Possible: The Hybrid Slipper-Sneaker

We were on a hunt for something that slipper-loving individuals may cop that would not sacrifice their need for supreme comfort, and and we remember these


Whole Love Kyoto.jpg

They can’t possibly exist. But they do. This is an intermarriage that will bring a smile to the most hardened skeptic. Or, the individual who wants the best of both worlds but, until now, has to settle for one. A sneaker can indeed be paired with thongs!

These are Hanao shoes and they are conceived and made by the indie Japanese label Whole Love Kyoto, a social-enterprise-like outfit that interprets traditional Japanese—for now, specifically Kyoto—crafts and techniques in compelling modern ways. Founded just a year ago, and based in Kyoto (of course!), the brand’s off-beat Hanao shoes have since been snapped up by hipster retailer D&Department (that collaborated with Comme des Garcons for the just-ended Good Design Shop) and the always alluring Beams. In London, they debuted in Liberty and Selfridges, cementing the brand’s elevated standing.

The head-turning Hanao is basically a classic sneaker style or a slip-on afixed with the thongs traditionally found on footwear worn with kimonos: the geta and the zori. These straps are not to be mistaken for those on the slippers we know since they are infinitely more attractive than the functional ones you’re used to seeing. If you pick the white sneaker base, you’ll look like you’re wearing the tabi with a zori!

We first saw the canvas version of the Hanao early this year in the Beams flagship store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. There was an immediate pull to them and we were keen to try them on, but they didn’t have the sizes we asked for. The Hanao is backed again at Beams, this time a pop-up for Whole Love Kyoto. If you have friends going to Tokyo, get them to cop you a pair. Or, alternatively, consider Whole Love Kyoto’s e-shop.

Whole Love Kyoto’s Hanao leather sneakers, ¥27,400, is available for both men and women at Beams, Shinjuku Tokyo. Photo: Beams Tokyo