Zōri (草履) are flat and thonged Japanese sandals made of rice straw or other plant fibers, cloth, lacquered wood, leather, rubber, or increasingly, synthetic materials. Zōri are quite similar to flip-flops, which first appeared in New Zealand and the United States sometime around World War II as rubber imitations of the wooden thong sandals long-worn in Japan. Like all Japanese sandals, zōri allow for free circulation of air around the feet, a feature that probably came about because of the humid climate that predominates throughout most of Japan. They are easily slipped on and off, which is important in a culture where shoes are constantly removed and put back on, and where tying shoelaces would be impractical in a tight kimono.
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