The world is currently facing various challenges, including energy and food crises, extreme weather events, and natural disasters. In response to these issues, Maki Izawa conceived the idea of Para Waraji, which incorporates the concept of prevention to ensure a calm and safe daily existence. Made from a strong and durable parachute cord, Para Waraji provides not only foot protection but also serves as a multi-purpose tool in emergency situations. The woven cord can be untied and used for wound care, hemostasis, fire starting, and even dental floss, offering assistance in various aspects of daily life during emergencies.
What sets Para Waraji apart is its fusion of traditional Japanese craftsmanship and modern technology. Waraji sandals, traditionally made of straw, have long been believed to offer protection and ward off evil spirits. They were thought to keep away bad luck and disasters. Para Waraji takes this traditional concept and combines it with the strength and versatility of parachute cord, resulting in a unique and practical footwear option.
Para Waraji is woven using 4mm paracord, a lightweight nylon rope originally developed for military parachutes. This cord is known for its strength, durability, flexibility, and abrasion resistance. Its kernmantle construction, with a strong inner core surrounded by a woven outer sheath, ensures its reliability. Available in a wide range of colors and patterns, Para Waraji can be customized to suit individual preferences.
Designed to wrap securely around the ankle through small loops on the sides and long loops on the heel, Para Waraji fits comfortably around the sole of the foot, providing ease of movement. The sandals are lightweight, soft, and comfortable, giving the sensation of walking barefoot. While offering foot protection, Para Waraji also strengthens sensations in the toes and soles, improves blood circulation, and reduces foot fatigue, making them a health-conscious choice.
Para Waraji can be tied in various ways, allowing wearers to change the impression to suit their mood. Whether you prefer a traditional or more contemporary look, these sandals offer versatility in style.
The Para Waraji project began in September 2022 in Japan and was exhibited in Tokyo and Osaka in October and December 2022, respectively. The design is a result of extensive research, combining the durability and functionality of paracord with the intricate weave patterns and color combinations that characterize Japanese design.
Recognizing the importance of preserving traditional craftsmanship, Maki Izawa faced challenges in finding Waraji craftsmen. With the number of people weaving straw sandals decreasing, efforts to protect these skilled artisans are crucial.
Para Waraji has received recognition for its innovative design. It was awarded the Bronze A' Design Award in the Footwear, Shoes, and Boots Design category in 2023. This prestigious award acknowledges designs that showcase creativity, resourcefulness, and technical expertise, contributing to improvements in quality of life.
Para Waraji is not just a pair of sandals; it is a symbol of innovation and preparedness. By blending tradition with modern technology, Maki Izawa has created a footwear solution that not only protects your feet but also equips you for unexpected situations. Embrace the versatility and functionality of Para Waraji and step confidently into a secure and peaceful everyday life.
Project Designers: MAKI IZAWA
Image Credits: MAKI IZAWA
Project Team Members: MAKI IZAWA
Project Name: Para Waraji
Project Client: MAKI IZAWA