History of Fashion – The Sandals

Sandals found in the tomb of Tutankhamun

The oldest sandals ever found were woven from sage bark and discovered in the US, in the state of Oregon with the time of origin being estimated to over 10,000 years. However, the history of sandals can be traced back in time to over 30,000 years by looking at crude cave painting and sculptures which show figures of human beings portrayed with footwear, which was usually made out of animal skin or fur.

A mummy which was found in ice in the Austrian Alps and dated back over 5,000 years was found wearing crude shoes made from leather and hide, and stuffed with straw and moss.

Ancient Greeks and Egyptians are the first to be seen donning footwear not just for practical reasons but also for aesthetic purposes. Thus, it is no wonder that the word, ‘sandal’ is a diminutive of the Greek word, ‘sandalon’, which means ‘wooden shoe. However, while the Greeks wore the more traditional, sandals, the Egyptians came up with a design to cover the wearer’s toes for greater safety. The materials used by the Egyptians were usually palm-leaves or papyrus.

In ancient times, different types of sandals were developed around the world  but for a variety of reasons. Ancient moccasins were developed to be able to tread quietly through the forest, insulated boots were used for treks in the snow and sturdy clogs were used in damp areas.