The Story Of Footwear

Shoes; a thing of beauty, an obsession for many, and an item of clothing that has gone beyond the mere concern of functionality to become a revered symbol of style, taste, and character. It has become a mark of wealth and abundance, and fashionable shoes can cost thousands of dollars a pair.
The history of footwear is much older than most individuals may care to perceive, and the first footwear were sandals dating back to 8000 BC. Although it is believed that footwear was used before this, due to the deterioration of the materials used, none have been found. The earliest type of shoe was a simple shape, shaped more like a sack, to protect from the natural elements such as cold and rocks. These were made with animal skins, and is a precursor to modern leather.
Later, footwear developed to feature a more open design, consisting of a flat sole and straps on the top. These developed in the hotter climates, as they allowed protection from the element while not being uncomfortable in the heat.
The development of civilization brought forward newer materials and tools to work with to create more elaborate, functional, and long-lasting versions. Wood and leather were used to create shoes that were handmade. Footwear was often seen as an indulgence of the wealthy, and the poor as well as slaves were usually barefoot. This brought forward the idea of shoes symbolizing status, an idea that still holds some footing today.
Development of technology allowed footwear to be created in diverse ways and specialize shoes for men and women separately. The high-heeled shoe was first worn by men and was in fact a symbol of masculinity; ironic when considering that in the modern-day, high heels are considered to be extremely feminine.
With the mechanization of many productions, footwear too began to be mass-made, and different designs scarf and patterns emerged. Different shoes could be worn to suit the occasion or to match the clothing being worn.
The modern-day sees shoes as a large and thriving industry, with the top designers’ shoes being so exclusive and in demand that waiting lists are created to purchase them. Shoes are now available in a range of sizes for any foot size. Designers usually offer their own size guides, for example the carvela size guide, as specialized designs and techniques means that sizes may differ from one designer to the other.
High quality shoes by celebrated designers are endorsed and worn by celebrities, and has heightened the hype for shoes.

Article by Romola Ferrari

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