does pottery and a shoe brand have in common? Japan-based brand MoonStar’s
classic canvas sneaker line ‘Shoes Like Pottery’ uses the ancient Japanese
technique Ka-ryu – a vulcanizing
process. Each shoe is fired at 120° C/248° F in a kiln for 70 minutes,
similar to the way Japanese pottery is fired. The extreme heat and pressure
causes the sulfur mixed inside the raw rubber to chemically react, returning
the rubber to its original shape. This process creates a soft, light-weight, flexible, and highly
The vulcanization process was introduced by MoonStar in 1873, when the company manufactured jika-tabi, a traditional Japanese shoe with a tough canvas upper and rubber outsole, usually worn by construction workers, farmers and gardeners for its durability. The term tabi dates back from the 15th century and describes traditional Japanese socks, which are ankle-high and with a separation between the big and other toes. The socks are still worn by women and men with zori or geta (traditional thonged footwear) until today, in particular with traditional Japanese clothing, such as the kimono.
The ‘Shoes Like Pottery’ sneakers have a clearly
identifiable blue outsole which resembles
the pebbled texture of raw rubber. The border around the sole is individually hand-stamped with a rubber
seal bearing the brand logo, portraying a ‘Lucky Hammer’, also known as Uchide no Kozuchi. Apparently swinging
this mallet grants its holder’s wishes.