How to Buy Japanese Tabi Boots

Written by contributing writer
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Japanese tabi boots are a wonderful invention, most often seen on the feet of Japanese construction workers or propelling hikers up Mt. Fuji. They are thin form-fitting boots that have one distinct characteristic: they come with an opposable toe. They can be, not surprisingly, fantastically comfortable.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Determine your Japanese shoe size. Japanese shoe size is determined in centimetres - a foot that is 25.5cm long is a size 25.5. You may have to rely on a international shoe size conversion chart.

    How to Buy Japanese Tabi Boots
  2. 2

    Decide what sort of boots you want. They come in a variety of styles - fleece, polyester, cotton and more. Some of the most important considerations might include whether or not they are waterproof and the thickness of the sole.

  3. 3

    Buy tabi socks, or toe socks. Since tabi boots come with an opposable toe, traditional closed socks won`t work with them.

  4. 4

    Try on a pair of tabi boots for size, if you can - they may be available at your local martial art store. They should be form-fitting, almost like slippers but far tougher. Take a walk around the store.

  5. 5

    Purchase your boots - either online, at an a martial arts store or at a Japanese retailer. Keep the receipt; if this is your first pair you may not find them to your liking in the long run.

Tips and warnings

  • You may need to break in your boots with a day or two of good use. The crease in between your big toe and the rest of your foot may be irritating at first but will soften with time.

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