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Ancient Greek Sandal Construction


  • History of Sandals

    The word ‘sandal’ is derived from the Greek word ‘sandalon’. In the Mycenaean Linear b is found the word ‘pe-di-ra’ whic is related to the greek ‘πέδιλα’ — sandals. For this see reference. This word is from Indo-European ‘2. pē̆d-, pō̆d-‘, ‘foot’ and ‘2. er-, eri-‘, ‘goat, sheep’. This is the word used by Homer in both the Illiad and the Odyssey that is translated as ‘sandals’. the Greek word ‘sandalon’ is believed to be a loan word from Lydia but there is very little substantiation for this. It has been stated that sandalon are shoes of a god by the same name. The word ‘σάνδαλα’ is used in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes to describe sandals made by Hermes (invented) as follows:

    “…he wove sandals with wicker-work by the sand of the sea, [80] wonderful things, unthought of, unimagined; for he mixed together tamarisk and myrtle-twigs, fastening together an armful of their fresh, young wood, and tied them, leaves and all securely under his feet as light sandals.” line 79

    Sandals of Japan (WARAJI, ZOORI) are woven of straw or rush. Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Bolivians also made sandals woven of reed or wood. The oldest sandals found were of the woven kind found at Fort Rock Cave in Oregon.

    Other words used in ancient Greece that are also translated as sandals include:

    • arbule (ἀρβύλη) — a strong shoe coming up to the ankle, helf-boot, used by country people, hunters, travelers. Aeschylus, Agamemnon 944
    • cothornus(κόθορνος)was a high heeled boot or buskin used to make the actor taller or to swagger like a woman.
    • chrusesandalos (χρυσεοσάνδαλος) — with sandals of gold, Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis line 1043 (Sandals worn by the Muses).
    • periparides (περιβαρίδες) — women’s shoes from Indo-European ‘2a. per-‘, ‘to pass over/beyond’ and ‘baitā, or paitā?’, ‘goatskin; cloak, mantle’ and ‘1. u̯ebh-‘, ‘to plait, weave, waver, move back and forth’. The suggestion is the the shoes are formed of goatskin that is bound around the foot. Aristophanes, Lysistrata, line 45.
    • sandaliskon (σανδαλίσκον) — Aristophanes, Frogs, 406
    • upodema (ὑπόδημα) — sandals (sole bound under the foot with straps). Aristophanes, Plutus, line 1012, Herodotus, The Histories, 1.195.


  • Make Your Own Sandals

    An attempt was made to construct a pair of sandals used by the ancient Greeks. The only leather that I could find were some scraps at the craft store. This leather was a heavy suede, but this did not turn out to be a problem. I did have to use 4 pieces of leather for each sole to make it thick enough. A single piece of shoe leather would work for the sole. In the case of shoe leather you could use shoe nails for fasteners, instead of the lacing that I used.

    First I traced the outline of my foot on a piece of leather, then I used this pattern to cut out 8 soles. Tracing

    The tools I used. Tools. Ancient Greeks would not have had the fancy scissors I used; they would have used a sharp knife. The punches are not necessary; The awl is all that is required, but the punches make threading easier.

    I also cut out 4 heels and two heel supports. Material

    It is not clear what fasteners were used by the ancient Greeks, but lacing was certainly a possibility. I used leather lacing. A heavy thread could also have been used. Shoe nails and staples were also a possibility. I punched holes in all four layers, using the top layer as a pattern. lacing

    As I laced the edge I wrapped in a lace that left loops on the edge. I also laced up the heels and heel supports. Finally, I provided a long lace cris-crossed so I could tie the sandals with a single bow. Final

    The final result would wear out fairly quickly compared to what is available today, but they are serviceable and comfortable. Front Rear

  • Resources

Ancient Greek Sandals

Questions and Answers

Question: fabrics

Answer: The is no indication that fabrics were used in sandals. But ancient Greek fabrics were special. They inspired the draperies which the artists illustrated. But there is some question about whether what we see is an artist’s convention or a realistic illustration.

Question: where in europe can greek sandals be bought

Answer: I can only provide information on how you can make them youself.

Question: I am in search of the sandals worn by Hercules.Where can i find them?

Answer: Hercules could have worn ones similar to the above.

Question: What is a reebok?

Answer: Reebok is a brand of sport shoe made today.

Question: Did Ancient Egypt invent the sandals, first?

Answer: Probably not as “9,000 years ago: A Desert culture found in a cave of western desert of North America (plant foods, woven sandals and baskets).”

Question: Where did they originate

Answer: I have no information on this.

Question: I am in a greek play called Persephone, and I was wondering how I could make Male ancient Greek sandals out of beach”flip-flops”?

Answer: All you need to do is remove the top and use only the sole. A long string is fastened to the sole in several places. A hole could be cut in the sole or the string could be fastened with large staples. Fasten the string so it cris-crosses the foot to hold it on.

Question: Would the string that goes between the toes irritate the skin in that area, similar to thong flip flops?

Answer: The sandals that I made have no string between the toes. If you have sandals with such a string it will bother you until you get a callus there. The shape of your foot is also important. Such a string bothers me.

Question: what colours did sandles come in?

Answer: If material was dyed, leather could be also, but I have no direct reference to this.

Question: prostitute shoes

Answer: I know of no special shoes for prostitutes. Buskins do have a sexual connotation. This is especially provided by the height of the heels. The same effect is provided by high heels in women.

Question: Do you know about painting representations of people on the sole of one’s sandal and why the Greeks did this?

Answer: I know nothing about this.