The Tale of the Tabi

06 May 2020

"The Tabi boot is the most important footprint of my career: it’s recognisable, it still goes on after 25 years, and it has never been copied" - Martin Margiela. 

First showcased at Maison Margiela's debut Spring-Summer 1989 season collection. The Tabi shoe took inspiration from the 15th Century traditional Japanese split-toe sock. The Tabi sock was initially designed to be worn with traditional geta and zori thonged sandals and came in a variety of colours that reflected the social status of the wearer. 

When the Tabi first appeared on the runway in 1989, Martin Margiela drenched the models in red paint so the unique split-toe would leave footprints on the runway floor. When the next season came around and there was no budget to create new versions of the Tabi, Margiela got creative with paint again and literally repainted unsold Tabi's from the previous season. 

Today the Tabi has been reimagined and resigned hundreds of times and remains one of the most coveted designs in all of fashion. It seems the blend of heritage design and avant-garde aesthetics lends to the longevity of the Tabi in the ephemeral and ever-changing trends that inherently come with fashion. 

Discover our wide range of Tabi's here