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As many of you know, Japan maintains a strong sense of uchi and soto, or inside/in-group and outside/out-group. As part of that culture, all people, young and old, are made to change their shoes upon entering most buildings and homes. Students, especially elementary school students, get a special pair of indoor shoes called uwabaki, often called “hallway slippers,” for use while inside the school building. Much like the trendiness of Japanese elementary school backpacksuwabaki are being seen out on the streets on the feet of fashion-forward women. But are elementary school indoor shoes really that fashionable? You’d be surprised!

Uwabaki are usually white, and sometimes accented with a single color. They are traditionally worn by elementary school students and even those all the way in junior and senior high, but now full grown adults can pay around 4,000 yen (US$37) to relive their school days and don a pair of flat-soled slippers. Women who have picked up this fashion tip claim the appeal comes from their “retro” feel and many admit they are quite comfortable and easy to slip on and off. Others note that uwabaki are lightweight and easy to clean if they get dirty.

Here’s one Twitter user showing off her new kicks:

As you might expect, uwabaki are now straying from their original designs and come in a wide variety of colors:

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Here’s a few models enjoying their school slippers:

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But it’s not just models trying to sell this new/old pair of shoes. The trendy ladies of Japan have been dressing them up to fit their style. Here, one woman shows off her uwabaki in natural tones:


Many choose to accent their school slippers with a cute bow:

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Or even lace them up to look like ballet shoes:


Other fashionistas make it their own, coloring their uwabaki with different patterns.

The shoes do look kind of nice, similar to a ballet flat, but we can’t help but picture little elementary school students running amok when we see this new fashion style. And this elementary-school-meets-street-fashion makes us wonder what’s next…maybe those little yellow caps kindergarteners are made to wear while walking to school will be the next trend.

▼ Actually, maybe those baby blue jumpers will be the next big thing.

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Source: Naver Matome
Featured image: Showa Retoro