Summer Sandals – Better than Barefoot!Posted by Whole Earth | 06.11.2018
One of the welcome signs of the return of warm weather is watching sandals slowly replacing boots and other cold weather shoes out on the street or on the trail. There are a few die-hards here who wear sandals practically all year long. (We are in Texas after all.) But for most of us, sandals come out of the closet when temperatures become balmy. Feeling fresh air on our feet is blissful after months of confinement in closed-toe shoes.
At Whole Earth you’ll find sandals for all sorts of activities and occasions like strolling on the boardwalk, wading in mountain streams, and dressing up for backyard parties. We loosely categorize our sandals as flips, sports or casual for men, women and kids.
The simplest sandals are among the most venerable – flip flops or thong sandals have been around at least since the days of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt. The classic thong consists of a flat sole and a Y shaped strap. The flip came to the US from Japan after World War II and has continued to grow in popularity. The original flip flops were made with foam rubber soles and rubber straps. Made of inexpensive materials, they quickly wore out.
Today’s flips are far studier and use a variety of materials for soles and straps. Outsole and midsole materials include rubber, EVA, a material which offers rubberlike softness and flexibility, and even “upcycled” tires. Some midsoles include structured arch support; and the footbed, where your foot meets the flip, can be made of leather or cushiony materials, like recycled yoga mats. Flips may also have specially crafted soles for added grip on wet surfaces. Straps can be made of leather, nylon or polyester webbing, and rubber. Leather flips should be kept out of water, but most flips are made to get wet and will dry quickly.
Sport sandals are a fairly recent invention. The basic flip flop was used in water sports but had an unfortunate tendency to come off and escape downriver. The fix was to create a water shoe with thick soles and extra strapping that would keep the sandal firmly on the foot. The thick sole protected against unseen sharp rocks and broken glass in the water and gave extra stability when clambering over slick rock. Hikers liked what they saw, and water sandals were soon redesigned for the trail. The thick soles protected feet from rough terrain while allowing the feet to breathe, quite a change from hiking boots. And lastly, the closed-toe sandal was designed for added protection for toes both in the water and on the trail. Not all closed-toe sandals are made for use in the water so check the specs to be sure.
If you’re looking for sandals that are comfortable and look good, Whole Earth has you covered. We’ve been carrying classic sandals, like Birkenstock, for over 40 years, and we’re always on the lookout for new brands that offer quality, comfort and style for our customers. Our summer sandals include dressy flips, wedges, sandals with ankle straps, slipons and more. Need some new sandals? Stop by one of stores or visit our Whole Earth website for a selection of our favorite sandals for Summer 2018.