Parts of Sandals

Sandal Diagram

Parts of the Sandal

Sandal Diagram
The usual parts of the sandal.

While browsing Amazon for footwear, have you ever came across terms such as upper, sole, or heel? Chances are, you have at least encountered one of these words. We wear sandals everyday, yet the majority don’t even know their different parts. This is why today, we will dissect the sandal and discover its different parts! Don’t worry, this will not be like the Biology class you never wanted to take! We will simply review the parts of the sandal.

History of the Sandal

The sandal is the simplest form of foot covering, consisting of a sole held to the foot using thongs, or straps. Sandals have been made from every possible material-wood, leather, textile, straw, metal, and even stone. The Museum of Natural and Cultural History is famous for its collection of some of the oldest sandals in the world. Using carbon dating, they discovered a sandal (Fort Rock-style) which was about 10,000 years old!


The Outsole
The part of the sandal that comes in direct contact with the ground is the outsole. Basically, it is the bottom part of the sandal. There are various types of outsoles, some made from leather, some made from synthetic materials. Have you ever noticed the fancy designs on the bottom part of your shoe/sandals? They aren’t there merely for decoration! Some types of outsoles provide more protection/traction by using specific materials or designs. For example, a shoe with a leather outsole will provide less traction versus a shoe made with a rubber outsole. The outsoles of a sandal is usually fit for the different types of activities one will perform. For example, most flip-flops have a very flat outsole to make walking on the sandy beach easier.

Sandals aren’t the only type of footwear that have different types of outsoles for the activity. For example, soccer, track, and football shoes have cleats or spikes to give the wearer more traction. On the other hand, shoes for basketball are made with rubber outsoles instead to provide the user more traction.

Parts of Sandal
This is the outsole of my own sandals!

History of the Outsole
Outsoles were made of various materials throughout the different time periods. For example, the Native Americans’ sandals were made of natural materials. As a result, their outsoles were very thin. However, during the Middle Ages, the outsole was crafted with firmer materials, such as leather (which is still a standard today)!

Few know how much the upper crucial to any sandal! It is one of the two main components of the sandal. The part of the sandals that covers the toes, the top of the foot, the sides of the foot, and the back of the foot is referred to the term upper. Using a welt, it is joined to the outsole of the footwear.

There are many different types of uppers. The upper can divided into many parts or sometimes built as one unit. The upper of a sandal/shoe can be made with various materials, such as satin, suede, and canvas. However, the most popular material for uppers is leather. If you see in a shop a label that states “all leather uppers”, know that the parts mentioned above (the sides, the top, etc.) is made of leather.

Leather uppers are not ideal for sports, especially soccer. However, leather uppers do have an advantage: breathability. Leather also stretches more than synthetic materials to conform to the shape of your foot. It is important for any person to know the advantages of leather in footwear!

Parts of Sandal

As we can see in this sandal, the upper is a simple strap that runs across the toe and another on the top of the feet.

As we can see in this sandal, the upper is made as one unit!

The Midsole
The part of the sandal/shoe that is located between the upper and the outsole is called the midsole. The midsole provides cushioning and rebound, and aids the feet from getting damaged and gutted from hard or sharp objects, such as pebbles! The midsole provides balance for your foot, and this is why at Sandal Centrals we always stress the importance of material that will be able to endure all types of challenges: humain weights, terrain, even weather, and all possible pressure that can occur during running or walking.

Parts of Sandal
The blue and white part of this sandal is the midsole.



The part of the sandal that runs underneath and supports the bottom of the shoe is called the insole. The footbed and inner soles are other names to describe the insole. People usually have the ability to change this part of their shoe/sandal by buying another one they view as more comfortable than the original insole their shoe/sandal came with. Typically made of synthetic materials, the insole is joined to the upper of the sandal.

It is important to have quality insoles. Quality insoles absorb shock, evenly distribute weight, and provide arch support. Click here to get more detailed information on insoles.

Parts of Sandal
The insole of a sandal/shoe looks like this.

Fun Fact about Insoles (History):
Contrary to popular belief, insoles were made by innkeepers, not shoemakers. The innkeepers received a myriad of complaints from the travelers about their feet,  and so the innkeepers gave them the first insoles, made out of animal hair.

Like the name, the heel of the sandal is similar to your heels.Your heel is the back part of the foot below the ankle. A heel in the sandal is the projection at the back of the heel bone. The heel is the part of the sole that raises the rear of the shoe in relation to the front. It is crucial to buy sandals that provide arch support, or else you will face terrible foot diseases! In high heels, the heel is used to improve the balance of the shoe, increase the height of the wearer, alter posture or simply for fashion!

Remember, not all sandals are the same! However, I’ve summarized the key components all sandals have! Now you are extremely knowledgeable on the different parts of the sandal! You now have received an official license from Sandal Centrals which gives you the permission to brag to your friends about your new-gained powers!

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