The History of Leather Sandals Part 1: Ancient Times

Sandals are the most commonly used footwear throughout the world and these are one of the oldest traditions. According to the Archaeological study, the culture of wearing leather sandals started before 8000 years in Anasazi culture which is common in American Southwest. Today the leather sandals price varies from few cents to hundreds of thousand dollars. These leather sandals are not only made of leather but also have composition of stone, metal, straw and wood components. Now sandals are adopted by every culture according to their geography. The woven and plaited leather sandals have flexible protective sole commonly designed with a V-shaped strap called a sandal thong.

Leather sandals as well as other common sandals are mostly used by those people where the climate is hot and has many variations in the form of rocky landscapes and searing sands where thorny plants and poisonous insects are in abundance and thus these leather sandals are the most favorite footwear for them as it is durable as well as good enough to prevent any kind of injury. In Ancient Egypt, sandals were the footwear of only important personages. Egyptians sandals were made not only of leather but also of wood and papyrus. Sandals were common with ancient Romans and Greeks too. But with rise of Christianity, the fashion of sandals fell as the church leaders didn’t approve of it for women as it showed the bare foot. Now history of leather sandals has changed to great extent showing the composition varies from region to region. But the things that are common everywhere from last 20-30 years include the material used like rubber along with some indigenous materials. In the Asian Sub-continent, the marketplace of sandals is based on water buffalo hide. The sandals made of wood and metal are called Paduka. The wooden-tilted sandals are common in Afghanistan, Turkey and Syria.

The turned up toe sandals were common since 3000 BCE and these were worn by the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. Bending back toes leather sandals were made so as to assist in walking. There were also elevated sandals that were crafted with jewelry and these were made for fashion purposes. The leather used in this form was either fabric or soft to make it more feasible to wear for longer time. The fashion of these footwear received a surge from the seafaring Phoenicians who spread it throughout the known world. The leather sandals were an indication of the culture among the ancient Greeks especially for the females. Greek courtesans would wear soft leather sandals which were zed yellow, lemon, green or white. Young brides would wear leather sandals that were dyed only white. The make up of Egyptian sandals were totally different from the Greeks with the thickness and thinness. The outsole of the Egyptian sandals was thicker while the insole was soft and thinner.