When most people think of sandals, they might think of casual shoes that people wear to the beach. They might even think of dads wearing sandals and socks. What they don’t often realize is that humans have donned the sandal for almost 11,000 years.
The sandal has played a crucial role in the history of shoes, and that history might surprise you.
Where and how did it all begin?
Keep reading to learn all about the role the sandal has played in the history of the shoe industry.
As mentioned, archaeologists have found sandals that date back over 10,000 years. The thing is, they haven’t just found them in one geographic location.
Ancient cultures across the world incorporated sandals into their daily wear. From the Roman caligae and the Japanese geta to the Indian paduka, they truly had a global span.
Different cultures also used different materials to construct them. Some cultures used cork, while others made sandals from wood or twigs. While they used what was available to them, the overall concept remained the same.
Of course, most of the ancient nations that popularized wearing sandals did so because their climates allowed them to. The Mediterranean and Indian climates allow for open-toed shoes.
While cultures in colder climates may have work sandals to some extent, they needed another shoe option that offered better insulation and protection from extreme weather. Most of the time, this came in the form of some sort of boot.
A Victorian Resurgence
Centuries later in Victorian England, a writer named Edward Carpenter became fascinated with sandals. A friend from India gave him a few pairs, and after that, he began spreading them around the country.
As a socialist writer who also happened to be queer, sandals represented liberation and freedom to Carpenter. He loved them so much that after his death, people began calling him the Saint in Sandals.
Over the next century, sandals evolved into what they are today: a simple and comfortable pair of shoes.
For women sandals became popular in the 1920s as the perfect form of beach footwear, while the 1930s saw the evolution of sandals with heels. These were great for dancing, and celebrities everywhere began to don them.
As anyone alive today knows, modern sandals exist in a variety of different forms. Aside from the traditional sandal, people can now choose to wear flip-flops, “Jesus sandals”, and elegant sandals adorned with jewels or other decorative elements.
Understand the Long History of Shoes, Starting With the Sandal
The history of shoes is as old as the human race, and much of it began with the sandal. As this guide explains, the origins of the sandal are hard to pinpoint, as they come from everywhere. Regardless, thousands of years later, sandals continue to be popular to this day.
Do you now have a better understanding of the history of sandal shoes? If you do, make sure to check out some of our other posts for more informative guides and tips.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.