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History of Sandals

Updated on April 15, 2017
Sponge Sandal with Batik motif from Indonesia
Sponge Sandal with Batik motif from Indonesia

Living in a tropical country makes me more prefer wearing sandals. It's more comfortable, light, and cool. I used to wear stylish sandals for outdoor activities and rubber sandals when I'm home. Most tropical people only wear shoes for formal activities, like in the offices, schools, churches, parties and for sport activities.

Sandal is a piece of footwear that reveals most of the foot, like toes and ankle. Sandal itself has a long history.

Sagebrush Bark Sandal from Fort Rock Cave
Sagebrush Bark Sandal from Fort Rock Cave | Source

The Oldest Sandal

The oldest one was found by Luther Cressman an archeologist at For Rock Cave, Oregon in 1938. Those ancient sandals were made from sagebrush bark and aged around 9,300 to 10,500 years.

The sagebrush bark sandals were quite similar with Waraji sandals from Japan. They were twined and have a flat, close twined sole. It's amazing to see that this ancient sandal become popular now, specially in my town, there is a craft shop that sells and teaches how to make this kind of sandal.

Greek Sandals

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Gladiator SandalsAncient Greek SandalsCothurnus Sandal
Gladiator Sandals
Gladiator Sandals | Source
Ancient Greek Sandals
Ancient Greek Sandals | Source
Cothurnus Sandal
Cothurnus Sandal

Ancient Greek Sandal

We can not talk about sandal without mention the Greek Sandals. They had many fashionable sandals. Though the Ancient Greek did not invent the styles, but they had created many types of leather sandals and introducing a wide variety of footwear styles for men and women.

Ancient Greek Sandal were made of stiff leather with wooden sole with leather straps attached to them. Most of ancient Greeks simply went barefoot, only wealthy citizens and soldiers wore sandals.
Around 3000 - 1100 B.CE, the Cretan men wore high heeled leather boots made from light colored leather and thick soles. Ancient Greece was the most advanced economy in the world at that time, so, they made the style as major feature, and sandals making had attained a high level of live standard.

There were two types of ancient Sandals. One was made from animal materials like leather, the other was made from plants.
The plant sandals were called baxa or baxea. They made from papyrus, willow leaves, twigs, or tree bark. Baxea were used to wear by priests or philosophers.

Other sandals were called Cothurnus, sandal that had lacings that rose above the middle of the leg. The higher the lacings, the more elevated the social position of the wearer. Cothurnus were used to wear by hunters, horsemen, tragic actors, and men with rank and authority.

Ancient Egypt Sandals

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Ancient Egypt Sandal

Egypt sandals were most commonly used straw and reeds as the materials. The oldest Egyptian sandal maker had been identified by archeaologists in many different tombs. They were lived under the rulling of King Menes, the Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt around 3100 BC. Highborn Egyptian women often decorated their sandals with precious stones. But most of Egyptians at that time were going barefoot everywhere.

Sandals were used among the nobles, pharaohs, officials, kings, and queens. Egypt sandals had a very simple construction. They were made out of goat's skin and sometime extracted the fibers from papyrus plant and used it as the sandal's base.
The Egyptian sandal was held next to the foot by three ties or thongs. The main thong passed between the big and second toe and joined the other straps on the instep to form a stirrup and tied behind the heel. The sole was usually flat.

Indonesian Sandal

Nowadays, we know many kind of sandals. There are also Indonesian old-fashioned sandals made from wood, called teklek or kelom geulis. Kelom is from Dutch word, kelompen (sandal) and geulis is from Sundanese language, means beautiful or pretty.

Kelom Geulis are made from Mahogany wood or Albasiah wood. The kelom geulis decoration are commonly hand-made carved with flower motif. Now, we have kelom with air-brush decoration and also with batik's decoration, called Kelom Batik.

Sandals Today

We have many kinds of sandals : Hiking sandals, flip flops, exercise sandals, and fashion sandals. They are designed to provide different activities.

Japanese people also have many traditional and unique sandals like :
1. Waraji, is a sandal made from woven straw rope/ rode rice. It used to be a standar footwear in Japan, now Waraji only used by the Buddhist monks. Usually used as well as hiking or for a long distance travel for religious celebration.

2. Jika Tabi, shaped like boots, only the tip split in two. To separate the thumb and other toes. It usually wore by the construction workers, farmers, and gardeners. Jika tabi means "Sock that has a direct contact with the ground."

