A Consumer History of Mens Sandals

Mickey | Shopping | Saturday, December 25th, 2010

It is sometimes said, all roads lead to Rome. Well, if you were to travel those roads in the time of the Roman Empire, you would never find a citizen barefoot. While we may not know when mens sandals were invented, we do know Romans wore sandals. Artifacts have been found proving their use in Roman history. For example, when Romes empire extended to present day Britain, citizens and soldiers used sandals. Many of these sandals have been found in recent years.

Romans used many styles of sandals. The style was adapted for specific duties and purposes. The soldiers used a specific style. Gladiators used a specific style. And the citizen used a specific style. For the purpose of this article, the Roman and gladiator style refers to the same thing.

Soldiers in Britannica were known for their Caligae style. Pronounced, cal eeg, this sandal was made from a single piece of leather that was cut and wrapped around the foot. Extra layers of leather were added for support and bound by iron hobnails. Recent artifact finds suggest these sandals were often stuffed with sheeps wool for extra warmth and support.

For the citizens of high status, such as Patricians, the style of sandals was marked by dye. Red dyed shoes represented positions of power. Slaves and laborers in the Empire used only the simplest material, without the use of dye.

The gladiator sandal was built for use in the arena. Gladiator arenas were covered in a layer of sand to soak up blood. To provide support in the stand, the style of sandal used by the gladiator was of thick, durable leather. The leather usually came from deer or cattle. A weaker leather was used to bind the soul to the foot, and it was wrapped in a cylindrical fashion up the ankle and lower leg.

So, for mens sandals, the Romans became expert craftsmen. The built many sandals for many purposes. There is no evidence of gladiator or roman sandals ever requiring the use of socks. Beyond the wool used for extra support, sandals were worn bare against the skin. It can thus be assumed the sandals were comfortable without socks. And for anyone in the sandal market, comfort is an important selling point.

The reason sandals were so ubiquitous in Roman times was a result of the warm climate. Gladiator sandals are an excellent example of how Romans were ergonomists, bringing comfort and practicality into their craft.

Today one can find gladiator sandals fashioned after the original Roman models. A simple Internet search will yield a various number of mens sandals for purchase. There are even a few kits that can be purchased for anyone wanting to build their own gladiator sandal. There are currently more womens models than mens models for gladiator sandals. As demand grows, the options will surely increase.

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