How to Make a Waraji Hemp Sandal

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Hemp rope

Waraji sandals are comfortable shoes. In Japanese culture, Waraji sandals once permeated the entire socioeconomic spectrum. To this day, in rural areas, the sandals are still worn. Waraji sandals can be made out of hemp rope. Hemp has been used since history records began for many things including ropes, clothes, paper, food and sandals.


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Step 1

Find one long piece of hemp, and loop it around your biggest toe on each foot. This should look like a large "Y" with the loops being open (they look like rabbit ears). Other pieces of hemp are going to loop in between these loops, so the bigger the better.

Step 2

Weave, at the base of the "Y," another piece of hemp so that the pattern starting from the left side and going right is over-under-over-under.

Step 3

Weave back the other way -- under-over-under-over. Repeat this wrapping process about four times to make sure the toe area of the sandal is secured and tight.


Step 4

Hold the long pieces of hemp (from the "Y" formation) wide enough for your feet. The width of the pieces of hemp will be how wide the sandal becomes.

Step 5

Continue wrapping in an alternating over-then-under process with the new piece of hemp. Be sure to make the layers as tight as possible. Remember, if you run out of hemp, you can tie off the current piece near the middle and start with a new one where you left off.

You can trim up the excess later.


Step 6

Add the straps by adding an additional piece of hemp rope where you would like to secure the sandal to your foot. The front part is a simple loop that is tied off at the front part of the sandal on each side. These small loops will act as the anchoring points for the long pieces of hemp that will be used to tie the sandal on. Continue the wrapping until the sandal is slightly larger than what you want.

Step 7

Take the primary ropes off of your toes, and pull the loose ends (the bottom of the "Y" formation rope) as tight as you can. The tightening will make the sandals more compact.


To wear the sandals, spread your toes into the individual loops (the rabbit ears), take the loose ends, and loop them through the side loops, then tie them around your ankle. Any excess hemp can now be trimmed off for appearances. Your toes are securing the front, and the loops secure the sides.

The more loops you add to the sides the tighter the fit will be.


Be sure to carry an extra pair or extra rope just in case something happens to the sandals you are wearing.