3. Geta, is a wooden sandal like Indonesian teklek and usually made from Kiri wood or paulownia. Japanese people used to wear geta with Yukata or Summer kimono/short kimono and sometime are wore during snowy or rainy day. Man's geta is usually square-shaped while woman's has oval-shaped.

4. Okobo, is similar with geta, but higher. Usually is worn by the Maiko or apprentice geisha. The heels are higher in order to protect the kimono. Japanese traditional brides also wear the Okobo.

5. Zouri, it's a Japanese ' flip-flops. The shape is slighty tilted right and higher in the back part. Japanese people used zouri for formal ceremony. The women usually wear the red zouri with tabi (socks).

Japanese Sandals

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Waraji SandalsJika TabiGetaOkoboZouri
Waraji Sandals
Waraji Sandals | Source
Jika Tabi
Jika Tabi | Source
Geta | Source
Okobo | Source
Zouri | Source


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      visit our site for getting high heels in each style and in each trend.,,!!

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      8 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      I enjoyed your history of sandals hub especially after my recent visit to Mesa Verde National Park where Anasazi sites have been preserved as well as their many yucca fiber sandals.

    • NP.QUEEN profile image


      8 years ago from Dubai

      I never think about the history of sandals. Nice illustration about different types of sandals. Very informative article.Thanks for sharing.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      febriedethan, Very intersting hub! This is very educational and contains an informative history on the progression of sandals!

      Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • Vitamin Monkey profile image

      Vitamin Monkey 

      9 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      wow never thought there was so much to sandals! i love that top pair! so artistic. it's like they're not even shoes at all

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      Great hub on sandals- makes me think of sunny holidays and beaches with soft sand. Well done- nice illustrations and history.

    • febriedethan profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Hi Hanski, sorry for the late reply. I'm busy with my 49 days haha..

      Indonesia has many gorgeous sandals, one day if you visit Bandung my town, you'll see :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      hi febrie! how are you?

      i like this topic about sandals. we filipinos also love to wear it. when i was in tokyo, i bought one at a mall in ginza. but the make of the sandals is indonesian in style..

    • febriedethan profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Hi Crystolite, yes, sandals are cooler for us who live in tropical country. Thank you for commenting.

    • crystolite profile image


      9 years ago from Houston TX

      Hi ,am in agreement with you that sandals can be cooler than cool on the foot.You really have a fascinating pictures of classical sandals for people of styles.

    • febriedethan profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Hi travel_man, how're you doing? I love the Philippines abaca, they are similar with our sandals. I searched for abaca and I love the colors. Thank you for sharing, have a great day!

      @ Princessa, Thank you! and if you browse about Indonesian sandals, you will find many kind of artistic sandals.

      @ Nan Mynatt, yes we are. But, if the sun becomes to hot, sometime our sandals are torturing us :)

      Hi Becky! how're you?

      You're right, the Candies sandals are similar with ours. They're all pretty.

      Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

      Hello agus! of course, rubber sandals rule! haha..

      Actually, I believe that sandals had been created from the very first man live on earth. Just imagine walking around barefoot. Thank you for visiting!

      @ TheListLady, those sponge sandals are everywhere in my country, with many different styles.

      Thank you for commenting, and have a great day!

    • TheListLady profile image


      9 years ago from New York City

      Oh this is wonderful. I love those sponge sandals and the sagebrush. What a very clever well done hub. I live for summer when I can wear sandals.

      Rated way up!

    • agusfanani profile image


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      I can't live without sandals and now I know the history of them, wow it's an enriching hub. Thank you Febri.

    • BkCreative profile image


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Fabulous hub about a favorite topic - sandals. I live in New York City where most of the year we have to cover our feet - but come summer and then it's flip-flops or other sandals and ah! life is good. I love having my feet free and getting sun and air.

      Those Indonesian sandals - we used to have something similar - a brand called Candies - I had many pairs - they were actually quite comfortable.

      Thanks for those amazing photos and the history and so much more. Brilliant and rated up of course. Yay!

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      The sandals are beautiful and look comfortable of course. Nice to live in a climate that lets you wear comfortable shoes!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Fascinating, and those high heeled Indonesian Sandals are just so lovely!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      9 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Cool hub on sandals. We have this abaca (manila hemp) sandals in the Philippines and its a very good summer footwear.


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