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Washi sneakers welcomed in summer heat

The Yomiuri Shimbun

“I want customers to learn about the good points of washi,” Kotaro Hosokawa of Hosokawa-Tex, Inc. said in Kamiichi, Toyama Prefecture.

The Yomiuri ShimbunTOYAMA — New sneakers made primarily from Japanese washi paper have been gaining popularity for such characteristics as their lightness and ability to wick moisture away.

Hosokawa-Tex, Inc., a textile manufacturer in Kamiichi, Toyama Prefecture, developed the shoes and launched them in April. They are sold on its website and have been praised by customers as comfortable and light.

The company commercialized a new material for shoes that is particularly durable and water resistant by weaving polyester threads through washi cloth — a type of fabric made from threads of washi paper — which was developed by another company in Kishiwada, Osaka Prefecture.

Hosokawa-Tex spent six months manufacturing trial products and completed the design in December.

One shoe weighs about 140 grams, or about half the weight of an ordinary fabric shoe.

The shoes are washable and their inner section uses two layers of washi paper.

The company has promoted the shoes by saying, “Feel the distinguished soft texture of washi.”

Executive officer Kotaro Hosokawa, 43, said, “We want to expand the range of our products by utilizing the qualities of washi cloth.”

The shoes are available in six colors and cost ¥12,000.Speech

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