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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
Active Kutakian
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Forgive my late posting on this topic, but I searched for threads on Jika Tabis because I'm looking to buy some and I wanted to see what others were saying. I'm replacing a pair I've owned for a very long time that I love (I bought them in Little Tokyo in L.A.). I wanted to see what were good pairs to use that are available now. Let me ask a question, has anyone tried the ones sold on ninjutsu.com? how do they compare with the Jika Fighter made by Rikio?

In answer to the later posts here about tabis and their uses: the ones from shinogear.com are very stiff compared to most other types (but I really like their indoor tabis they sell). I wouldn't want to be up on a roof in those stiff ones because they offer less traction than say, the Rikio brand ones. I've taken my Jika Tabis bouldering (climbing rocks and boulders, not sheer cliff faces, without ropes and harnesses) and I loved them for their grip, balance, and foot feedback. If you think cushioned shoes are superior to barefeet, you should read some of the articles and research being done on barefoot running and minimilist shoes. Some marathon runners swear by running barefoot and have increased their times and one benefit is that by changing the manner in which a person runs to accommodate for barefeet, the occurance of stress fractures and knee injury is reduced.

So, a good pair of Jikas can be beneficial.

Posted on: 2012/2/13 1:08
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
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In my opinion, there are many options of modern "minimalist" type shoes that are superior to the tabi design for outdoor use. Indoor tabi made of cotton or leather are very comfortable, but the leather will make you sweat eventually, so you'll have to get tabi socks as well.

I wear Inov8 F-Lite 230 sneakers for weight training and running due to the natural balance they allow for your foot with the low heel and minimal padding so your foot is balanced when squatting heavy weight for example. However, I also use them for running, my calves were sore at first since the low heel forces you to properly engage your calf muscle instead of slamming down on the typical thick cushioned heel of sneakers. This large heel is actually an ergonomic flaw in shoes and people are trending away from it recently (there is plenty of research on this, google it). Although I don't have any, I think the Vibram five-fingers are probably superior as far as grip, balance and coordination of the foot, but not all that great when it comes to high impact (running, jumping etc). These I would consider the 21st century version of the tabi.

You don't wear shoes indoors in residences of Japan, not in the Hombu or any dojo I've been in. So you either train barefoot, in socks, or in tabi, barefoot being the least preferred due to hygiene (I only saw a few people barefoot). Outdoor tabi I have rarely seen outside the dojo as well, people switch to regular shoes.

The gap between the large toe and the others has to do with the nervous system meridians in the body. The separate big toe allows for freedom of movement better blood circulation and other stuff, if you believe in that kind of thing, I do, but everyone's feet are different, so whatever floats your boat. Oh yeah, and the tabi allowed someone to grab something with their foot or assist in rope bridge crossing.

I have the all black outdoor tabi mentioned earlier from yamato budogu. Still going strong for 3 years, the kohaze clips are worn some places, but the sole and fabric are solid. I also have custom made leather tabi I wear in the dojo, secured with velcro, very smooth and comfortable, I get alot of comments on them when traveling for training, not sure they are worth the $110 I paid for them though, if they last 5 years then I'll say sure they were.

Cotton tabi, I don't own any, I have tons of the tabi socks that I wear day to day with my sneakers, boots or whatever, they are just more comfortable than regular socks, and better than the five-finger socks that hold each toe in my opinion, these take too long to get on and off and they cost a lot.

P.S. Rikio tabi are mass produced in China, all the Japanese brands I've tried are superior in quality and durability to these, or get yourself some custom made by a skilled tailor who can map it to your foot perfectly, like a suit and worth the cash.

Posted on: 2012/2/13 8:17
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
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I got a pair of jikatabi made by a company called Takesyo for a pretty good price off of ebay and I have found them to be really good for training so far - we do a heck of a lot of outdoor training so they get put through a lot, too.

They have zippers which I have not heard of in other jikatabi before but I find that zipping my foot into them seems to create rather a nice snug fit around my heel and ankle area for some reason!

Hope that helps...

Posted on: 2012/2/13 17:19
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
Kutaki Postmaster
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I'm not claiming this to be cast in stone but doesn't the split toe of indoor tabi exist purely because virtually all traditional Japanese footwear was some kind of flip flop, e.g. waraji, zori, geta, and they needed some kind of upper that would interface with the toe thong?

And jika tabi were no more than the existing tabi but with the addition of a rubber sole and no one thought to do away with the split toe even though it was now superfluous?

Of course the original flip flop design of waraji/geta/zori may have been due to nervous system meridians but I don't know what evidence there is for this, and would have thought a toe thong was chosen simply to better secure the foot in an open sandal.

I also don't know the reason some sports, fashion and watersports footwear also had a split toe but it would be interesting to research. Some of my students train in pilates 5-toe socks with little rubber dots on the bottom for grip, and there are now closed-toe MMA socks with the same grip (I'm sure they existed first as ladies' cosy-toes socks for lounging around the house though!)

Posted on: 2012/2/16 1:39
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
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Does anyone know where I can order the indoor tabi with the suede soles?

I'll be in Tokyo for a while in April, too, so places to buy (large size ~30) would be nice to know too.

Thanks in advance.

Posted on: 2012/2/16 2:12
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
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Leathertabi.net is has very good tabi and is very reliable in delivery!

Marty

Posted on: 2012/2/16 13:33
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
Village Old Timer
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Quote:

mrdunsky wrote:
Leathertabi.net is has very good tabi and is very reliable in delivery!

Marty


Thank you Marty, now we are trying to finish all leather Jika Tabi and hope to add it inside our products...will let you know here too once it will pass my abuse test :)

Posted on: 2012/2/16 17:14
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
Active Kutakian
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Does anyone know of where to buy these nicer brands of Jika Tabi online? I will not be traveling to Japan anytime in the foreseeable future, nor anyone I know well enough to ask to make the purchase. Yamatobudogu.com only sells the Rikio brand stuff and the Kage tabis (which I like, but are kind of pricey, but maybe they are worth the price).

Posted on: 2012/2/17 7:12
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
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The kage tabi are worth the price, they fit perfect and have a curved sole as opposed to flat so they conform to your foot, just make sure you order the right size. Like anything, you get what you pay for.

Posted on: 2012/2/17 10:59
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Re: Which Tabi should I get?
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Do the kages fit like normal tabi? If normally I wear 28, does that still hold true?

Posted on: 2012/2/17 22:05
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