They are made from mulberry, I believe the stems. They are so comfortable and conform to your foot. they give your toes lots of wiggle room. I was afraid to wash them and ruin them but they are very sturdy. I throw them in the washer with the rest of my whites.
They came from the Gungendo Company in Omori-Cho n Shimane Prefecture, Japan.
At a temple I admired a monk’s socks, called tabi. Later I bought myself a pair. They’re made of the smoothest woven cotton and have non-slip bottoms. They close up snug around your ankles with fasteners.
The Japanese have very flexible feet compared to most Americans. They keep the freedom to move their toes. I saw a basket weaver and he used his feet like another pair of hands.
These socks work very well with flip flops or the Japanese geta. I bought myself a pair of men’s geta because the women’s didn’t come in my size – an 8. My feet used to bother me sometimes and I would wear jogging shoes with lots of cushioning to make them feel better. With a geta your foot is basically on a flat slab of wood. I was concerned that they would not be comfortable. I was very surprised that my feet felt better while wearing them.
Perhaps part of that is the amazing agility you have when leaning forward and back in the geta. It can’t be beat for going up and downhill. I’ve worn mine out and need to get more.
There is a less expensive version made in China. I don’t recommend it. They detach at the strap between the toes very easily. With my Japanese geta, I have worn out the wood, (with much use), and the strap is still secure.
© 2010 J.B. Vadeboncoeur