If you’ve ever seen someone wearing traditional Japanese clothing like a kimono or a yukata, you might have noticed the wooden sandals worn as part of the outfit. The sandals are called geta, and have been used by people in Japan for thousands of years.

After going through numerous changes over the years, the design of the modern geta can be divided into a few simple elements. The wooden board that the foot rests on is called the dai (台) or stand, the two protruding support blocks are known as the ha (歯) or tooth, and lastly, the fabric straps that keep your feet in place are known as hanao (鼻緒). Typically, hanaos are a plain, black color but they can also come in a wide assortment of patterns to reflect the geta owner’s personal style.

As an appreciation to the most stylized geta element, a new type of sneaker was recently announced and it incorporates the hanao into its design. Aptly named Hanao Shoes, the sneakers were developed by Kyoto Traditional Culture Innovation Laboratory, or Kyoto T5 for short.

Kyoto T5 is a research institute under Kyoto University of the Arts. It aims to document the different aspects of traditional craftsmanship and come up with modern products along the way. The students who developed Hanao Shoes were working on the project for at least a year, with the shoes finally making their debut this month at a display in Daimaru Kyoto.

The overall design for the sneakers keeps things simple -- the body resembles that of a white, lace-up canvas shoe. When it comes to the hanao straps, they were made using fabric sourced from all 47 prefectures of Japan. As a result, there are just as many sneaker variations with each one representing a different prefecture.

Hanao Shoes are currently only available for orders within the Kansai area, however, the researchers hope to eventually make them available everywhere in Japan. In the meantime, you can view the shoes at the basement display of Daimaru Kyoto until October 5, 2021.

By - Jen Laforteza.