Ever wondered what the Japanese used for footwear prior to western imperialism brought Adidas to the land of the rising sun? Me neither, but if you've ever seen shows like Samurai Jack or any number of anime set in Japan's pre-industrial past you may have noticed characters wearing a type of shoe called geta.

These are hard wooden sandals with two "teeth" (ha in Japanese) that raise the wearer above the ground and allow for an interesting step and sound. There are still Japanese elders who have fond memories of the time when the streets of Japan were still alive with the clack of geta and after figuring out what these shoes were called and their historic significance, I decided it would be fun to make my own pair. They're pretty easy to make and when you're done you'll have a set of geta that are custom-fit for your feet, as well as some of the noisiest shoes this side of Chuckie Finster.

Step 1: Measurements

As with any footwear, having the proper measurements can make a big difference in geta fitting well or not. The positioning and height of the teeth, length and width of the sole, and placement of the thong are important to getting a good fit. Luckily for you and I someone has made a great calculator that'll give you all the exact measurements you need for your foot. Remember to follow the directions for measuring your foot since well-fitted geta will actually be a couple centimeters shorter than the length of your foot. You can find the geta calculator here. Once you have measurements you can get your materials.
<p>Thanks to archive.org, here: https://web.archive.org/web/20080101124341/http://www.egeorgeonline.com/getapage/plans2.htm#cutting</p>
<p>The archived javascript didn't work for me, but they have a non-java set of percentages at </p><p>https://web.archive.org/web/20080101130044/http://www.egeorgeonline.com/getapage/nojava.html </p><p>(the javascript looks like it only does proportions anyway)</p>
I used your strap attachment as a reference for this pair I made from an old skateboard deck. LET'S CLOP!
<p>the site for sizing is down.</p>
<p>I made it! *yay!*</p>
<p>*I am Sparky's older bro, btw</p>
<p>there is a reason for the thong being set in the exact middle instead of offset as in western sandals - when the shoe begins to wear on the outside, you can switch sides and wear them in on the opposite side. They are designed to be worn slightly offset on the foot. Also, the heel hangs off the back very slightly. As for the dumb comments about it being drag, or uncomfortable, or dumb looking - i can only say, that obviously you have never worn geta, or clogs. I have worn both, they are comfortable, and the only thing dumb were those comments.</p><p>i am sad to see the geta page link is down, the custom geta size calculator was a great thing... i made a pair from it, but twice the standard height, and used the info on the pages to adjust the &quot;teeth&quot; underneath forward to compensate. I also screwed mine together, and it turned out fine. I used cotton washline cord for the thongs, but covered them in a tube of obi silk scrap padded with fleece material to make them more comfortable to wear, and glued a layer of fleece onto the sole for the same reason. Rounded the toes and heels, and sprayed the wood black.</p><p>tip - it is much easier to cut the cords to length after tying the knots to hold them in place! lol xx</p>
Very cute. Now you can walk through the mud like a true Geisha.
Well the original Geisha were men, but I'm not so hot on drag and my feet are too big to pull off the look. ;)
Sorry, but I think you're getting Geisha confused with Kabuki theater which used to consist of all male actors.
<p>Actually, carpespasm is correct. Men were the original Geisha. Geisha are artists and by no means prostitutes. They were, and still are today, the highest form of femininity.Like the men they sang, danced, and played instruments. Eventually male Geisha faded out and the females eventually had to become licensed which was actually done to protect them.Kabuki were indeed all male actors in highly ornate costumes. After Pearl Harbor and the USA retaliated on Japan, many &quot;ladies of the night&quot; dressed like Geisha but with one very important exception. These ladies wore their obi's tied in the front which made it much easier for them to undress and dress quickly. Plus their make up was more heavier. These ladies actually made it hard on the true Geisha and gave Geisha a seriously undeserved bad rep. Today, in Kyoto you can still find Geisha wearing their geta shoes. But I'm afraid that Geisha are fast disappearing.</p>
Whoops. I stand corrected. I'm surprised it took over a year for someone to point it out. I looked it up and it seems Kabuki was early on played by all women for male and female parts, then went to the opposite.
Interesting, I had always heard it was males, never all female then male. Well looks like we both learned something ^^
those geta where squarish so they are male geta. female geta are more rounded (you learn a lot from watching decent manga and anijme like bleach)
Really? Shoot, better remember that when I make mine.
Gee, one can learn so much when not even trying!
Never mind, I see what you did, I just skimmed through it lol thanks for posting this!
could I just go an easier way and screw the teeth on the sole? I really need an easy way of making these xD
