According to Cosgrove (2000), the arrangement of the sandal straps, worn in Ancient Greece (700-480 B.C.), varied but usually consisted of a broad band across the front of the foot, and a thong between the toes. The thong was sown to the sole about one to two inches from the end. This was pulled through between the first and second toes and sometimes between the second and third toes to meet with four other laces anchored to the sole. The complete intertwined system finished above the ankle. Sandals were worn by both sexes and fastened in varied ways.
Straps were both light and elegant, leaving the foot almost bare. Some were purple with piped edges attached to clasps elongated by short cords of plaited leather. Others were simpler, with a fan like spread of straps passing through the toes. The colour of sandals varied and were either worn in the natural colour of leather or dyed red, white, vermillion, scarlet, saffron, green, or black (Yue and Yue, 1997). Female footwear was usually adorned with embroidery, gilt and pearls but commoners wore wooden sandals (Yue and Yue, 1997). Simple sandals made of wood, felt or linen were worn by countrymen, priests and philosophers and these were called phaecasium.
Phaecasium style boots were usually worn during sacrificial ceremonies. These were neat fitting and made from white leather which laced part way down the front and often heavily embroidered.
Priests also wore phaikas which was a sandal ornamented with animal figures.
Slaves or maidens carried a sandalthique for their wealthy mistress which was a carpetbag containing various pairs of sandals (Rossi, 2000; and Yue and Yue 1997).
The Talaria was a mythical winged sandal worn by the Greek god Hermes (Mercury in Roman mythology). The significance of the wing has often been taken to symbolise flight however an alternative interpretation is these represent the Holy Heel and ancient mark of a divine person.
Cosgrove B (2000)Costume & Fashion: A complete history Hamlyn: London.
Lister M 1987 Costume: An illustrated survey from ancient times to the 20th century Boston: Plays Inc.
Rossi W 2000 The complete footwear dictionary (2nd edition) Kreiger Publishing Co: Florida.
Yue C and Yue D 1997 Shoes:Their history in words and pictures Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston.