After food and clothing, one of the most essential things humans required was footwear. That's one of many times when necessity drove them to create new inventions. Shoes made of wood are probably one of the earliest inventions of humans. One of those first clogs invented in Asia evolved into wooden Geta.
What is Geta?
A staple in Japanese culture, Geta are a type of traditional footwear that offers both form and function. Modern Geta are quite different from the older versions. They are still worn today but have gone through many changes to become what they are today.
What is a Traditional Geta?
Traditional Geta are "thong sandals" typically made of a wooden base with two raised wooden supports on the heel and front that keep the foot above the ground. They're typically worn over Tabi, a type of traditional Japanese pair of socks. The Geta's elevated sole also allowed for easy walking on snow or in muddy areas, which was necessary given Japan's weather conditions at the time. They are still worn on special occasions, such as tea ceremonies, festivals, and in shrine practices.
What is Modern Geta?
Priorities of people have changed their ways, now we prefer to spend time learning something productive than learning to walk with ancient wooden Geta. Modern needs require modern solutions. It's no longer a simple wooden flat sole sandal with two thin teeth. Modern Geta is made with many different materials, both synthetic and natural and are available in many designs. The teeth are much thicker than its predecessors, providing firm hold to the foot.
Where did Geta Come from?
Geta was originated in China and was imported to Japan. An ancient prototype of Geta has been recovered from Zhejing, China which is believed to be from approx. 3000 BC. Other sources from history also tell that this type of wooden clogs were popular in China. In Aomori, Japan, in 2004 discovered examples of Japanese Geta dating back to the Heian period. Although in China, this type of footwears were replaced with other types but in Japan, Geta has evolved and become a permanent part of the Japanese culture.
Koma Geta: Geta which has three teeth instead of two and is a bit longer than regular geta is called Koma Geta.
Tengu Geta: Geta with extra-ordinary long teeth are known as Tengu Geta.
Who Wore Geta?
Historically, Geta was worn by Oiran, Geisha, and Maiko in Japan where Oiran wore Koma Geta which was more elevated from the ground and had three teeth instead of two while geisha and maiko wore geta with tabi. Tengu geta was worn by fish sellers in their shops to keep their feet above the fish scraps.
How is Geta Worn?
Geta is normally worn with informal kimonos with or without Tabi. Even though geta itself goes well with a wide range of kimonos but because of its elevated clogs, it's not really recommended to wear geta with formal kimonos.
How were Geta Worn?
Geta is extremely useful in wet areas or places that have a lot of snow. The elevated clogs allow walkers to avoid stepping in puddles, mud, and other obstacles. They also help keep feet dry after stepping out of the water onto boats. The Geta's elevated sole offers an added benefit during Japan's colder months.