Japanese Wooden Sandal Update

They don’t have rockets, they don’t transform into anything, and no, they do not have ice skates pop out the bottom of them.* What they DO have is a couple lovely innovations that designer Silvialy Tjhin was ever-so-thoughtful to include. Silvialy Tjhin created these in a class whilst at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where in a Methods & Materials class, was going through a lesson on woodworking machines, and Tjhin, being an ever-so-clever utilitarian, created a pair of shoes.

*So often we get caught up in the newest way to innovate on a product, like adding an iPod plugin to a coffee maker, that we forget that the oldest innovations can often be applied to the oldest items. Lots of things haven’t been thought of yet, we’ve just gotta know where to look!

This is the first update I’ve ever seen of the Japanese “geta” sandal, and when I say utilitarian, I hope I didn’t inspire anyones thoughts of utility-only non beauty! Nay! These are cute!

A few things that were updated: first, and most visibly, the outer rim of the shoe has a jagged shape to it. This has less to do with utility and more to do with modernizing the shoe to the point where a young person would wear it. Squares are out! Jagged is in! Japan is no Bauhaus! Then there’s the thong. This thong piece of the sandal is made of strong leather. Leather, when treated nicely, can last a really really really long time. Thus, what an excellent thing it is to wear. Lastly, the joint between the floor-touching wood and the top is connected using a lovely dovetail design. Never, ever to come loose again.


Designer: Silvialy Tjhin

Modern Geta by Silvialy Tjhin




  • Loving all things wooden I had to have a look at these. I think they look well funky, really like the jagged edge concept, although would like to see a sort of smooth rounded wavy effect version too. Shame about the lack of ice skate option 😉 only joking, I love modern twists on classic designs. Bob

  • karl says:

    The way these geta are worn in Japan is the heel of the shoe generally hangs off the back – not good with jagged shoes. And at festivals when everyone is wearing geta try explaining you didn’t mean to shred the obasan’s feet with your weaponised shoes. And young people wear the current versions. NG

  • Yuuta says:

    There are already modern geta made and worn in Japan. This is not exactly an update to what exists on the market nor is it any more modern. Rather, modern geta are no longer a simple plank of wood. Those who choose to wear the original rectangle geta would also not appreciate the jagged look as it goes against the wabisabi aesthetics.

    Btw traditional plank style geta have no distinction between left and right sandals(and for good reason) but I see here this jagged pair has been “updated” to differentiate, although only on the left pair(might it be dangerous to walk on these uneven sandals?).

  • @kari: Your feet won’t touch the jagged pattern. If you look at the leather thong, it is made inside the jagged pattern. So, the jagged pattern won’t even touch your feet.

    @Yuuta: They are even. I don’t know where you get the idea that they are uneven. Both also have the same jagged pattern. I’ve actually worn them and they’re quite comfortable. I think there’s a misunderstanding. The jagged pattern is suppose to symbolize modernity, while the material, wood, symbolize traditions. It’s as simple as that. I’m approaching wabisabi from its simplicity point of view. This design is made for a class where we learn about basic woodworking, not for an update to what exists on the market.

  • Jesse Lemay says:

    don’t look like much but very comfortable and last a long time.

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