Figure 1.--

Sandals: English Sand Shoes

HBC has received some comments from well-informed English conntributors. Some are not familiar with the term "sand shoes". One British reader tells us, "When I was a boy growing up in the North East of England, the term "sand shoe" (also known as "sandies") referred to white plimsols. HBC has noted the term from British books published in the 1920s and 30s. Unfortunately I do not recall the specific literary references. I do hope to eventually include some on this page. I believe that our British contributors are not familiar with this term because it was not commonly used after the 1930s. By the 1940s the style had become so associated with school wear that they were most commonly called school sandals.

While I do not recall the references I noted to sand shoes, I have begun to find a few. Famed author C.S. Lewis, for example, described his transition from play clothes to school uniform,

Only this morning --only two hours ago--I was running wild in shorts and blazer and sandshoes. Now I am chocking and sweating, itching too, in thick dark stuff, throteled by an Eton collar, my feet already aching with unacustomed boots. I am wearing knickerbockers that button at the knee. Every night for some forty weeks of every year and for many a year I am to see the red, smarting imprint of those buttons in my flesh when I undress, Worst of all is the bowler-hat, apparently made of iron, which grasps my head. [C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy Geoffrey Bles, 1955, p. 29.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: June 5, 1999
Last updated: May 20, 2002