In 1952, the world’s first rubber thongs “Beach Walk” were created by NAIGAI RUBBER INDUSTRY in Japan. These thongs were designed by Ray Pastine, an industrial designer in the U.S., and created by NAIGAI’s closed pore rubber sponge technology. Blue-dia originates from Beach Walk.
Japanese traditional footwear with a fabric strap (geta, zori) was generally a pair its right and left shapes were the same. On the other hand, rubber thongs had a shape that followed the sole-print of each side of the feet. Foot comfort was prioritised during the design process by creating tapered soles where the heels were about 2 mm higher than the toe.
In 1953, NAIGAI RUBBER INDUSTRY started exporting Beach Walk to the U.S.A. Beach Walk created a boom in Hawaii that 100,000 pairs of them were sold in a month.
In 1955, “Blue-dia” were created and released, which are improved rubber thongs tailored for Japanese market.
Continuous improvements have been implemented for the materials but the basic manufacturing method and design of Blue-dia has not been changed since it was created. Today, Blue-dia is well perceived in the Japanese market as the standard rubber thongs.