If a woman is asked about her premier fashion extravagance, most certainly her reply will be SHOES!
It is a passion that makes us all united, and a fascination that rises above age, size, and shape. This desirable most object suits any budget and every style. Why footwear makes us delightful and sends us into shoe outlets? The most appropriate reply would be: we all require wearing shoes!
Shoes zest up and old outfit with a bit of daring color and latest trend. Nothing other than shoes has this remarkable power to convey our perspective or inner feelings.
It is impossible to envision the era before the creation of shoes when we cannot even leave our homes without this essential commodity. The vast majority surmise that wheel creation was the greatest invention of old times yet we are certain that shoe-manufacturing takes a high position on that rundown. What began as a humble endeavor has developed into an assorted and thriving diligence. Although shoes have some basic and fundamental attributes yet their shading, stuff and design have changed radically over the history of footwear.
This state of mind towards shoes is a genuinely modern. Shoes were viable necessities for a large portion of history. When just the influential have the capacity to possess marvelous footwear, the phase of statement shoes was provided by the court culture.
Shoes are an essential chic of our lives, however, we know so little about its history. The first drawings of boots are supposedly 16000 years BC-8000 years BC old which were found in the prehistoric cave of Spain called Altamira. Now all around the world, there are hundreds of shoe brands with thousands of shoe shops and shoe stores. All kinds of shoe’s & most expensive shoes in the world are available in most of the shoe stores in America. Let’s peep into the evolution of shoes.
Historical Timeline of the Evolution of Shoes
Our predecessors strolled barefooted in the prehistoric era. Archeological evidence shows that shoes were designed around middle Paleolithic period roughly 40,000 years prior. Footwear got consistently worn by populaces until Upper Paleolithic period according to Wikipedia.
Now we will dig deep into this decade’s old invention which started from a scrap of leather with grass string to the modern day.
According to anthropological researchers, humans begin wearing shoes about 40,000 years ago. Cave drawings in Spain which are said to be 15,000 years old show human wrapping animal skins or furs around feet. Evidence of protective foot covering is found in Ice Age settlements. People of that era are called Cro-Magnons. The sole purpose of wearing shoes at that time was to protect feel from the cold. People used to wear simple leather boots for this reason.
Oldest pair of sandals till date is found from Fort Rock Cave. These are Sagebrush bark sandals from Oregon USA recovered by Luther Cressman. Sandals of Fort Rock-style have been found around Cougar Mountain and Catlow Caves. These places are the renaissance of historic footwear.
Spain is the home of Esparto Sandals. The Greek word “sandalon” is the originator of the word sandal. Esparto Sandals are open and exclusively made according to the climatic conditions of Spain.
People of Egypt used to stay barefooted as shoes were not necessary due to hot climate. Sometimes sandals made from papyrus were utilized by common folks. The elite would use leather sandals.
The earliest known first complete leather shoe known as Arena-1 was found near the cave of Armenia and reported in 2010. They are soft and manufactured from wraparound leather. They look like moccasins and lack vamp or sole.
Shoes have been around since a long period of time in one form or another. The shoes of “ice-man” made from leather and stuffed with straw are yet another discovery of 3300 BC. They are named as Otzi. They are simplest of shoes woven with grass to guard against severe cold.
3rd to 1st millennia BC
Most of the empires of the world used simple leather in men’s or women’s footwear. Egyptian pharaohs are famous for their beautifully engraved accessories and sandals. The common citizens in Egypt would use a leather Plaited hemp or Papyrus sole while peaked-toe sandals signified a Prince, King or Priest. Tutankhamen the legendary Egyptian pharaoh conceded delicately designed sandals with golden pictures of gods and religious symbols engraved on it.
1st millennia BC
Middle East got ruled with people called Assyrians around 600 BC to 900BC. Soldiers of this nation used to be outfitted with sturdy boots helpful in long strides or marches. Tough boots known as Caligae were utilized by Roman soldiers while ‘Calceus’ was worn by the elite Roman class during outdoor visits. Indoors a flip-flop known as ‘Solea’ would be worn by Roman leaders. These sandals were made from wood or cork soles. Roman slaves were identified by their bare-feet.
Tragic actors, hunters, and soldiers of Greece or Rome wore Buskin shoes. The interesting thing about Pedila of Homer’s time was that Greeks soldier’s shoe carved with tongue indicated a freeman or citizen.
Two earliest ages of Rama and Vedas saw Padukas. They are the oldest and archetypal footwear invents by Indians whose evidence is found around this time. A legend says they were rampant before Rama and Vedas time.
Early Greek officers used to wear ‘Campagus’ designed with lace. Higher shoe top showed the higher rank of the officer.
Romans invented strapped foot-wears suitable for Gladiators sports. These unique designs of Thongs were made for military activities.
Gladiator sandals evolve and became more brass and shin guard during Roman rule. These unique sandals become very popular Gladiator Spartan footwear.
