Kids have all kinds of shoe options. From lace-ups to Velcro, sneakers to slip-ons, punky kicks to wingtips. And if I had a penny for every brightly hued pair of kiddy Crocs I’ve seen festooned with those little crocessories, I’d be a very wealthy man. It’s time for something different. It’s time for Sou·Sous. Easy to don, easy to love, look no further for a back-to-school find that no other peep-fashionista will be sporting.

Word on the street:

1. kid [kid] noun
a) Informal. a child or young person.
b) a young goat.

2. shoe [shoo] noun
a) an external covering for the human foot.
b) an object or part resembling a shoe in form.

3. Sou·Sou [soo-soo] kids’ shoes noun
a) A cleft-toed external covering for the feet of kids (see definition 1.a above) that resembles a shoe in form, but stylistically is so much more.

Sou·Sou calls the footwear “tabi shoes”. And tabi is a Japanese colloquial term which roughly translates to “bags for feet”. They are a modern take on the conventional shoes worn by Japanese roof workers. With a rubber sole, 100% cotton upper (always a more eco-friendly choice than leather) and form fitting clasps, the shoes were designed to give the maximum traction while supporting the foot, ankle and calf. The same rudimentary design is updated in Sou·Sou’s offerings for children, and the shoes – handmade by local artisans in an ambiguous workspace at the Sou·Sou shop – are a comfortable fit for even the tiniest feet.

Forgoing the somber colors usually associated with tabi shoes, the Sou·Sou kids line comes in grey and white polka dot, blue and white Hiragana (Japanese characters), red and white “crests” and black and white crosses. Most Sou·Sou shoes feature an alternate pattern or color for the inner fabric because as the site suggests, “You can wear these tabi shoes by undoing the fasteners on the side and folding the top part over, revealing the lining within.”

Sou·Sou kids’ shoes cost around $55, with an approximate shipping cost of $15, but before you make a purchase be sure to check the sizing chart (in Japan shoe sizes are measured in centimeters) and remember that it is almost mandatory that you also pick-up a few pairs of cute tabi socks.