Are Sandals Considered Shoes?

Are Sandals Considered Shoes
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Have you ever stopped to wonder what the difference is between shoes and sandals? In fact, is there even a difference between them to start with, or are they pretty much one and the same thing?

There are a few points to take into account in order to understand this subject more fully.

Let’s take a look at what this question is all about and then see whether there is a clear answer to it.

What Are Sandals

What Are Sandals?

To find out the answer to this intriguing question, it makes sense to, first of all, consider what a sandal really is. You have probably seen lots of different models of sandal over the years, from flip flops for the beach to hiking sandals and glamorous evening footwear. Can we even use a fixed definition to explain what a sandal is?

In fact, some of the oldest types of human footwear to ever be found are sandals. The sandals found in the Fork Rock Cave in Oregon, US were dated back to around 8000 BCE, making them the oldest pieces of footwear that have been discovered to date.

They were worn by different cultures all over the ancient world and remain highly popular in modern times. So, what is it that they all have in common that means we use this name?

A sandal is typically an open, light type of footwear. There will normally be straps that are attached to the sole and then go up and over the foot, covering part of the wearer’s foot. However, it is normal for some or most of the foot to be left uncovered when wearing a sandal.

The amount of skin that is left uncovered varies greatly. Flip flops may just have thin straps covering a tiny part of the foot. Other models use thicker straps that cover virtually all of the skin. However, if the foot is fully covered then it isn’t a sandal.

Why have sandals been so popular in so many cultures all over the planet throughout human history?  There are a number of benefits to be found in wearing sandals that help to explain this popularity. For a start, they allow the wearer’s feet to remain cool and fresh even in warm weather.

They are also usually easy to slip on and off as necessary. This is a highly versatile type of footwear that can be incredibly useful outdoors over different kinds of terrain. Yet, they are also comfortable enough to wear indoors for long periods.

What Are Shoes?

Having seen what sandals are, we can now compare this to the definition of shoes. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that this is a type of footwear that has been designed to protect the wearer’s feet and provide comfort. Can we define them in any more detail than this, though?

As we saw earlier, many of the earliest types of shoes worn by humans were actually sandals, probably due to the fact that they are relatively easy to make using diverse materials and are suitable for different situations.

What Are Shoes

However, these days the choice of shoes you will find online and in stores is massive. Since the shoes we choose say a great deal about our style and personality, there are models around to suit every kind of taste. We no longer have to choose models for purely practical reasons.

Crucially, all shoes must have a sole, as this is the important element that protects the wearer’s feet from the hazards below. If it doesn’t have a sole it isn’t a shoe. It also needs to have an upper section. Yet, there seems to be nothing in the definition that states how much of the foot needs to be covered.

Does It Matter?

Before reaching a final conclusion on this question, you might wonder how important it really is to work out if sandals are shoes or not. You probably think that the most important thing is that you feel comfortable wearing them, right?

To some people this is an important point but to others it doesn’t really matter. It ultimately comes down to your personal opinion and whether you are intrigued by this question or not. Either way, it shouldn’t affect the models of sandal that you prefer to wear.


Are sandals considered shoes? Having looked at the facts so far, it seems clear that a sandal is a type of shoe. Indeed, it is a highly versatile kind of footwear that you can wear in many different places and situations.

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