Viking leather shoes are inventions of this year. Europe was explored by Scandinavian Norsemen for trade and conquest. They traveled through oceans and rivers so sandals evolved to become boots for protection against harsh climates. These leather shoes had straight sole and pointy toes.
Europeans would enjoy shoes and sandals as a routine. During this century Saxon weddings would see a bride throw her shoe towards bridesmaid to see which one would marry next. In this era, industries were still making crude and hard kind of wearing which were impossible to be worn for longer periods of time.
The introduction of Mongol Gutul took place in these times where dignified horsemen wore this exquisite and colorful footwear in winters. Embroidered line of Mongol Gutul styles was worn by men in the east.
Nobility and royalty including ladies equally started wearing fashionable shoes produced by shoemaking industry of that time. Extended toes started prevailing in elites. The larger the toes, highest was the wearer’s rank.
The beginning of the 1200s saw the origin of Dutch Clogs. The clog is footwear made of complete of a part of the wood. Facts showed that these types of shoes were worn during heavy labor and muddy conditions. Peasants would use this footwear. In towns, a wooden platform called patters which was several inches long was fixed under their shoes. The oldest left & right pair of clogs was found in Netherlands.
English and French noblemen would wear incredibly long toe-erect. They were Polish-Origins and called poulaines. A soft leather fabric was utilized featuring an extended vamp. A decorative string was attached to the tip of poulaine and was anchored behind to wearer’s leg with a chain. French shoe heels were decorated with a wood pattern which became the fashion in men’s shoe heel.
In some part of the world, these long-toe shoes were called crakows, whose background was linked to Krakow. This fashion was adopted by upper class only whereas ordinary people would wear round toe. At the end of the 15th century, long toes went out and the ever wealthy also started wearing round or square toe.
France and other surrounding countries made clog shoes. Belgium did make these for the lower class laborer. Separate high heels became the norm around this time.
East India Company nobles would go for Babouche when common people were not able to afford shoes.
Renaissance marked the start of footwear fashion mode. In this century people would have deliberate cuts in their footwear. They were called slashes. Most of the shoes would be slip on while some have laces tied with it. The Italian lady Catherine d’Medici introduced high heels to France fashion industry.
Europe saw the rise of pirate boots also known as Cavalier boots. Boots were in fashion for men with buckles.
Throughout the history, high heels were not worn. Shoes with heels begin for 16th-century women and girls.
Students of Oxford University use to wear special leather shoes around 1665-70. These were first Oxfords and the shoe got its name from here onwards.
During Qing, Dynasty women were not allowed footwear. Wives and daughter of imperials would be seen wearing hula pen di (bottoms of flower pots) in images of this era. Heels of two to four inches long would look most suitable in heavy and long robes.
Various shoe styles evolved depending upon the class and person during this period of renaissance. During early Baroque period women’s and men’s used to wear similar footwear.
The material and stuff varied depending upon the classes. Heavy heels were common while elites would wear this shape crafted out of wood.
Aristocrat heels rule the 17th century. These got famous from King Louis XIV throughout Europe. He used to wear red painted heels. Heels used to signify elite class in a 17th and 18th century. The women designer shoes got impressed with these legendary heels later on.
Men moccasins are impressed from the Indian moccasins of this time. The Native Americans would wear shoes which evolved depending upon the climatic changes in the region. Moreover, different tribes would adopt different shoe fashion. The classy footwear for men which is still in fashion goes back to this century’s Native Indian moccasins.
High heeled was in fashion for both women and men. But French revolution brought it to end. Simple and humble designs were more popular after that ever changing historic event.
This year marks the introduction of shoe lace by English shoe designers.
The nerdy oxford shoes became famous in public as Commoner’s dress shoe. They were worn by the common people of Britain and are called British shoes. People would use wood or leather as a protective layer for their shoes in outdoors.
In the 1800s, inspired by Moccasins, pump shoes with square toe were in with a soft and low dressing. They were mostly worn indoors by intellectual and well off community. Philadelphia is the originator of these shoes.
Even silk was use for shoes intricately embroidered in 1800.They were considered as a la mode in the eighties for wealthy women. Fashionable ladies and girls from 18 to 21 years of age would happily flaunt this piece.
In the 19th century, the “straight shoes” became out and finally, shoes were manufactured for each foot individually. Men and women shoes used to vary in color, style, heels and toe shape. Men would wear shoes having heels not more than 1 inch. Shoemakers would prepare shoes that were practical and attractive with standardized sizes and widths.
The 1850s tell the story of British Gored shoes for men. A flexible and elasticized cloth was used on the front side to make them easier to slip on and draw out. 1800’s brought the boots in women shoe fashion. However at the end of this century women started wearing shoes again.
Low heel fashion began to rise around this time.
In early 19th century, shoes had laces instead of buckles. The Duke of Wellington boots were made from leather before but after 1850’s they came out in leather material.
The Balmorals, inspired by Oxford shoes, were manufactured in Scotland and Ireland. These oxford shoes became famous after Queen’s castle in Scotland and are still in fashion today. Balmorals boots were laced at the front and equally popular in men and women. The seam would divide the upper and lower part of Balmorals which varied them from other laced boots.
The last decades of the 19th century saw cowboy boots gaining popularity in Cowboys of America. They were practical and ideal while horse riding. This bold fashion statement got evolved from Mongolian riding boots.
The kid slippers were famous around this time but the boots were mainstay because of fits strength and durability. Button boots were famous in mid-century due to its tight fit. The fit would enhance foot and ankle and give a very elegant and attractive look.
Technology evolved and Jan Ernst Matzeliger an African-American architect designed first automated machine for producing shoes. Shoe industry was changed forever after this masterpiece.
France was the great producers of shoes but after the opening of first high heeled shoe industrial unit in America, the import of pricey French shoe stopped. 1899
Rubber heels for shoes patented this year by Humphrey O’Sullivan. He was an Irish- American inventor.
For the first time in history shoes and boots and shoes become cheaper. Chinese originated Lily-foot shoes were used by Chinese to bind girl’s feet from infancy. Smaller feet were considered a sign of prettiness so this strange custom was followed all through China.
To meet the need of mountain climbers a special kind of shoes known as Alpine boots were invented. They were evolved from dress shoes and got their names from The Alps. A sturdy sole of Alpine boots and easy grip on bent nails was a great assistant and secure footing.
Sneakers became a huge success in the USA during this era. They would have a rubber sole and canvas top designed attractively. They were extremely lightweight and provide no sound while walking so inventor gave it the name canvas. Kids and tennis player have used this in the beginning. Women shoes were often decorated with beads.
Shoes were still a luxury for poor people. Children would play without slippers or shoes on the streets of British towns because their parents could not afford shoes. So a charity called Boot Fund was established around this time to help the poor and needy children.
Adolf Dassler designed trainers in the shoe industry.
The famous French designer Roger Vivier invented stilettos this year which became a hit of that era and is extremely popular in female populace up till now. Beyond 1950s advanced rubber, plastic, synthetic cloth and other industrial materials were used to develop new shoe designs.
Flip flops were invented this very year. After Great depression shoes in black and brown color conquered US shoe market. Men would go for oxfords while platform and cork-soled shoes become popular in women shoe fashion. After WWII there was no evolution in men shoe fashion while women shoe industry faced a dramatic alteration. Sophisticated and arched designed which highlighted the foot started prevailing. Heels became narrower and delicate. Women would wear mules which were a kind of slip on shoes.
Boot called Dr. Martens invented in 1960. Women used to wear safety shoes. The US became self-sufficient in the production of shoes and became a leader in footwear.
The footwear changed a lot during this time due to many technological advances. Since the Aristocratic age men would not wear high heels. During this year men started wearing high heels again in the form of Rockstar boots. Male rock stars and pop stars popularized extremely high platforms and their fans followed the suit.
Men wore wear winkle pickers which were long pointed toe shoes in late 70s. Shoes with platform become famous in both men and women.
Early 20th century saw the introduction of athletic shoes which become quite famous afterward.
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Doc Martens a humble invention became a style statement in this era. They were once heralded as an anti-fashion statement. Women presence grew a lot in workplaces which made the use of heels necessary. Wedges and platforms were trendy during this time.
During Industrial Revolution, many factories sprung up so the need of walking became necessity and boots became essential. Adelaide were the side-laced shoes which became famous in women shoe industry. Garibaldi is another popular piece of this time which was elastic sided boots.
In recent time’s shoes are manufactured according to the occasion, preferences, and fashion moods. Many shoe brands focus primarily on comfort and function due to practicality purposes. While other shoe departments focus on unique style and luxury. Women’s shoe style varies a lot from men these days. Shoe warehouses are full of pointy toed stilettos, Retros, Chuck Taylor’s, gladiators, flop-flops, polka-dot, pumps clogs and all sorts of moccasins in a large range and variety.
Celebs like Lady Gaga has shown another side of footwear fashion and proved it to be more of an art and armadillo rather than a necessary commodity.
Many companies offer online shoes where men or women shoe sizes and styles are presented on the website in images and videos format.
Let’s discuss some interesting facts about shoes:
1.Shoe making history began with the name ST. Crispin who was the patron saint of shoemakers. October 25th is celebrated as Shoemaker’s holiday since medieval times.
2.King Louis XIV would allow only his court visitors to wear red colored heels.
3.Greeks take empty shoes equal to a funeral wreath of US.
4.In Arabs showing shoe sole to a person is considered as an insult while throwing it and hitting someone is equal to abuse.
5.People of subcontinent consider shoes as impure so they are removed outside houses, mosques, temples and other worship places.
The history of shoes shows similarities in footwear amongst different parts of the world. The differences were due to the cultural constraints and climatic conditions. The fashion of recent times is the most modern and contemporary adaptation of past footwear styles. Shoes are ladies’ best friend and they express themselves through this fashion statement. On the other hand, men show their masculine or soft side with these essentials. The prevailing trends in footwear styles are phenomenal and groovy. If this continues in the same manner, one would expect future fashion to be more astounding.