Summer is the time of year when boots and shoes often take a bow to the age-old sandal.. This fashionable piece of footwear has been with us practically since humans could walk, with evidence pointing to them being the first shoes ever created.
From America to Athens
Earliest traces of sandals have been found as far back as 8,000 to 10,000 years in the American Southwest, with many believing the Native Americans were the first to utilize this sparse apparel. They were woven, with V-shaped straps designed to protect the feet from the harsh desert climates. However, there is also evidence that similar sandals were developed around the same time in Oregon.
Their simplistic and easy to make design might be the reason they were being developed all over the globe. Ancient Egyptians were also fans of the sandal will tombs dating back 5,000 years bearing the feet of pharaohs who preferred to be buried in them. Strangely, the sandals were even seen as incredibly casual back then with most people refusing to wear them indoors.
Of course, the Greeks and Romans are famous for having worn sandals during their daily lives and even into battle. The Greeks catalogued the different styles of sandals popular back in the day and that’s how we have a thorough historical record their uses. Rome’s major contribution to the sandal is the name itself, which is derived from the Latin word “sandalium.”
The famed sandal of the Roman soldiers was called the caliga. It was made of thick leather and hobnail studded soles to help protect against rough terrain and provide support over long distances.
The Fall of the Roman Sandal
After Rome’s heyday the Christian Roman Empire took over and the construction of finely designed sandals declined. Eventually, the Church declared bare toes to be immodest and banned sandals in most areas altogether. They disappeared for roughly 1,300 years.
Though the sandal originally became popular among men in Roman circles, it popped back up in 1850s Europe as part of women’s everyday style instead of men’s. It wasn’t until the 1950s that European men once again began including sandals into their style, but North Americans held out for fear of looking to effeminate.
They finally came around in the 1960s thanks to the hippie invasion.
Today’s Sandal for the Refined Man
Today, sandals come in a variety of shapes and material with many designed with luxury in mind. Forget about the v-strap flip flops you see at the beach—we’re talking high-dollar leather sandals that envelop your feet in a soft cushion that provides balance, comfort and sophistication all in one.
Leather is a popular choice among today’s gentleman, like with this premium footpad with breathable, stretch mesh linings to help keep you cool without leaving a permanent indent between your toes.
A deerskin sandal is also a great choice for today’s man, with interweaving straps that cover the top of your feet while letting your toes stretch in the sun. They go well with a nice pair of chinos or even slacks. The sole of the sandals is made of calfskin and memory foam that remembers and adjusts to the shape of your feet. You can wear these puppies to a barbeque or a casual day at the office and feel like you’re wearing shoes.
When choosing a sandal, make sure you choose style and durability that’ll keep you and your toes happy for years to come.