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Japanese Geta

I made some older Japanese style Geta around a year ago for some cosplay at an anime convention. They were a bit of a rush job, I made them in under 24 hours, and only had time to use 1/4 thick piece of rope for the hanao (basically the thong part of a flip-flop). I finally have had time to make some proper hanao that are way more comfortable then just nylon rope. If you are unfamiliar with what Geta are you can find a lot of information on what they are and the history of them here:

I 'll be using a lot of Japaneses terms throughout this article so if you need to feel free to reference the Wikipedia article above.

It does take a little bit of practice to learn how to walk in these and you will feel the burn in you calf muscles after a few hours, but they are great for improving your balance, especially if you make some of the tengu geta, I may try making some in a future instructable but all I have to go off of are pictures.

Some Basic Terms & Types of Getak

Hanao — the thong on the Geta
Ha — the teeth on the Geta
Dai — the board on the Geta that the foot is on

Most Geta are made from paulownia a light weight wood, but mine are made oak just becasuse it was easier to obtain.

You can use the following instructable to make the geta

I will basically show you how to make the hanao for the geta which are far more comfortable and look more traditional then just the nylon cord I first used.

The Materials

Here are the following things you will need for the Hanao:

  • A thin fabric of your choice, it can either have a pattern on it or be a solid color
  • Material for making quilts. Not sure what it is exactly called but it is two pieces of cotton fabric with a thin layer of cotton filling inside, I think it might be quilt batting.
  • Paracord
  • Nylon cord
  • Sewing machine
  • Lighter (for the sealing the cords)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Ruler
  • Bent coat hanger for feeding the cords through the hanao
  • Duct tape


First measure the the cord from where it begins on the dai of the geta, to get this measurement you will have to already have it tied to the geta and have it be comfortable when you walk in them, mine ended up being about 12" in length.

Now we will need to cut the batting to size. I cut it at 1 1/4" wide by 12" long. Now cut out some of you thinner material leaving about 3/4" extra on the sides and 1" extra on the top and bottom.

Now start by folding the extra material on top of the batting and pinning it down on both sides

Begin Sewing

First sew up the sided of the fabric over the batting keeping it as close the the edge of the batting as you are able to. repeat on the next side.

After you have sewn both sides together fold it in half and sew the two sides together, try to stitch along the same seams that were generated when sewing the sides down. Make sure to leave a small pocket in the middle that is able to fit a 1/8" paracord to be pulled through. Some of the fabric will try to push itself out when you are sewing just make sure to push it back in or trim it off. After you are done sewing the main parts of the hanao just set them to the side for now and we will come back to them later.

Now we will begin sewing the piping for the part that goes between your toes. Just take some of the fabric, I used a piece that was about an 1 1/2" across and about 16" long, fold it in half and start sewing leaving the seam 1/2" from the folded edge. Just trim some of the excess fabric off to make the next step easier.

Feeding the Cords Through

Now we will use the metal hanger to pull the paracord through the main part of the hanao. Just slid it between the batting and out the other end place the paracord in the loop and secure it with some duct tape and pull it through. That was the easy part now we will begin turning the piping inside out for the part that goes between the toes. This is a time consuming process and a bit of a pain. After trimming off the excess fabric start by using the hanger and pushing it all the way through, hook the end and lightly pulling it back through. I could not pull it all the way through and had to keep pulling it trough in little increments. But you will eventually get it. After you have it all inside out, cut it in half. Now feed it through the piping and leave an equal amount of rope sewing on each sides and sew each end of the piping into place on the cord. For the hanao you will want to trim and roll the excess fabric around the paracord tapering it down to it will partially slide into the holes in the dai. Make sure to stitch the hanao in place on the paracord as well.

Tying Everything Off

Now that all of the sewing is done. We will begin attaching the hanao to the dai. Feed the 1/4" cord with the piping through the first hole in the dai. and tie it off with the top of the loop a little above your toes so the hanao can rest snugly on the top of your foot. Now just feed the main part of the hanao through the loop and the holes that we drilled at the end of the dai try to get the tapered end of the hanao to go partially through the hole so no paracord will be showing. After you are done feeding them through the holes just tie them off with some square knots and trim the excess paracord if you need to, and you are done. Now enjoy your tradition styled geta!!


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