While they’re sometimes referred to as “Jesus sandals,” rope sandals were around long before Jesus made his miraculous walk on water. In fact, not only are these sandals old, they’re the most enduring shoe trend of all time.
The oldest pair of shoes ever discovered was a pair of sandals that was found in Fort Rock Cave, Oregon in 1938. According to Wikipedia, Fort Rock Cave is the location of the earliest evidence of human habitation in the United States.
These ancient sandals were radiocarbon-dated to being from 9,000 to 13,000 years old. They comprised a simple platform that was made from woven sagebrush bark, with rope straps that were also made from plants. (Something every vegan yearns for: plant-based shoes!) The sandals were preserved under a layer of volcanic ash.
The sandals are now part of the Oregon Historical Society’s collection, and they can be seen at the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History in Eugene, Oregon.
The oldest shoes ever discovered were made with rope.
I was happy to find a selection of rope sandals for women and men that have modern accoutrements, including soles that are probably a lot more comfortable than sagebrush bark, but that still maintain some eco-conscious attributes.
Nomadic State of Mind
Nomadic State of Mind upcycles their classic rope sandals from scrapped rugs, handbags, and water bottle carries. All of their sandals are handmade.
The company has started by Chris Anderson in the 1990s. An avid adventurer, he started his company while traveling around in his 1969 VW Bus. This adventurous lifestyle is the foundation of the company’s philosophy and it feeds into their products. Nomadic State of Mind also makes clothing with organic cotton and recycled fabrics.
Oh, and for all you water-loving adventurers, if your sandals come off in a river or lake, no worries – they’ll float.
Here’s a video about Nomadic State of Mind’s Eco-Friendly Sandals:
1. Jesus Sandals by Nomadic State of Mind
These classic sandals are made with recycled materials. They come in six different colors, including black, denim blue, green, gray, camel, and bone. They’re machine washable and they float. They fit both men’s and women’s feet.
To see more eco-friendly styles, check out my post on shoes made with recycled materials.
2. Women’s Gladiators by Nomadic State of Mind
These sandals are eco-friendly. You’ll love the gladiator look! They’re made with recycled polypropylene rope. They come in two colors: black and camel. And they’re machine washable.
3. Mind Moksha Sandal
This flip flop-style rope sandal fits men’s and women’s feet. It comes in camel and comfortably wraps around your toes.
4. Ropals Handmade
Ropals hand makes a few different styles using polypropylene rope.
5. The Hippies Way
The Hippies Way makes hand makes their rope sandals in a variety of colors, including red, purple, green, and of course – Rasta-style multi.
6. Roxy Rope-Style Flip Flops
If you love surfer girl style, Roxy has your covered. These kickback rope-style flip flops are comfy and perfect the beach of backyard plantbased BBQs. To see more styles, visit my post on eco-friendly and vegan flip flops.
Available colors: black, cream, and multi
7. Megnya Ladies’ Walking Sandals
Megnya’s super comfortable rope sandals are perfect for beach days, traveling, or walking your pup around town. They come in a few different styles and in tons of colorful combinations.
To see more great styles for walking, visit my post on vegan sport sandals.
8. Plaka Handmade Rope Sandals
Plaka’s sandals are made in Southeast Asia and named for a neighborhood in Athens, Greece.
Here’s a video from Plaka:
Available in lots of different colors.
9. Hidden Treasure Co. Women’s Tuk Tuks
These Tuk Tuk rope sandals are handmade in Thailand. The rope is synthetic and the insole is faux leather. They come in a variety of color combinations. The outsoles are made with rubber, so you get a little extra cushioning and traction when you walk. Lightweight and comfortable, they make great travel shoes.
10. Everlax Flip Flop-Style Rope Sandals
These comfy flip flops come in a variety of colors, including red, black, orange, gray, and navy blue.
11. Ahyoka Africa Barefoot Sandals
If they don’t have soles, are they still sandals? I think so! These barefoot rope sandals are too adorable to not include here. They’re handmade in South Africa with lavender hemp cords and silver beads by Ahyoka Africa.
12. Natural Thong-Style Hemp Rope Sandals
Hemp is a sustainable material that doesn’t require heavy pesticide and herbicide use to grow. It’s naturally anti-microbial, which means these shoes will maintain a good smell, even if you’re running around and sweating in them on a hot summer day! Hemp also softens with wear, like your favorite pair of blue jeans. So, it’s an ideal material for rope sandals. To see more styles, check out my post dedicated solely to hemp sandals. And if you’re looking for something more rugged, check out my post on hemp shoes.
Janice Winner imports a variety of hemp shoes and other accessories from China, which you can see in her Etsy store. (Beware, she does have some styles, not shown here, that use pig’s skin in the soles, so please read the product details.)These hemp rope sandals have flattering toe and ankle straps. They come in natural beige.
13. Rope Flip Flops
Here’s another style that’s imported by Janice Winner. They’re made with eco-friendly, sustainable hemp. They’ll fit men’s and women’s feet.
14. Natural Straw and Hemp
These minimalist sandals are handmade with soft black straps and straw soles.
15. Hemp Rope Slides
If you prefer comfortable slide style sandals, these natural hemp sandals will do the trick. They’ll fit men’s or women’s feet.