Trend in Japan Web Japan
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Functional Accessory Becomes Chic Fashion Item (October 27, 2005)

Foot covers can be used to accent a pair of shoes.
Fashion-conscious young women have embraced the "sockless" look and routinely wear sandals and mules with bare feet. This style of footwear, however, can give rise to various problems, such as excessive pressure on the base of the toes and blisters. Foot covers and half socks made their debut as accessories designed to alleviate such problems, and they were an immediate hit because they were so effective. This year an assortment of covers in different colors and patterns have been marketed, and women are showing them off as fashion items in their own right.

The Sockless Look
The sockless look caught on among young women a few years ago, and most women today wear sandals and mules with bare feet. Going sockless, however, can cause a litany of problems, including sweatiness, walking difficulties, pain from the excessive pressure on toes when wearing high heels, and blistering. In a poll of 300 working Japanese women in their twenties, thirties, and forties undertaken by Johnson and Johnson K.K., a major manufacturer of health-care products, about 90% said they had experienced foot problems over the past year.

Covers come in a variety of designs.

Foot covers were initially made for women who wanted to follow the sockless fashion but did not want to put up with the associated discomfort. Designed to stay hidden under the shoes, the covers hook over the toes, line the bottom of the feet, and stretch over the heel. Though just a thin lining, they significantly cut down on rubbing and make shoes more comfortable to wear.

Foot covers in various other shapes have recently appeared on the shelves. There are half-socks that cover just the toes for people wearing mules, covers with back straps to wear with sandals, and covers for those whose insteps have a tendency to slip. Their functionality has also been enhanced. Five-toed covers prevent the toes from rubbing together and cut down on sweating. And cushioned insole covers alleviate the pain caused by high heels, which put excessive pressure on the base of the toes, and help to prevent slipping.

Insole covers

More than Just a Prop
Foot covers were initially manufactured in patternless, skin-colored fabric so that they could not be seen when worn. Today, however, women are deliberately wearing covers that can be seen, and the items have become a fashion accessory in their own right. This trend reflects women's desire to make sure their feet look good when they enter a house and take off their shoes. It is also thought to have been influenced by the growing popularity of ankle-high hosiery combined with high-heel shoes in Europe.

Designs are becoming more imaginative.

Foot covers come in an array of colors, including white, black, pastels, and with lame thread, as well as styles, from lace covers to covers carrying a designer logo. A single pair costs between ¥300 ($2.7 at ¥110 to the dollar) and about ¥1,000 ($9), and many women buy a few pairs at a time and layer them because they cost so little.

What started as a practical tool for keeping feet healthy and comfortable has blossomed into a whole new dimension of footwear fashion.

 Page Top

Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

Related articles
(May 31, 2005)

(March 18, 2005)

(June 18, 2003)
Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackFashion Home