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Ever-Evolving, High-Function Japanese Shoes

Part 1

Special-Purpose Sports Footwear

BC Walker Shape

"BC Walker Shape" walking shoes for adults with an insole raised toward the toe for an "uphill" effect. The lengthwise line along the sole improves posture. (Cooperation: ASICS Corporation)

Starting some three decades ago, footwear manufacturers all around the world have been developing multifunction shoes for ordinary people as well as athletes. In Japan, too, a wide variety of high-function shoes made with newly developed materials has been produced with special features designed for stability, comfort, flexibility, cushioning, waterproofing, breathability and durability. Recently, especially when it comes to athletic shoes, there is a vast range of special-function shoes on sale for all types of sports.

Walking and jogging has become increasingly popular among adults.

Walking and jogging has become increasingly popular among adults. (Photo: AFLO)

People who like walking or running, in particular, can choose from a fantastic line-up of shoes with new functions. You can find every different type of running shoe to suit the experience and purpose of your needs. For novices, shoes have been developed with strong soles to lessen the impact as the foot contacts the ground and which provide some bounce as the foot leaves the ground. For experienced runners, shoes have been made light and comfortable to wear and help to reduce fatigue when running long distances. For those who prefer walking, there are shoes that have been developed to make the body more fit—some shoes are made with a gradient on the inside sole to make it seem as if the wearer is walking uphill all the time and feature a lengthwise line on the sole which improves posture. Another type has a depression in the inner sole at the front to help strengthen the wearer’s feet by exercising the toes.

Recently, however, high-function shoes for children as well as adults are becoming more widely available. Footwear manufacturers have been rushing to produce new products for various kinds of activities in response to the wishes of children in Japan who say they would like to be able to run faster, play soccer better, or would like to be able to dance more easily.