The holiday season is here, and Lisbeth Joe wants to ensure you have the tips to look incredible at any event that you’ll attend.  Two types of barefoot sandals that we’ll feature are the Ostuni and Milan. Lisbeth Joe offers the Milan sandal in gold and black, while the Ostuni comes in black. These versatile colors compliment many outfits that we’ll highlight along with some surprises involving the background of the sandal.  

What is the origin of the sandal?

Did you learn about the ancient Greeks and Romans in your school years? If so, you may recall that it was helpful to remember the Olympians if you could recall their special object that was associated with their personality trait or mighty power.  For example, images and myths include: Zeus and his thunderbolt, Athena with her bow, and Hermes wearing his winged sandals. Hermes was known as the “herald and messenger of Mt. Olympus so that he came to symbolize the crossing of boundaries in his role as a guide between the two realms of gods and humanity” (Cartwright 2019). By the way, if you’d like to see how much you recall from social studies or history class, try this fun quiz on Greek gods and goddesses.   

In addition to sandals’ connection to ancient Greek and Roman mythology, the oldest known example of a sandal–made of sagebrush bark–was excavated from what is now Oregon and dates from about 10,900 years before the present (Encyclopedia Britannica). The story of the oldest sandal found begins…

In 1938 archaeologist Luther Cressman, from the University of Oregon excavated Fort Rock Cave located in a small volcanic butte approximately half a mile west of the Fort Rock volcanic crater in central Oregon. The Fort Rock Basin is the most northwesterly sub-basin of the Great Basin, Western North America's vast intermontane desert. 

Cressman found dozens of sandals below a layer of volcanic ash, subsequently determined to come from the eruption of the Mt. Mazama volcano 7500 years ago. Named for the site where they were first found, Fort Rock-style sandals have since been reported from ancient deposits in several Northern Great Basin caves. 


Fort Rock sandals are stylistically distinct. They are twined (pairs of weft fibers twisted around warps), and have a flat, close-twined sole, usually with five rope warps. Twining proceeded from the heel to the toe, where the warps were subdivided into finer warps and turned back toward the heel. These fine warps were then open-twined (with spaces between the weft rows) to make a toe flap. Cressman surmised that a tie rope attached to one edge of the sole wrapped around the ankle and fastened to the opposite edge. 

“The World’s Oldest ShoesUniversity of Oregon

Imagine the strength of our nomadic ancestors who survived brutal climates with bark used as their sole.  Fortunately, your school days are over and sandal comfort has evolved; however, it is easy to see the stylistic connection contemporary sandals have to our ancestral origins.  

What to wear with the Milan and Ostuni sandals? 

Now that you have had a mini history lesson, see if you can note any similarities between the Fort Rock sandal and LJ’s modern sandal as you read the following suggestions that will help you create holiday outfits to match your new barefoot shoes. 

Milan sandal (black and gold option) 

This barefoot sandal is crafted in soft bronze leather and is simple, yet statement-making.  The Milan also has a secure ankle strap.

  • For an office party, the Milan can be paired with black dress pants and a shiny top:

  • The Milans can also be worn with a bold-colored dress, such as this one in forest green or orange: 

  • For a casual holiday gathering, the Milan sandals can accompany dark or light colored jeans and an off-white sweater: 


Ostuni sandal (black option)

The Ostuni is made from black cactus leather and has a leather insole.  It is a chic sandal with a characterful touch. This pair keeps your feet secure for day-long comfort and is crafted with a wraparound ankle strap that beautifully encases your feet.

  • For a holiday party, consider wearing this multi-strap sandal to highlight a short white dress or a longer, layered coral dress featured here:

Lisbeth Joe hopes these suggestions can help you stand out from the crowd and look dazzling for all of your upcoming holiday events. Share a picture of how you styled the Milans or Ostunis on LJ’s Instagram page. 

Happy holidays!

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