How to Walk in Geta

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Well, I had a published a guest post for the 5th, but my guest logged in and deleted it, so I’ll add a little amusing filler.

Yesterday someone found my site by searching for “How to Walk in Geta“. That seems like a very practical question and I love providing practical information on my blog; however, I’m not sure what I have to say will be helpful in this case.

The short answer is:

  1. Put them on.
  2. Put one foot in front of the other.
  3. Repeat step 2.

Since the first time I put my feet in geta (下駄) I haven’t had much trouble wearing them. Actually, about the time they were doing the search, I think I was running home from a festival, wearing geta. A friend who I really wanted to see had phoned from in front of my house. I don’t know if spending a lot of time as a child playing with stilts made the difference, or rock climbing, or playing different sports, but it seems a little odd that people would have trouble.

Naturally, running, climbing (or descending) stairs, playing basketball, walking over grates require some caution. When I run in geta, I push off the balls of my feet and the rear cleat never touches the ground. When climbing stairs I also use only the front cleat, we were running for a train once and the friend who was chasing me up the stairs was afraid I would fall. He insisted that I was putting the front cleats right at the edge of the stairs, but I think his fear was adjusting his perception. I only played basketball in geta once, and I don’t plan to repeat that. You really can’t get any spring in your jump shot and dunks are right out. I recommend avoiding grates. Although most grates are smaller than a cleat, I can only imagine some trouble popping up.

The sound of geta on stone, brick, gravel, and hard turf is very pleasant, like a natural rhythm section following you. Avoid walking on pavement and concrete, if possible. Very sharp-edged bits of rock will get lodged in your cleats and there is a grating sensation. If you walk on tiles after that, you’ll feel it in the back of your teeth.

If I ever buy a pair of the Tengu geta, with one tall cleat in the middle (like the priest in Mononoke Hime), I will be sure to let you know how that turns out.

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12 Responses to “How to Walk in Geta”

  1. Navarr Says:

    I just received Geta yesterday (for Christmas) and they feel very odd. It may be because I am too used to wearing shoes. I’m always afraid I’ll fall down stairs or trip wearing them, but their sound is fairly pleasant, like a horse.

  2. びっくり Says:

    Ah, yes, be careful on stairs. Going down is the hardest (or at least the most disconcerting). A friend kept telling me that I was too close to the edge of the stairs, but I’ve never missed, so I think he was just a little too conservative. My girlfriend told me that we should only wear geta when walking around close to the house. She thinks it is too casual to wear them out on the town.

  3. Cinward Says:

    I got a pair of geta awhile back and my problem is I keep trying to walk like I’m wearing normal shoes, now I just try to walk of the front cleat since it’s easier. I actually found them ina thrift store in Rogerville! LOL.

  4. びっくり Says:

    I suppose I should have written a more helpful explanation. When I’m trying to move fast or run, I certainly use the front cleat exclusively. (You can see that when you look at the bottom… hey, I should post a photo.)

    When I am strolling slowly I put the rear cleat down and rock forward to the front cleat. I think I put my weight down toward the cleat rather than the back of the sandal. I’ll have to think about this more.

    Have fun!

  5. B Says:

    That is the exact same way I found your site. I suppose the question is not how to walk in geta, but is there a proper way to do so. Actually just walking in geta is very easy to do (as you say put one foot in front of the other), but if there is a particular way you should walk that might make it harder.

  6. びっくり Says:

    B, I had not thought of the question in that way. You have given me something more to research… when I find the time.

  7. びっくり Says:

    Tonight I was interrogating one of the priests from the Grand Shrine about walking in geta. He felt that there isn’t really a proper or improper way. Children just put them on and learn to walk however they want.

    Now I will probably watch a lot of people next summer at festivals and write about their walking styles.

  8. Tatsuki Says:

    I just finished making a pair of geta and found your site the same way =D
    Do you consider geta summer/seasonal shoes? I ask because my mom said that it’s too cold to be wearing them in the middle of winter.

  9. Daniel Says:

    3 years later I, too, have just made a pair of geta and found your page searching to find the “proper” way to walk in them.

  10. びっくり Says:

    I am impressed that you have both made geta! I have only purchased or received them. Currently I have a pair of Tengu geta, like the priest in Mononoke Hime wore. They have one long peg in the middle so you have to balance like stilts. They are a lot of fun but not generally useful.

  11. lucypatriciairwin Says:

    I want to invest in some geta shoes, which are the easiest to walk in?

  12. Max Says:

    There is an important aspect of walking in geta that doesn’t happen in western-style shoes, or even walking bare foot. In waring geta, the user grips the toes inwards which puts leverage against the big toe joints–as they push upwards against the straps. The objective is to feel equal resistance between the big toe side and the side of four smaller toes of the foot. Essentially, geta help to desensitize the upper side of the big toe joints, as this is the point of leverage; also geta help users learn how to grip with their smaller toes. Once an equal balance has been achieved, then the user can concentrate on balance issues and graceful movements.

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