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