Corrugated cardboard is light, breathable, environmentally friendly and fully recyclable.

Innovative Kami-waraji sandals utilize this versatile material in a twist on a venerable Japanese standby. The woven-straw sandals called waraji were once an essential item for travelers in Japan. Kami-waraji resemble traditional waraji, but their soles are made of paper (kami) cardboard. The soles are printed with beautiful designs to create fun sandals that are also works of art.

Brand marketing expert Masayuki Watanabe, who created the sandals, explains how they came into existence. “In 2014, our company, Penguin Inc., was working for the Japan Tourism Agency to develop Japan branding to promote inbound tourism. We got to meet about 400 overseas visitors, and were delighted to hear them praise Japanese culture and products as ‘cool’ and ‘cute.’ We wanted to make the ultimate souvenir for them, so we came up with Kami-waraji.”