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Tabi socks, also known as split-toe socks, originated in Japan during the fifteenth century to wear with thonged footwear like Zori and Geta sandals, which have a separate section for the big toe. Tabi socks were typically white and often worn by Japan’s high society during formal occasions such as tea ceremonies. The split-toe design was actually thought to improve balance through reflexology.
Today, some people may find the style to be more comfortable than traditional sock versions, since tabi socks minimize friction that can occur between the big and second toes.
While the silhouette has potential practical benefits, a handful of name brands are making a case for it as a fashion-forward look, too. French luxury label Maison Margiela is known for its Tabi-inspired footwear, having first introduced its tabi shoes in 1988 and now supplying various ankle boots in the silhouette. And later this month, the company is set to release a split-toe sneaker with Reebok, which Kim Kardashian recently showed off on Instagram. Nike also dropped an all-weather tabi-inspired chukka sneaker last September, and included a pair of Swoosh-stamped tabi socks with every purchase of the style.
Some have criticized the look, but there’s no denying it has a cult following. If you’re going to try out tabi shoes, then you’ll need some tabi socks to wear with them. Of course, they can also be worn with everyday footwear if you simply want to try out the unique accessory.
Ahead, we scoured the Internet to bring you 11 great tabi socks — from discreet, no-show pairs to whimsical crew length options. Keep scrolling to shop them all.
TeeHee Tabi Socks
These cotton ankle socks are made to be soft and breathable. They come in a pack of three and various designs to choose from, including this fun striped option.
Intype Tabi Geta Socks
Another cozy cotton set, these no-show socks feature an extra-low cut hem to stay hidden inside shoes and come in versatile neutral hues.
Rosenice Tabi Socks
This pack comes with three cotton crew-length pairs in black, white and gray to match any outfit.
Papermore Tabi Geta Socks
Crafted from 85% cotton, these patterned crew socks should be soft and provide an optimal amount of stretch to fit different foot sizes.
Wrapables Tabi Socks
Another pack of three, these cotton-blend crew socks are available in a range of designs, including a seashell print that will have you dreaming of beach days.
Samurai Market Tabi Socks
Made from a cozy cotton blend fabric, this style comes in three prints inspired by Japanese culture.
V-Toe Tabi Socks
Unlike the others on our list, these ankle socks are crafted from a wool fabric blend that the brand claims is super soft and breathable.
Polar Feet Tabi Socks
Coming in five prints and two solid colors to choose from, these crew-length socks are made of cozy fleece that shouldn’t pill, shrink or fade.
ChocDesign Tabi Socks
If you want stock up on pairs, this five-pack of low-cut socks is a great option. They’re crafted from a cotton-polyester blend for soft, lightweight and quick-drying effects.
Composed of angora wool, these bird-patterned crew socks should be ideal for wintertime wear.
Trazita Tabi Socks
These sweet floral-printed socks are made with a soft cotton-blend and offered in several colorways to choose from.