Have you ever imagined living in a time before shoe invention? Well, Ancient shoes date back to the ice age where Cro-Magnons or Ice Age people wore simple leather. The massive cold experienced during this period cheered the invention to protect their feet from the harsh weather. Although started as a practical venture, this discovery has grown into a diverse, booming industry. The concern of shoemakers is no longer just with the functionality but with the art as well. It is true that all types of shoes share essential characteristics, but various fashions differing in their materials, coloring, and designs have emerged over thousands of years. This article summarizes the history of shoe fashions from ancient times to the present.
By using paleo-archeological and archeological evidence, experts suggest that humans invented shoes during the Middle Paleolithic period about 40,000 years ago. However, most of the populations have not started wearing the footwear consistently until the Upper Paleolithic period. The ancient shoe prototypes were made from wraparound leathers, soft and resembled either moccasins or sandals.
The modern footwear fashions began to surface after a few thousand years since the earliest shoes were innovated. During the early Baroque period in Europe, both men and women’s shoes were very similar, but materials and fashions varied among social classes. For instances, common folk used to wear heavy black leather heels whereas the aristocrats’ heels had the same shape but crafted out of wood.
It was until the early 1800’s that the men and women’s shoes began to differ from one another in color, style, and toe shape and heel size. Boots also grew exceedingly popular during this era, and cloth-topped footwear made an appearance as well. Besides, the man’s heel size has undergone much fluctuation finally to reach a standard at 1 inch. Up until 1850, people started preferring straight shoes that shown no difference between the right and left shoes. Toward the twentieth century, shoemakers began making foot-specific shoes increase the comfort.
In the 20th century, the shoe fashions started to change drastically from one decade to the other. Several technological advancements occurred during this era that made shoemaking quicker and simpler, which partially contributed to the fast changing face of footwear. Brown and black shoes dominated the America market during the Great Depression. Shortly after, cork-soled, platform shoes become a favorite female choice, and Oxfords grew popular among Men. During the World War II, the men’s shoe fashions remained relatively unaltered while those for women experienced another dramatic change in their appearance. This time, shoemakers arched and sophisticated the women’s shoes, making them highlight the foot. Narrowing of the delicate heels also continued as the decade progressed. Wedges and platform shoes become popular among women in the last few decades of the twenty century as the number of female in the workplace grew. However, men’s footwear trends were markedly static with loafers and oxfords remaining the dominant style.
These days, you can find shoe fashions for every occasion, preference, and mood. Many designers are now focusing on the matter of aesthetics rather than primarily on function and comfort. You can bet that the future of the footwear industry will be more out-of-this-world if shoe trends continue in this manner.
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