Five-toed socks and panty hose are becoming available in more and more designs, which should come in handy for foot grooming in the coming summer season.
Some popular types of five-toed panty hose make the wearer's toenails look as if they are painted, according to the mail-order service and online shopping mall Belle Maison.
Last year, Belle Maison introduced three types of such panty hose. As they were very popular with customers, the mail-order wing of Senshukai Co. in Osaka increased the colour and pattern choices to five this spring. Prices begin from ¥1,200 (S$13.20), plus tax.
"They're popular among people who say they have no time to paint their toenails and those who don't want to bother with taking care of their toenails," said a Senshukai employee.
Five-toe, knee-high stockings without patterns are also selling well.
"People's feet tend to get sweaty between the toes," the employee said. "Five-toed types [of panty hose and stockings] are popular among women because they are less likely to promote sweating."
Five-toed panty hose manufactured by hosiery specialist Atsugi Co. in Ebina, Kanagawa Prefecture - which cost ¥1,000 plus tax - help the wearers appear as though they aren't wearing panty hose.
Users therefore find it easy to wear them when they wear pumps with wide openings that make the beginning of toes visible, or sandals with hanao straps, which are currently in fashion.
These panty hose "have become widespread among customers as a fashion item for spring and summer," said the company's employee in charge of publicity. "They're enjoying a steady increase in sales."
Five-toed socks are seeing more variations as well.
At the specialist hosiery shop Kutsushitaya, a recommended type of five-toed item for the coming season is no-show socks, especially ones made of silk-blend threads and ones with a deodorant function.
Another type of socks has holes for five toes, which can be useful when worn with sandals.
The new colour selection for spring and summer includes red and green.
"It's fashionable to wear socks in vivid colors so that they become eye-catching when you take off your shoes," said the shop's employee in charge of public relations.