There’s something evocative about sandals. The footwear of sultry months, it’s reminiscent of rock pools and sandy beaches, painted toenails and dads in socks. Flamboyant or minimal, strappy or clunky, it’s the easiest thing to slip into when the temperatures begin to creep up.
The sandal is one of the oldest forms of footwear too—the most ancient known examples, found in Fort Rock Cave in Oregon and woven from sagebrush bark, dating back more than 10,000 years. It’s an item with a truly global span though, its origins apparent in everything from Roman caligae(stiff leather sandal boots) to Japanese geta (a sometimes raised wooden board with a cloth thong, often worn with tabi socks) to Indian paduka(comprised of a wooden sole with a metal stub). The word sandal itself has Greek and potentially Persian roots—think of Hermes, the swift messenger of Greek mythology, with his talaria (winged sandals) zooming him on his mischievous way. Other historic examples include sandals made out of materials ranging from cork to tatami to twigs.