FDMTL have a long standing history of footwear collaborations with numerous well-known brands including the likes of Vans and Danner Boots. For 2021, FDMTL have switched up their game to bring to us some quintessentially traditional Japanese Zori Sandals with the Boro Boys' Indigo Sashiko DNA injected into what is simply a stellar piece of footwear.
Zōri (草履) are a type of Japanese footwear which were traditionally made with woven bamboo or rice straw material. Often worn with tabi style socks, they were designed to be easy to slip on-and-off while entering a leaving buildings. While at first glance they appear simplistic in design, once you break down the intensive nature of the production you can truly appreciate why they hold such cultural value in Japan.
For the production of the Zori Sandals, FDMTL have teamed up with longtime established Zori makers Karube Zori, based in Yamagata Prefecture. With a history spanning over 100 years, Karube have established themselves as one of the finest makers of Zori Sandals in Japan.
Starting with the insole, the hand-woven bamboo straws used for each sandal are hand-stripped from bamboo growing locally in the region before going through a thorough drying process. From each batch of dried straws, only the finest are selected to be eventually sent to the factory for knotting and weaving.
In order to construct the insole of each sandal, a craftsman will first knot several bamboo straws to form thick strands as a base for the thinner bamboo straws to be woven around by hand. Even the most skilled craftsmen take around 90 minutes to knit each individual insole.
Each insole is then hydraulically pressed in a mold to finalize the shape and stiffen up the weave of the sandal. The level of tolerance to achieve the correct final shape is so minute that miniscule adjustments have to be made to the heat of the iron pressing plate based on the ambient temperature and humidity of the factory.
The EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) material used for the sole of each sandal is a "rubber-like" polymer which is known to not only be tough and crack-resistant but also exhibits a clean long-lasting gloss, perfect for use in footwear.
Karube Zori have carefully selected this type of sole to ensure not only solid durability, but to ensure that the weight of the wearer is evenly distributed with each stride to ensure comfortable wear over a long period.
The final stage of sewing the "Hanao" straps, featuring FDMTL's Indigo Sashiko fabric is once again done intricately by hand to complete the sandal.
The FDMTL Sashiko Zori Sandals drop on 4/14 @ Midnight (JST)