This April will mark two years of being in Japan.  Two years.

No time to be nostalgic now, though!  We have to talk about socks.


It’s funny that after all this time, I can’t remember whether foot mittens are an actual thing you actually can buy in Australia.  Giving it some thought now, I seem to remember the answer was “no”.  I think.

Not long after I came to Japan, I saw a Japanese co-worker wearing socks like this.  I thought they were a pretty weird.  Definitely a bit weird.

Fast-forward 20 months living in Japan.  I’m in Uniqlo, a massive low-cost clothing chain in Japan.  I’m buying socks, 3 for 1000 yen (cheap!).  There’s a massive rack of all kinds of socks in front of me.  Different colours, different styles.  I’m carefully choosing socks, leafing through the various types, evaluating durability, thickness, elasticity, thinking about which socks might go well with a tuxedo, which with sandals.  Normal questions one asks when buying socks.

I buy the foot mittens.  I don’t even give it  a second thought.  I believe I have made a normal transaction for a normal Japanese clothing item.

Of course, on their first outing at one of the many restaurants here where you have to take off your shoes, my socks are instantly noticed.  I am told with no uncertainty and much good-natured laughing that “only old men” wear sock mittens.  I did not know that.  I did not know that only old men wear sock mittens.  It might have been useful if this information was printed on the paper wrapper that the socks are packaged in.

However!  I discover that there’s something very comforting about having your toes neatly compartmentalised.  Before I discovered sock mittens, my toes jostled around like a sack of potatoes.  Now, they’ve each got their own little uniform.  They’re on the same team.  I have brought order to my feet.

Plus, if you’re slightly tipsy, you can almost believe you have suddenly become very skillful at walking on your hands (I am not making this up).

So – can I pitch these to the same guys that inexplicably made Ugg boots popular? I’ll get a cut, right?


9 thoughts on “Foottens

  1. Logically then, foottens with sandals would the ultimate, east meets west, old man fashion faux pax.

    On a related note, I badly want a pair of Vibram Five Fingers but Rachael has promised a pre-emptive divorce should I actually buy them…

    • I thought pre-emptive divorce sounded harsh until I actually saw a picture of Vibram Five Fingers. Expecting to see a 70s-era lounge band, I saw the main picture and… wah! I’m sure they must be very comfortable, which I mean in a “I’m sure she must be very smart” kind of way. I’m afraid Rachael is fully justified in her thinking here.

  2. I’ve worn a pair. They didn’t stay on for long. Only one word description necessary – WEIRD!

    Hmmm. Footens = sandals = white legs = European tourist.

    Go you good thing!

  3. ‘Foottens’ as you so poetically call them are indeed available in Australia, although for some reason they tend to be garishly coloured and sold at those tables of ‘cheap’ clothes that appear in shopping centre corridoors all the time along with pirated pokemon cards and marble-top tables.

    Heh, that reminds me of the Today Tonight episode where they bravely faced down a small asian man selling pirate pokemon cards in a shopping centre and accused him of ‘stealing money from innocent children’. Slight tangent there.

  4. Hey everyone, MDB revealed in a slight tangent that he watches Today Tonight! Haha, now I’ve got the goods on you. Me and the rest of the Internet.

    In other news – I am saddened to find out that foottens do not sound uniquely Japanese after all. It seem like I’m going to have to turn it up to 11 to find something you can’t find anywhere else…

  5. An 11 toed footten? A full-body-ten?

    And I was over at my mum’s place when I saw the TT episode. Everytime I ‘manage’ to catch even a snippet I am reminded why it is to be avoided, except for anecdotal reasons.


  6. You could get the shocks… they have a separate big toe… sort of half way between footens and socks BUT with their own rubber sole. Totally Japanese. For some reason, they are favoured by construction workers.

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