New footbath boots bring the healing waters of a Japanese onsen to your home
Yes, you actually pour water into them.
When the colder months arrive in Japan, there’s no better way to warm yourself up than with a dip in an onsen hot spring. If that’s not an option, an “ashiyu” (“footbath“) will also do the trick, especially if it’s filled with healing natural spring waters, like the open-air ones you find at onsen towns.
And what if you can’t get out to a hot spring resort, say if you’re staying at home during the ongoing pandemic? Well, you can still enjoy a healing footbath, with the new “Ashiyu Boots” from Hot Tab, made by the Hot Album Carbonated Spring Tablet Company.
As the name suggests, these footbath boots are actual footbaths for your feet. Rather than other fabric boots you might wear while lounging around at home during winter, these do a lot more to keep your tootsies warm, as they use hot water and bicarb to do the heating.
To use, simply dissolve one tablet of bicarbonate bath salts, included with the boots, in one litre (33.8 ounces) of hot water. It’s recommended to use water that’s on the slightly hot side, at around 43-45 degrees Celsius (109-113 degrees Fahrenheit), so it doesn’t cool down too much when you put your freezing cold feet into the boots.
Then, pour the mixture into the boots, which should fill them up halfway, and slide your feet into them. Tighten the top of the boots to your liking, and then sit back and enjoy your footbath!
▼ The bicarb salts work to promote blood circulation, while the effect of the hot water will warm your entire body from the feet up.
The boots are made from a wetsuit-like material, making them lightweight, waterproof and great for heat retention. The Ashiyu Boots retail for 9,790 yen (US$88.05) online, and each pair comes with 30 bicarb tablets, which can also be purchased separately.
It might feel weird at first, walking around the house with your feet inside snug footbaths, but we reckon it’s a feeling we’ll soon get used to in winter, much like the little sock for your big toe, which you do not want to wet with water.