The Simple Things - - FRESH | JUNE NATURE - Words: CLARE GOGERTY

Sum­mer hasn’t re­ally ar­rived un­til you’ve worn your san­dals for at least three days in a row. Those odd days when you op­ti­misti­cally whip them out only to have re­gret­tably chilly toes by evening don’t count. The con­stant wear­ing of san­dals is a surer in­di­ca­tor of sum­mer than the ar­rival of the first swal­low.

Like autumn boots and win­ter coats, san­dals are a key sea­sonal item. As such, they ben­e­fit from a re­fresh each year: slip­ping freshly pedi­cured feet into a brand new pair will put a bounce in any­body’s step. (Pro­vid­ing they don’t rub, of course.) As with any other item of cloth­ing, how­ever, san­dals are sub­ject to the va­garies of fash­ion. We’ve all padded around in Birken­stocks and clopped about in wooden-soled Has­beens. And which one of us hasn’t got a pair of glad­i­a­tors, all leather straps and buck­les, tucked away at the back of the wardrobe? Salt-water san­dals, orig­i­nally de­vel­oped for post-war Amer­i­can chil­dren in the 1940s from leather scraps, have been the san­dal de

choix for the past cou­ple of years, and show no sign of dis­ap­pear­ing. Nei­ther, un­for­tu­nately, do Crocs.

The pop­u­lar­ity of flat san­dals ( high-

“Sum­mer hasn’t re­ally ar­rived un­til you’ve worn san­dals three days in a row”

heeled ver­sions are also avail­able, but do not con­cern us here) is due to the sim­ple fact that they suit hot weather. By leav­ing most of the foot ex­posed, they keep it cool and dry. Feet con­fined by leather and with­out ven­ti­la­tion run the risk of Ath­lete’s Foot or sim­ply be­com­ing un­bear­ably hot. Which is why san­dals have al­ways been with us – a pair dis­cov­ered in Ore­gon, Amer­ica, were es­ti­mated to be 10,000 years old, the ear­li­est recorded footwear. It is why they were ap­pre­ci­ated by An­cient Greeks of high rank who fash­ioned san­dals from wil­low leaves that fas­tened up the leg, and by the An­cient Egyp­tians whose se­cured theirs with palm leaves and papyrus.

The only down­side to wear­ing a pair of san­dals is the state of the feet within. There is nowhere to hide cal­loused or grubby feet, and wear­ing socks with san­dals although fash­ion­able, is still best avoided. For­tu­nately, a cheery nail pol­ish com­bined with a stylish san­dal will dis­tract most eyes away from any foot flaws. Noth­ing should come between you and sum­mer’s es­sen­tial shoe.

San­dals: so much com­fier than sit­ting bare-legged on a haystack

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