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Tabi (Ninja Shoes & Boots) Size Conversion & How to Wear

January 21, 2019 3 Comments

Tabi (Ninja Shoes & Boots) Size Conversion & How to Wear

Tabi is one of the traditional Japanese split-toed footwear as known as ninja shoes / boots. It's said that the history of Japanese footwear like tabi can be dated back to 10th century and the present tabi which clasps are used to fasten can be dated back to 19th century. It was worn by samurai warriors and becoming popular among citizens as times went on. In these days, it's often worn by construction workers and forest workers. Besides, various types of tabi shoes have been developed. There are specially made tabi shoes for festivals, dances,  taiko performances, and even for running. Although it's not close to the modern people, this comfortable footwear is really recommended. Let's see how to wear it.


  1. Size Conversion 

  2. How to Put on Tabi Shoes 

  3. How to Choose Tabi Shoes 

  4. How to Care Tabi Shoes 


1. Tabi Shoe Size Conversion (JP / US-Men's / US-Women's / UK / EUR)

Shoe Size Conversion Japanese Size Tabi

Please Note:

*Approximate size conversion
*Tabi is tight shoes/boots. We recommend to choose half-size bigger one.

JP US-Men's US-Women's UK EUR
22.5 4.5 6 4 36.5
23 5 6.5 4.5 37
23.5 5.5 7 5 37.5
24 6 8 6 38.5
24.5 6.5 8.5 6.5 39
25 8 9 7 40.5
25.5 8.5 9.5 7.5 41.5
26 9 10 8 42
26.5 9.5 10.5 8.5 42.5
27 10 11 9 43
27.5 10.5 11.5 9.5 43.5
28 11 12 10 44
28.5 11.5 12.5 11 44.5
29 12 13 11.5 45.5
29.5 12.5 13.5 12 46
30 13 14 13 47


2. How to Put on Tabi Shoes

How to put on tabi

The following is the general mothod of wearing tabi shoes. Please enjoy wearing with your own method if you get used to.



  1. Wear tabi socks or toe socks

    Please put on two-toed socks or put off socks (barefoot) when you wear jika-tabi.

    Barefoot or wearing socks
  2. Slide your foot into the tabi shoes grasping it

    Pulling opening of the tabi, slide foot into the tabi until the sole touches the tabi sole.

    Put on Tabi Shoes
  3. Arrange fitting

    In a casual position (ex: crossing a leg), arrange fitting of tabi around foot by pulling it. The angle of the ankle should be 90 degree.

    Fitting Tabi
  4. Place the kohaze (metal tabs) into the correct cotton hooks

    Start from clasp close to ankle, and hook left into loops in order.

    Hook clasps into loops
  5. Done

    Walk and check if the loosen part is left or not. If it's loosen, hook clasps again.


Metal fastener is called kohaze (clasp). It's fastened by hooking it into loop. The number of the kohaze is different according to the length of the shoes / boots.
Hook Clasp


3. How to Choose Tabi Shoes

How to choose tabi

There are a lot of types of tabi shoes for various use and different function and design. At first glance, it looks like all same shape and design but the tabi maker makes the functional and cool tabi shoes for various use. Please pick the best tabi you'd like.

Different tabi have different shape / design of outsole.
Tabi Shoes



Function Tabi

  • Outsole
    Some comfortable tabi has thick outsole. So it reduces the fatigue, it's recommended to wear for outside activity. Other has thinner outsole that has barefoot feeling. Another has unique shape of outsole and it helps to stand firm on the ground.
  • Insole
    Comfortable insole has shock absorption and air cushion. Some tabi has arch suport and reduces the fatigue
  • Upper
    Upper part is made of the breathable cotton and synthetic fiber. It makes feel more comfortable to put on. 


Design Tabi

  • Looks
    Some tabi has not only the high quality function but the good design. For festivals and performances, the appearances are important. Tabi maker also develops the slip-on like tabi shoes for casual users.


4. How to Care Tabi Shoes

How to care tabi

How to wash:

Hand wash with water or hot water below 30 degree Celsius rinse thoroughly after removing dirt. Using a detergent, etc. may cause discoloration or color transfer.

How to dry:

Please dry in a well-ventilated shade avoiding direct sunlight and high temperature.

How to store:

After use, take water and dirt, avoid high temperature, humidity, direct sunlight, please keep in a well-ventilated place.


Check Taiko Center's Tabi Shoes

Tabi Shoes (Ninja Shoes)


Related Articles

14 Types of Traditional Japanese Festival Clothing

Tabi is one of the essential items for Matsuri, Japanese festival.  See also this article. 

14 Types of Traditional Japanese Festival Clothing 

Let's Make Custom Name Print Happi

Are you interested in custom name item? See also this article. 

Let's Make Custom Name Print Happi Coat 

31 Best Traditional Japanese Pattern Wagara on Happi Coat

Are you interested in traditional Japanese costume and pattern? See also this article. 

31 Best Japanese Patterns (Wagara) on Happi


😚Thank you for reading this to the end. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments😉

3 Responses

M A Robles
M A Robles

May 21, 2020

How can I order tabi size in USA
23(6.5)with split toe


February 03, 2020

Mam stopę o długości 29.5 cm. Potrzebuję butów tabi do pracy w ogrodzie. Poproszę o pomoc w doborze tabi


October 05, 2019

Would anyone happen to know where I could find a US size 16 pair of tabi? It seems impossible and I might have to try and make some at this point.

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