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 rope sandals old, they’re the most enduring shoe trend of all time.
The oldest pair of shoes ever discovered was a pair of rope 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 oldest shoes ever discovered were rope sandals.
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 upcycles their classic, vegan 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 Rope Sandals:
These classic rope sandals are vegan and 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.
These rope sandals are 100% vegan and 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.
EarthnSol is another brand that makes eco-friendly and vegan sandals with reclaimed carpet rope.
These lightweight sandals are machine washable and made with upcycled carpet rope. They’re handmade and they fit both men’s and women’s feet. These are also available in black.
This unisex style by EarthnSol comes in tan and black or navy and gray.
EarthnSol’s comfy Moksha Sandals comes in brown.
These eco-friendly and vegan sandals are handmade in Ethiopia with organic jute rope, and the soles are made from recycled tires. They have an adjustable back strap, and they’re cushioned for extra comfort. They’re also lightweight so it feels like you’re not wearing any shoes at all. They fit both men’s and women’s feet. Check out more of Kemis’ handmade Ethiopian fashions in their Etsy store.
Ropals also hand makes a few different styles of vegan rope sandals using polypropylene rope.
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 sandals 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.
Janice Winner imports a variety of hemp sandals 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.
These Tuk Tuk rope sandals are handmade in Thailand. The rope is synthetic and the insole is faux leather. These vegan rope sandals 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 sandals.
These simple flip flop-style slide rope sandals come in turquoise blue, gray multi, black multi, and yellow.
These cute ladies’ espadrilles come in nude and black. They’ve got a textile upper with satin cords that wind up your ankles. The platform is ¾”.
These colorful lace-up sandals are a fun mix of boho and gladiator. They’re made with eco-friendly hemp and jute, and they have natural rubber soles. The braided jute rope wraps up your leg with a sexy look, and colorful ethnic fabric accents complete the look.
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.
If you’d like to see more eco-friendly and vegan sandals, check out these posts: