Hollywood was the main reason the humble sandal made a fashion comeback in the 20th Century. Millions saw through developing cinematography their favourite people dressing in alluring costumes which they craved to mirror. The inclusion of long shots included details of both leg and foot attire.
Salvatore Ferrigamo, among other celebrity shoe makers made sandals for Hollywood ’s biblical epics. First the stars then their fans clambered to wear the new fashions and as the century progressed and hemlines rose, then greater emphasis was placed on the sandal.
In the 1930s, Ferragamo introduced the wedge heel and a metal arch support which allowed heeled shoes to be made without toe caps. The Peekaboo style or toe cleavage became all the rage when the plastics industry developed colourful nail varnish.
New pin up girls flaunted their charms in long legs and heeled sandals. Designers continued to experiment with fabric, raffia and plastics to make sandals for the fashionista and by the early fifties.
The introduction of the stiletto meant no fashion conscious female foot could go without a pair of back-less sandals exposing more foot flesh than had ever been seen. Thongs (sandals) became the G string bikini of the shoe world.
By the 21st century fear of terrorism and greater scrutiny of travellers meant removal of footwear in public and no self-respecting fashionista wanted to be seen divesting in public, so fashion dictates turned to slip on shoes and hence flip flops became back in style.
New polymer technology meant there was a new kid on the block. Crocs (Plastic Clogs) become a fashionable shoe for summer. Crocs or sandals, thinly disguised as clogs, are lightweight footwear with holes in them to allow water to pass through them. They were originally developed for boat people and gave good grip on wet surfaces. The colourful footwear was soon picked up by Japanese decora girls and because they were very comfortable, hard wearing and inexpensive, crossed over into mainstream foot attire.