The New MERI Slippers
In 2020, COVID-19 forced people worldwide to stay at home, which resulted in a large number of employees working from home as well. Many people are re-evaluating how they stay comfortable. We spent more time with our MERI slippers at home and started to think about how we could improve them.
MERI slippers are based on the design of Japanese sandals, placing the mae-tsubo (the place where the thongs meet) near the center of the sole. While this design may look nice, the little toe tends to slip off the sole. Traditional sandals are worn with tabi (Japanese socks) covering the little toe, so there is no inconvenience. But MERI are worn without socks, and the foot has to be firmly planted on the sole to appreciate the quality of the soft material.
In our new design, the mae-tsubo has been moved towards the first toe, but this caused other problems. When the mae-tsubo is in the center, the wearer wraps their first and second toe around it, making the spot the center of gravity. We made many small adjustments to check how this affected the body’s balance. It took quite a while to find the right placement for the mae-tsubo to fully support both the feet and body.
We also increased the number of cords used by ten percent, increasing the size of the sole so the wearer can fully appreciate the slipper’s fluffy cushioning and smooth texture. MERI can even help improve balance!
Though we were hesitant about changing the old design, our quest resulted in a new form that helps users truly relax. Those who wish to spend their time at home in comfort should try the new MERI. For this campaign, we are offering them for 8,800 yen, while the retail price is 9,900 yen. Better yet, shipping is free!
The Four Appeals of MERI Slippers
1. The Open Feeling
The thongs attached to MERI can be adjusted for a snug fit, which supports the bottom of your feet, along with the toes. All five toes will be spread naturally, washing away weariness from a day at work. This is a slipper you’ll want to wear as soon as you get back home. The traditional-style thongs will also help shape a natural arch at the bottom of your feet.
2. Soft Texture
We start by making knit cords from Airlet, a hollow yarn. MERI slippers, woven with these cords, feel cool in summer and warm in winter while absorbing the sweat and drying quickly. The cords also have antibacterial and deodorizing traits. MERI can be cleaned in a washing machine, by using a laundry net. This is a slipper that can be used for a long time, making you feel much more relaxed than going barefoot!
3. The Fluffiness
Even a skilled craftsperson can make only two to three pairs of MERI per day. As they require a high level of skill to weave, we are also keen on training our staff to maintain the quality of our products. The thick sole, woven with a special cord, is both fluffy and sturdy. The intricate weaving and the cute form which comes in regulated sizes are made possible by the skill of our artisans. MERI is a product of both history and technology.
4. Cute and Cool
Historically, Japanese slippers were homemade from scraps or old T-shirts, so design was not a major factor. But an item that’s used every day should be good-looking as well! MERI slippers are designed in a plain style so that the user can enjoy their time at home without stress. There are various patterns, such as the cute, vividly colored type, casually striped type, elegant type, or the cool, monotone type.
Japanese Slipper Workshop
Orange Tokyo also hosts a three-hour workshop, in which the participants make a pair of MERI (*1). They will be instructed by expert craftspersons, so even those who are not used to weaving will be able to make a Japanese slipper with their favorite color and design. The participants can use the slippers themselves, or give them away as a gift!
Various participants, including junior high school students and visitors from abroad, have made lovely slippers themselves. We also hosted workshops in Hong Kong and Taiwan, before the current travel restrictions. Even if you haven't tried handicraft, or can't speak Japanese, don't worry (*2)! Join us, to make your own custom slippers.
*1: Instead of the cords used for MERI, Jono Jono, another type of knit cord, will be used at the workshop. The material is 100% cotton, and soft enough to be used in other handicraft items.
*2: Instruction in English is also available.
This is an outlet store that handles MERI slippers, along with five-finger socks, tabi socks, and embroidered items. Koti is a Finnish word for home, and the word MERI is derived from meriyasu, a Japanese word for knitwear. This store is located in the Sumida Ward of Tokyo, the birthplace of MERI. Merikoti handles all types of MERI sandals, some of which are not included in the rewards mentioned below.
Orange Tokyo also manages online stores, handling the same items as Merikoti. If it is difficult to visit the actual store, please take a look at the stores listed below.
For those residing in Japan: Dai Dai Tokyo
For those residing overseas: Pinkoi