Toe the Line: Socks, Japan, $11
In an era when locally sourced menus list everything but the cow's name, what right-minded traveler would waste luggage space on tchotchkes made in a faraway factory? Globe-trotters have long had a better choice: Handicrafts make one-of-a-kind souvenirs that create lasting connections to artisans and boost cultural heritage. These days, shopping responsibly is far from dutiful and doesn't even require an extra suitcase. From stocking stuffers to heirloom gifts, our picks represent contemporary spins on tradition and can be purchased online or in person, near where they were made. —Reported by Jennifer Barger
Located in a rustic storefront in Higashiyama, one of Kyoto’s temple-filled zones, Kyo-to-to uses embroidery and mythological symbols in clever ways, including bale-shaped pillows decked with smiling sea breams and an array of split-toe tabi socks. All the rage among Edo-era samurai, the footwear has been updated to pair equally with sneakers and kimonos, here embellished with a koi fish pattern—note the eyeballs on the toes. Get it here: www.kyototo.jp/en.