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History of Sandals
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.
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 SandalsClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 SandalsClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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.
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).