Zara is Selling Traditional Japanese-Style Sandals, Normally Only $3, for Over $70

A new pair of woven sandals from Spanish fashion label Zara is getting attention in Japan for its undeniable resemblance to traditional Japanese footwear.

Image via Wikimedia Commons / mrhayata (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The sandals, which is part of the brand’s upcoming collection, has been likened by Japanese netizens to waraji, or the local traditional straw sandals, SoraNews24 reports.

Popular in Japan over a century ago, locals usually waraji when traveling across rough terrain or over long distances. Today, it is mainly Buddhist monks who wear waraji.

While made of straw, the waraji is said to be durable due to the manner it was crafted.

Meanwhile, Zara’s strappy, woven sandals are made of jute fiber and cost 7,990 yen ($72), which is reportedly a whole lot more than the price of a pair of waraji back in the day.

While some Japanese netizens were amused by the new sandals, many have been critical of the steep price.   

“It makes me think people are just going backward,” one commenter noted.

“Next we’ll be seeing geta sandals,” another said, referring to another traditional Japanese footwear.

“These look like something a grandma in the countryside would sell for 200 yen a pair as a side job,” a netizen shared.

Image via Wikimedia Commons / 与作戦死 (CC BY 3.0)

“In the Edo period [1603-1868] went for about 15 bun [a type of Edo-period currency]. A night in a Tokkaido area inn with two meals included went for about 200-bun. That means that they’d be 200-300 yen in modern terms. I can’t believe Zara is selling them for 8,000 yen,” a Twitter user pointed out.

Kusakabe Kimbei – B 1200 Country old woman selling flower

As with most fashion brands which “borrow” from cultural creations, Zara has yet to directly state that the new sandals are indeed waraji, or at least inspired by it.

Featured Image via Zara (Left) and Wikimedia Commons / mrhayata (CC BY-SA 2.0) (Right)

Related Posts

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com