Do you know that the accessory that you now cover your feet with dates back to 40,000 years ago? Well, it’s not easy to imagine how people used to live before someone decided to invent shoes.
What started as a practical project has grown to a big and growing industry. Even though all shoes come with essential characteristics, their colour, material, and the design have changed drastically over thousands of year after the invention of the first shoe.
The first shoe ever made in the world-
From pale-archaeological and archaeological evidence, experts believe that the first shoe was invented in the middle Paleolithic period, which is over 40, 000 years ago.
However, the shoe was consistently worn by people during the upper Paleolithic period. The earlier shoe was soft, was made from the wrap-around leather and looked like moccasins or sandals.
As I said earlier, the early shoe was like a sandal, and its main task was to insulate human feet from the spiky, hard, and jaggy ground. The shoe was also meant to protect the feet from snow-prone areas like Alaska and scorching hot regions like the Middle East.
The oldest surviving shoes that you can find in California dates back to 9,000 years ago. The shoes are simple sandals that are constructed with plant fibers. In the past, people used to wrap one piece of animal hide around the foot and then tied the hide with a leather thong.
In the early 19th century, European peasants wore sabot, which was a shoe made of a single piece of wood just like the Dutch did. In England, The sabot advanced to clog which came with an upper that was made of fabric but with a wooden sole.
After that, the French aristocracy now introduced pointed shoes that were designed by an individual known as Count of Anjou, who made the shoe trying to hide his deformed feet. After that, French women now started wearing high heel shoes that led to the introduction of a phrase, “well-heeled” which meant rich.
Until the year 1760, shoemakers were using hands to make shoes with the tools from Egypt such as a scraper, curved awl, and a chisel-type knife. Later on, other tools like pincers, lap-stones, hammer, and a collection of rubbing sticks were also necessary.
After the shoe making machine introduction in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1760, a Dutch Guiana native Jan Matzeliger, who migrated to the US in 1870 helped the shoe industry transformation by coming up with a shoe lasting machine that was able to attach the sole to the shoe in a minute. Unfortunately, the man died poor!
Let's jump ahead a few thousand years later when the introduction to modern footwear begun. In the early centuries, women and men shoes were similar, only that the fashion and materials were a bit different among social classes. For commoners, their usual shoe was a heavy black leather heeled shoes, while for classy people their shoes came in wood.
In early 1880, men and women shoes could finally differ when it came to style, heel, color, and toe-shape. Shoes with cloth-top were popular, and boots also became very popular. After many variations, the standard for men shoes became one inch.
Until 1850, shoes were straight which means you could wear any shoe on any foot. There was no right or left shoe, but during the twentieth century, shoe manufacturers improved comfort by coming up with shoes for a specific foot. There was technological advancement, and the shoemaking process was simpler.
Even though men shoes remained dormant after the Second World War, women shoes took another dramatic advancement in their appearance. They became arched, stylish and their work was to highlight the foot. The heels became delicate and narrower as the years progressed.
As female presence advanced in the work-place in the last decades of the 20th century, so did the heels! During the seventies, wedges and platform shoes were common among women even though they became unpopular in the eighties and nineties. On the other hand, men shoe trends were still since loafers and Oxford did not change at all.
Today, we have shoes for different occasion, preference, and even the mood. Shoemakers are moving away from styles that focus on comfort and function and are now shifting their interest from practicality to aesthetics.
That is what is trending now, and they must go with the fashion flow! However, from the look of things, if footwear continues flowing like this, then we can expect out-of-this-world shoes in the future!