Sunday, 20 January 2008

What is zori?

All shoes worn with kimono are always thonged sandals, or a type of sandal, and with the exception of one particular type worn in the summer, they are always worn with tabi. The ones shown in the pictures above (which, incidentally, is my whole collection - not a very wide range, is it?) are called 'zori' and are most commonly worn with kimono.

The formality of the zori worn depends on the material it is made of, the colour, and the height of the heel. For example, a zori made of lacquered wood is casual as opposed to a zori made of leather. As with all things involved with kimono, the more metallic colours and gold and silver, the more formal. With regard to the height of a zori's heel, it is very similar to Western shoes in that the higher it is, the more formal. For example, a casual zori will only measure 1.5cm in height while a formal zori may measure up to 3cm in height.

It is considered fashionable for one's foot to be hanging over the end of the zori. Yes, it is as uncomfortable as it sounds, at least until you grow used to the sensation. If your foot is short, but fat, it is advisable for you to loosen the hanao (the strap) so that it does not press down on your foot too much. I made the mistake of not doing so, and had bruises on my foot for two weeks after.

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