<p>The rope at the top of the clog seems to go down in the middle, instead of offset towards the big toe.. doesn't that make it akward, or is it meant for stability Speaking of which, what's the maximum weight the nylon rope can support?</p><p>I'd like to make it 9&quot; tall.. any recommendations? For example, I was thinking for stability, instead of the two standoffs, I would just stack (glue) 18 of the 1/2&quot; red oak together, but perhaps there's a better way?</p>
I think i'll give it a try
more like &quot;make your own ghetto sandals&quot;<br />
<p>ghetto sandals wouldn't look anywhere as nice, and how about being nice</p>
<p>Thank you a ton for uploading this.. I am working on a professional semi authentic Maiko/Geisha photo shoot shoes and needed a pair of female Geta in US womens size 10, which is nearly impossible to find.. Going to get my hands on the supplies and tools to make these.</p>
hmmm...geta or ghetto?
Cool!! Now I can leave square imprints on the faces of people I kick!
now now, can't have the geta sandles banned from school.&nbsp; please don't do...I&nbsp;really would like to wear them to school.<br />
I was kidding. Face kicks are tactically worthless in school fights.<br />
oh I know, even though the thought is hilarious and the anime's would have you believe otherwise. :)
I bet a few pairs can be made from a wood pallet. thats like making a few free pairs of sandals!
be sure to get that pallet-wood smooth first unless you have some seriously tough feet.
Well yeah...
just a few observations to make:<br /> <br /> 1.&nbsp; 'authentic' geta are made by carving out of one block of wood as opposed to&nbsp;&nbsp; using dowels to support the teeth.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> 2.&nbsp; reason being, that technology was more used in house construction and less in craft.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> 3.&nbsp; also a single piece is and will always be stronger and even though they had rice glue and fish glue these were not as water insoluble as the synthetic glues we have nowadays.<br /> <br /> did not mean to give a history lesson but I thought this info was imporatnt to know<br />
Those are all good points. My intention with this was more for something to give the proper feel an impression of how geta are to use without having to spend hours shaving down a solid block. For someone planning to go by historic or traditional methods though it's a good distinction to make.<br />
well I&nbsp;think we can use modern cutting machines to cut one solid piece each. Shouldn't be too hard with a jigsaw.<br /> <br /> Just a thought.<br />
worth trying!
its ok i love history thanks that was interesting
I have my own that were a lucky find in a chinese shoe store. I was thrilled to find them, but years of use have started to wear off the foam-like bottoms of the shoe and exposing the wood onderneath. I'm gonna fix them and want to use them for a good long time, but it's nice to know how to make your own.
My city has a &quot;Renaissance craft fair&quot;. My daughter was set up with Hakama, Kimono-type jacket, two swords (a daisho?), geta and conical hat. She was a big hit, and even had her picture in the local newspaper. I think the geta were a bit part of making her look the part.
since we are on the topic of footwear, are you going to do one on making waraji?&nbsp; It would be cool if they could be made out of some recyclable 'modern' material.<br />
The only kind of instruction for making waraji I have found is at<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.rhinohide.cx/tousando/yoriaku/waraji.html" rel="nofollow">www.rhinohide.cx/tousando/yoriaku/waraji.html</a><br /> <br /> which is a site for making&nbsp; samurai costuming and equipment for study or SCA.&nbsp; I used one of the linked diagrams to make a pair of waraji-type sandals out of cotton clothes line, which worked pretty well, except that they were REALLY&nbsp;PAINFUL to wear for the first few weeks.&nbsp; Very comfortable after breaking in, but the nubby surface was really awful until it smoothed out a bit.&nbsp; They were also ideal for walking in tidepools, because they gripped the rocky surfaces well and protected my feet.<br />
Is that the correct link? <br>I clicked on it, but the website doesn't show up. <br>I tried google searching as well. <br>Did you mistype the link at all?
The site seems to be kaput. Sorry
thanks for tryin' man. <br>There is a good waraji how-to on this very website though.
Well, they are dumber looking then dutch wooden shoes, or, are they? The biggest thing one can say in their favor is by wearing sandals of any kind you reduce fungal infections, or at least that is what I read a few years back. In many cultures (including european ) until the advent of industrial revolution, most farmer types (here in usa we were an agrarian society), were bare footed, cold weather or warm. Wealthy people wore shoes, the commoners mostly did not. As far as &quot;Ever wondered what the Japanese used for footwear prior to western imperialism brought Adidas to the land of the rising sun?&quot; get real. The Imperial Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor (who knows maybe some did an instructable on it, or a youtube even), if anyone is/was imperial it it was the Japanese.
I really hate to feed the troll, and Japan for sure had big imperial drive during WW2 (much more so in mainland Asia than for anywhere else) but check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opening_of_Japan
My version of straps.<br /> <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Geta-Shoelace-Strap/" rel="nofollow">www.instructables.com/id/Geta-Shoelace-Strap/</a><br />
Those look really nice, how is it like walk in them, are they comfortable?

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