Footwear consists of garments that are worn over the feet to provide protection and hygiene, along with fashion and adornment. In fact, it is considered as an extension of one’s personality. The early footwear pieces were made from straw, leather, cowhide and grasses. The basic use of these shoes was to provide protective coverings for the foot. Today, the main components used to assemble footwear are adhesives, cushion, counter fort, heel, hook, insole, laces, sole, steel shank, tack, toe puff, tread and welt. In case you want to explore interesting and amazing information on the origin and background of footwear, along with its complete history, explore this article.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Footwear
Footwear has a long history of invention, which dates back to some 5 million years ago. The unkind weather conditions of that time gave way to footwear, which mainly consisted of wrapping the feet with dried leaves, animal skin or leather. Some evidences show that the use of footwear (with similarity to the present one) came towards the end of the Paleolithic Period, some 9,000 to 12,000 years back. It was around the same time that humans learned the art of tanning leather. Initially, the footwear pieces were made of leather or dried grass. Gradually, an oval piece of leather came to be bound by a piece of strong leather thongs, to form a piece of footwear. The first crafted footwear comprised of sandals, which were the successors of the wrappings.
Looking back into the history of footwear, we see the paintings in Egyptian funeral chambers showing different stages in the preparation of leather and footwear. The images also depict that footwear in Egypt represented class and power. Different sandals were crafted for different classes of people. The Pharaohs’ sandals had turned-up toes, while this feature was missing in a commoner’s sandals. Straw, papyrus and palm fiber were the materials used for making Egyptian sandals. Women went a step ahead and adorned precious stones and jewels in their footwear.
There are material evidences showing that Greeks used different kinds of footwear for different activities. The reason behind this is that they loved their feet and used to take good care of them. Greek women wore sandals to signify their social class. Their footwear was considered as a sign of beauty, elegance, refinement and extravagance. It is also known that women with a bad reputation wore elevated sandals to attract men towards them. These sandals created a “clacking” sound when their wearer moved, which was considered a symbolic flaunting of sexual charms.
Mesopotamia saw leather wrappings tied to the feet by a strip of leather as the footwear. Romans went a step ahead and created durable thongs that enabled their legions to travel to places on foot. Footwear fetishes also began during that time, when Senator Lucius Vitellus (Roman senator who served three times as consul of Rome) kissed the shoe of his mistress (hidden in his tunic). In Rome also, footwear exhibited class. While the consuls wore white shoes, the senators wore brown ones. The rest of the region wore a short pair of boots that uncovered the toes, as the uniform footwear. One feature that was common to all the early civilizations was that footwear clearly indicated social status.
In the present times, footwear can be classified into boots, industrial footwear, shoes and sandals. Boots come in a large variety, such as cowboy boots, galoshes, ski boots, thigh length boots, etc. Industrial footwear is used in laboratories, construction sites and production lines and includes plastic boots and rubber loafers. Athletic shoes, climbing shoes, clogs, high heels, moccasins, mules, tap shoes and cross-training shoes are the popular kinds of shoes. Sandals, on the other hand, include espadrilles, flip-flops, thongs, slide-ons and slippers. The moccasins once worn in early times are still common in cold countries and the sandals created by Egyptians are popular in hotter countries.