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Moonstar creates minimal and functional footwear, hand-produced by highly skilled craftspeople in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. Kurume has long been recognized as a centre of Japan's rubber industry, famed for the production of tyres and jika-tabi - rubber-soled work boots featuring a split toe. 

The origin of MoonStar shoes

MoonStar has been making shoes in Kurume, on Japan’s southern Kyushu island, since 1873. The company originated under the name Tsuchiya Tabi as a manufacturer of tabi - Japanese-style socks with a split toe. This later developed into the production of jika-tabi, split toe shoes with a rubber sole. Initially production was limited to two to three shoes per day to ensure each one was of high quality. Still worn today by farmers and workmen, MoonStar footwear, with its skilled hand finishing, has become one of Japan’s most well-loved shoe brands. 

The MoonStar process

The process for making MoonStar shoes first begins with choosing the highest quality materials. Skilled craftspeople then cut and sew the separate materials together, with each pair completed by hand. A rubber adhesive then cements the sole to the upper, moulding to the shape of the shoe to create something that is especially resilient and flexible. 

Shoes like pottery

Once fully assembled, the next stage of the process is called ‘vulcanization’. MoonStar shoes are often referred to as ‘shoes like pottery’. The reason for this is each pair of shoes is fired, just like ceramics, in a 120-degree kiln for 70 minutes. As each shoe goes through exposure to extreme heat, the sulphur inside the raw rubber undergoes a chemical reaction. This process of vulcanization, or ka-ryu in Japanese, improves the strength and flexibility of the rubber, creating durable shoes that are ready to weather any type of outdoor encounter. 

Chic injection

If not undergoing vulcanization, each MoonStar shoe is treated to a direct injection process, where molten material is injected into a shoe-shaped mould. This process forms the sole and connects it with the upper panels at the same time. The effect of this process, which began production in 1966, is to create an excellent fit and softer cushioning.

MoonStar at Japan House

MoonStar footwear comes in a range of varieties, from children’s gym shoes through to all-weather shoes for adults, boots for outdoor workers and their minimal and stylish gym court shoes. The Shop at Japan House has the following styles available in a range of colours and sizes: bumper court, gym classic, gym court and all weather shoes.

Browse MoonStar Alweather and Jikatabi shoes on our Online Shop.