Sandal (footwear)

Sandal (footwear)

Sandals are an open type of footwear, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by straps or thongs passing over the instep and around the ankle. While the distinction between sandals and other types of footwear can sometimes be blurry (as in the case of "huaraches"—the woven leather footwear seen in Mexico), the common understanding is that a sandal reveals most or all of the foot (especially the toes) to view. People may choose to wear sandals for several reasons, among them economy (sandals tend to require less material than shoes), comfort in warm weather, and for reasons of fashion and attractiveness.

Usually, sandals are worn in warmer climates or during warmer parts of the year, because feet stay cool and dry. The chances of getting a fungal infection (athlete's foot) is lower than with enclosed shoes, and wearing sandals may be part of treatment for a fungal foot infection. Wearing sandals with socks is considered by many to be a faux pas.


The oldest known sandals (indeed, the oldest known footwear) were discovered in Fort Rock Cave in the U.S. state of Oregon; radiocarbon dating of the sagebrush bark from which they were woven indicates an age of at least 10,000 years.cite book | first = William G. | last = Robbins | title = Oregon: This Storied Land | publisher = Oregon Historical Society Press | date = 2005 | id = ISBN 0987595-286-0]

The ancient Greeks distinguished between "baxeae" (sing. "baxa"), a sandal made of willow leaves, twigs, or fibres worn by comic actors and philosophers; and the "cothurnus", a boot sandal that rose above the middle of the leg, worn principally by tragic actors, homosexuals, horsemen, hunters, and by men of rank and authority. The sole of the latter was sometimes made much thicker than usual by the insertion of slices of cork, so as to add to the stature of the wearer. [Serv. in Virg. Ed. II. cc. (cited by Yates)]

The ancient Egyptians wore sandals made of palm-leaves and papyrus. [Wilkinson, Manners and Customs vol. iii. p. 336. (cited by Yates)] They are sometimes observable on the feet of Egyptian statues. According to Herodotus, sandals of papyrus were a part of the required and characteristic dress of the Egyptian priests.


Among the many kinds of sandals are:
*caliga, a heavy-soled Roman military shoe or sandal worn by all ranks up to and including centurions
*clog, heavy, having a thick, typically wooden sole
*Capal, light, made from leather of cow or goat in Malaysia since 14th century
*geta, a traditional Japanese form of elevated thong
*patten, often with a wooden sole or metal device to elevate the foot and increase the wearer's height or aid in walking in mud
*espadrille, flat, usually having a fabric upper and a flexible sole, often of rope
*foothold, light rubber, with only a strap around the heel — called also tip
*flip-flop, rubber, loosely fastened to the foot by means of a thong between the toes -- also called thong
*Grecian sandal, consisting of a sole attached to the foot by an arrangement of interlaced straps crossing the toes and instep, and fastening around the ankle
*huarache, low-heeled, often sling-backed and having an upper made of interwoven leather thongs
*Mary Jane, low-heeled, broad-toed, of patent leather, with a single-buckle ankle strap for wear especially by young girls
*Roman sandal, on which the vamp is composed of a series of buckled straps equally spaced
* Saltwater sandals, a type of children's footwear developed in the 1940s as a way of coping with wartime leather shortages
*T-strap, having a T-shaped part formed by a strap rising from the throat over the instep and either fastening to an ankle strap or dividing at the top to form an ankle strap
*tatbeb, ancient Egyptian
*zōri, flat and thonged, usually made of straw, cloth, leather, or rubber

A sandal may have a sole made from rope (espadrilles), rubber, leather, wood (clogs or geta) or tatami (as in zōri). It may be held to the foot by a narrow thong passing between the first and second toe, or by a strap or lace, variously called a latchet, sabot strap or sandal, that passes over the arch of the foot or around the ankle. Sandaling material may be woven in elastic strips. A sandal may or may not have a heel strap. It may have no heel, a high heel, or anything in between.

Members of certain religious communities, called “barefoot orders”, wear only sandals on the feet. Sandals may also be part of pontifical attire.

It is said that the New Zealand expression "jandals" for rubber sandals often used at the beach and called "thongs" comes from the expression "Japanese sandals." This is derived from the shape of jandals being similar to the Japanese zōri, basically a rubber sole piece held on to the foot by two cloth thongs extending from the inner and outer side of the foot to the gap between the big toe and the second toe. This construction for footwear used to be the norm in Japan before westernization of clothing, with geta (wooden sole raised with one or two horizontal wooden pieces and attached to the foot with cloth thongs), and waraji (sole woven from straw with straw or cloth thongs, and sometimes extra ties over the foot and around the leg, often used for traveling).

In the Mediterranean there are another kind of sandals, "albarcas" or "avarques" or "menorquinas" . It's a traditional footwear worn by farms workers.

Barefoot sandals

Barefoot sandals originated in South Asia and are popularly worn at beach weddings and various religious festivites and events. They typically include an anklet and a toe ring connected together across the front of the foot with beads such as crystals and pearls.

Barefoot sandals are Western colloquialism for Indian jewellery worn primarily "as" jewellery rather than as footwear. The design implies that the wearer appears to be shod, but the soles of the feet remain bare. They are sometimes worn by barefooters in order to circumvent "No shoes, no service" policies. []

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Look at other dictionaries:

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