Shoes of the ancient world- Sandals



History of shoes

These days wherever we go, we hardly see anyone without a shoe or some kind of footwear. Almost everyone these days owns at least a pair of shoe. It is hard to believe that just a few decades ago, at least in India, owning a shoe was something of a luxury. These days’ kids have a huge variety of shoes, but in our parent’s time, a kid only had one pair of shoe. This was the school shoe, which used to double up as a sports shoe and also as a formal shoe, which was worn for birthday parties and marriages. It is only in the last 50 years or so, that shoes have started come out in such a huge variety.


The oldest surviving shoes which are known to man are around 10,000 years old. These shoes were made up of ropes, and were found in Oregon in United States. The oldest pair of leather shoes was found in Armenia in a cave. These shoes are said to be about 5,000 years old and are made up of cowhide. This shoe was a simple shoe, which was made up of a single piece and then stitched together.


In the ancient times footwear wasn’t considered that important. Most of the ancient men and women tread the earth barefoot. It was much later that footwear `was given importance. The footwear was meant only for the elite and the rich. The common man was either barefoot or had some makeshift shoe, but he never used to wear a proper one. Here we are going to talk about a few ancient shoes.


<strong>Sandals</strong>: Some of the earliest known footwear which we can still associate to were sandals. They were also some of the most common types of footwear. They were simple in their design.  It was basically a sole consisting of straps to hold the foot. They were made of leather, straw, rope and even metal.


The Japanese wore geta, which was a wood soled sandal, and it was worn with socks. It was more like an elevated platform, sort of like the modern flip-flops. The elevated platform kept the foot away from the dampness and mud.


Although, most of the ancient Egyptians preferred barefoot, sandals were still worn by those who were rich and the elite. Right and left shoes were manufactured much later, but one look at the ancient Egyptians, you will be surprised that they were the first people to manufacture shoes for both the feet. i.e. left and right. It was only with the advent of the Christian Roman Empire that the sandals were discontinued or lost their popularity as they were deemed immodest by the religious leaders of that time.


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