Sandals are an open type of footwear, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by straps or thongs passing over the instep and around the ankle. While the distinction between sandals and other types of footwear can sometimes be blurry (as in the case of huaraches—the woven leather footwear seen in Mexico), the common understanding is that a sandal reveals most or all of the foot (especially the toes) to view. People may choose to wear sandals for several reasons, among them economy (sandals tend to require less material than shoes), comfort in warm weather, and for reasons of fashion and attractiveness.
Usually, sandals are worn in warmer climates or during warmer parts of the year, because feet stay cool and dry. The chances of getting a fungal infection (athlete's foot) is lower than with enclosed shoes, and wearing sandals may be part of treatment for a fungal foot infection. Wearing sandals with socks is considered by many to be a faux pas.
The ancient Greeks distinguished between baxeae (sing. baxa), a sandal made of willow leaves, twigs, or fibres worn by comic actors and philosophers; and the cothurnus, a boot sandal that rose above the middle of the leg, worn principally by tragic actors, homosexuals, horsemen, hunters, and by men of rank and authority. The sole of the latter was sometimes made much thicker than usual by the insertion of slices of cork, so as to add to the stature of the wearer.
The ancient Egyptians wore sandals made of palm-leaves and papyrus. They are sometimes observable on the feet of Egyptian statues. According to Herodotus, sandals of papyrus were a part of the required and characteristic dress of the Egyptian priests.
Among the many kinds of sandals are:
A sandal may have a sole made from rope (espadrilles), rubber, leather, wood (clogs or geta) or tatami (as in zōri). It may be held to the foot by a narrow thong passing between the first and second toe, or by a strap or lace, variously called a latchet, sabot strap or sandal, that passes over the arch of the foot or around the ankle. Sandaling material may be woven in elastic strips. A sandal may or may not have a heel strap. It may have no heel, a high heel, or anything in between.
It is said that the New Zealand expression "jandals" for rubber sandals often used at the beach and called "thongs" comes from the expression "Japanese sandals." This is derived from the shape of jandals being similar to the Japanese zōri, basically a rubber sole piece held on to the foot by two cloth thongs extending from the inner and outer side of the foot to the gap between the big toe and the second toe. This construction for footwear used to be the norm in Japan before westernization of clothing, with geta (wooden sole raised with one or two horizontal wooden pieces and attached to the foot with cloth thongs), and waraji (sole woven from straw with straw or cloth thongs, and sometimes extra ties over the foot and around the leg, often used for traveling).
In the Mediterranean there are another kind of sandals, "albarcas" or "avarques" or "menorquinas" . It's a traditional footwear worn by farms workers.
Barefoot sandals originated in South Asia and are popularly worn at beach weddings and various religious festivites and events. They typically include an anklet and a toe ring connected together across the front of the foot with beads such as crystals and pearls.
Barefoot sandals are Western colloquialism for Indian jewellery worn primarily as jewellery rather than as footwear. The design implies that the wearer appears to be shod, but the soles of the feet remain bare. They are sometimes worn by barefooters in order to circumvent "No shoes, no service" policies.