain fans overseas.”
The sandals will be made available in the Kinosaki Onsen resort area.
Around 44,000 non-Japanese visitors stayed in the area in 2018, and the practice of walking between spa facilities in “yukata” casual kimono and geta has been popular among them.
However, many foreign sightseers have expressed frustrations about slipping, sliding and losing their footing in the wooden geta.
Two years ago, Hitomi Keitani, 37, who runs the Iroha facility at Kinosaki Onsen, where guests can experience tea ceremonies and play the “koto” harp, asked Re: getA to produce sandals that can be used as souvenirs.
The geta-based shoes, also called Re: getA, were developed as sports sandals because that type of footwear is especially popular outside Japan.
But the company made further adjustments so that foreign guests can wear them at the resort area.
The products allow wearers to put their heels on the ground first when stepping, much like genuine geta, to reduce the burden on the legs.
The company’s sandals also feature a rubber surface on the bottom that reduces slippage and absorbs the shock while walking.
The footwear is also lighter than geta, and the thongs, resembling “hanao” geta straps, can be tightened based on the user’s preference.
Priced at 5,980 yen ($54.99), excluding tax, the Re: getA shoes are expected to come in three colors in various sizes and will be sold first at the Iroha facility.
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