Some consider it to be a terrible trend while others simply trace the look back to European tourists, but socks with sandals certainly has history within Japan. Tabi, partitioned socks, were worn with geta thong sandals. In this iteration, the tabi is most like a sock and incorporated with traditional dress. Jika-tabi are an improvement on traditional tabi socks, with a thicker construction and rubber soles; tabi are socks, jika-tabi are like knit boots. Construction workers and heavy laborers often prefer the style in Japan due to its ability to provide a more natural traction on the ground. In a way (as a very distant relative), is this not like Nike's Flyknit technology? A knit (sock-like) upper to create a comfortable and pliable shoe for the wearer, with a practical rubber sole to allow the user to work—whether they're walking along steel beams or running track.