The History of Shoes
There is a great wealth of information regarding the history of shoes and their evolution on the internet. Many of them theorize with obvious logic that the first form of shoes by our primitive ancestors were born out of a necessity to protect their bare feet from the perils of the land during long hunting trips. They neededto avoid injury from Such perils as jagged rocks, hot sand, and other rough terrain elements.
In an article from National Geographic entitled “Humans Wore Shoes 40,000 Years Ago, Fossil Suggests”, 40,000 year-old fossil bones exhibited strong evidence of habitual shoe wearing. In fact, this finding revealed that humans were using a primitive form of shoes 10,000 years earlier than previously believed.
Some of the earliest recorded references to shoes emerged with the Chinese, Egyptian and other early civilizations. There are multiple mentions of shoes in the Bible as well.
History of Sandals
As evidenced by the early relics of the Egyptians, shoes took their first form as a sandal. The material used was plaited papyrus leaves which were creatively crafted into various designs that were secured to the feet by a simple piece of grass or rawhide. In fact, sandalmaking was recognized as an serious form of craftmanship as revealed by early Egyptian historical records.
Amazingly enough, the sandal still thrives in the Middle Eastern countries as the most prevalent type of footwear. This is reflective of the warmer climates endured by and artistic tendencies and heritage of the people who reside there. Although the quality of the material used may be more advanced, the level of artistry and decorative embellishments still bespeak the social status and prosperity of the wearer.
Various sandal designs evolved in other countries to reflect status or vocation. For instance, the Romans designed a military purpose sandal to enable their legions to journey throughout the world. The gladiator sandal is another custom form and example of this. As was the case with the Greek sandal genre, the late Roman Empire placed more emphasis on the design and beauty aspects of of the sandal embellishing them with precious stones and gold ornaments.
This is a list of online historical resources and museums that chronicle the history of shoe designs and the related fashion companies.
- Footwear of the Middle Ages
- History of the Platform Shoe
- Toronto Bata Shoe Museum
- German Leather & Shoe Museum
- Brockton, Massachusetts Historical Society Shoe Museum
- TUSPM Shoe Museum
- The Century In Shoes
- National Geographic Magazine: Joy of Shoes
- Northampton Borough Council: History of Shoes
- History of the Athletic Shoe
- Museum of Footwear, Elda Spain
- Design Museum, London