What are hemp sandals?
People throughout the middle ages basically wore hemp sandals. Also, people wore them before the introduction of modern manufacturing.
Cotton, wood pulp, and artificial fiber production came through in the 19th century, which brought the industrial revolution.
However, hemp sandals faded away. That’s because cotton and synthetic materials became more popular.
Also, there was a prohibition of hemp in production across Europe and the US. Because of this, the dusty pages of history swallowed up this humble shoe.
What goes into a hemp sandal?
As the name suggests, they are sandals with hemp. Unlike their medieval ancestors, the products today use a combination of hemp and other fabrics to make up the top and support.
The midsole and outer sole are made of rubber or other materials suitable to provide support for everyday use.
You can most certainly still buy what is commonly known as the ‘Jesus sandal’ with straps and buckles. Today the majority of hemp sandals today are produced in ‘flip-flop’ style, to match with the demands of the mass market.
How do people make them?
Nowadays, they are produced in a very much industrialized way, in bulk, and with machinery. Thanks to the industrial revolution, hemp sandals less popular than they used to be.
They are still in third world countries and in a range of boutique outlets. Handcrafted hemp sandals are still available for purchase on the internet and markets around the world.
With Nike & Adidas delving into the production of hemp shoes and hemp sandals, it has moved from the hippy to the hipster.
What are the benefits?
Sustainability is first and foremost one of the key benefits of hemp sandals. Hemp grows in short production cycles and provides a huge amount of raw material.
In fact, an acre of this eco-friendly crop gives us four times the amount of material that we get from an acre of trees. And we can use it like we use wood, as well.
For example, we can make hemp board and hemp wood to build with. We can also make paper and other fibrous products out of this crop.
When compared to cotton, hemp gives us three times the usable fiber per acre. Plus, it only needs 1/10 the water that cotton does.
Furthermore, it doesn’t require any pesticides to grow. That’s in sharp contrast to cotton, which uses 16% of the world’s pesticides.
Not to mention this plant can thrive in harsh hot climates. All of this makes it perfect for the third world and developing nations.
In addition, hemp is extremely durable, strong and cost-effective in terms of the fabric itself.
When designed and fashioned into a workable hemp sandal, they will far outweigh the lifetime value of cheaper, rubber flip-flops or sandal alternatives.
Lastly, the antibacterial nature of hemp is great to have in a sandal. That means the shoe can help fight unwanted odors on its own.
Why do we need hemp sandals?
They look great, feel great underfoot and cut back on the use of toxic materials. Also, the literal carbon footprint is extremely low. The more hemp a sandal has, the smaller the footprint. Figuratively speaking, of course.
That’s because hemp is a carbon-negative crop. It takes more carbon dioxide from the air than it gives off in manufacturing. If you add enough hemp to a product, that product’s carbon footprint could even be zero.
For example, one company actually did this with a car. They made the body out of hemp fibers and put it on a Mazda chassis and engine.
Even though the base of the car was the same, the eco-friendly body material made the car’s footprint zero. And that’s with regular gasoline.
Ok, back to shoes. Hemp sandals provide third world countries with sustainable clothing and footwear option. They also provide communities around the world with livelihoods. When you buy a pair, you’re supporting families around the globe.
Where can I get some?
Not only can you purchase these hemp sandals online, but you can also get them at just about any natural retailer—why not go and try a pair?
Naturally sustainable and antibacterial, you will be doing yourself and your feet a favor.