The evolution of shoes- How they became integral to our wardrobe

The evolution of shoes- How they became integral to our wardrobe

Nov 27, 2021

Can you imagine owning no shoes? We cannot even think of leaving home without them, let alone not having them. The type of shoes worn has evolved with the evolution of mankind. Initially, shoes were worn to protect against sharp objects, insect bites, and ease in walking. Slowly but surely, advanced versions of them began to be worn as status symbols and for sports, being made with leather, bark, grass, and lately, latex, fiber, and other synthetic materials.

Nowadays, there are shoes available for each sport and occasion. The moment their old sneakers give way, people buy sneakers online and get them delivered home in no time. Things were very different in the past.

The first shoes in history

Shoes have been worn since the beginning of human society thousands of years ago. Archaeologists have discovered shoes that date back 40,000 years ago. Those days, rudimentary shoes were made by stitching together pieces of leather or other naturally available materials.

The History of Footwear in the Middle Ages

Fast forward to the Middle Ages (Between 476 AD and 1453 AD) and we have the espadrilles trend coming into Central Europe from Southern Europe. Made from jute canvas, these shoes were ideal for being light and comfortable.

(Image source- katrinshine.blogspot)

In those days, women’s and men’s shoes were quite similar, only the designs and materials used differed amongst social classes. Across cultures, shoes and sandals were made with locally available materials.

It was during this time that high heels were invented. Initially, they were worn by men as they helped keep the feet steady in the saddle. It also helped to keep the wearer away from the ground while relieving themselves, as modern commodes were not yet invented.

The history of shoes in the early modern times

Before the 1500s, shoe fashion was mainly dictated by men. Women in those days wore shoes under their dresses. For aristocratic men, high heels were a status symbol. Kings during those days wore high heels to establish their supremacy. In Europe, Spain and Italy were the main regions where shoes were manufactured. Shoes were made with expensive materials like satin, silk, velvet and were decorated with ribbons, gemstones, and artificial flowers.

These were also the days when shoe fashions reached quirky and impractical levels. In Europe, there was the trend of the ‘Chopines’ which were shoes which had a high sole for people in the higher sections of society.

(Image source- collectorsweekly)

These were made with wood and other such materials. Another quirky fashion trend was of the ‘Poulaines’ , a pointy long shoe that made it difficult to walk in. These shoes, inspired by Gothic architecture, were reserved for the rich and famous.

(Image source-

Nevertheless, in the 1800s, shoe styles for men and women changed drastically. This was partly due to the technological advances in shoemaking. During the Napoleonic era, these technological revolutions meant that fabric shoes gained popularity.

During the Industrial Revolution, skilled craftsmen and inventors in England and the US came up with footwear sewing machines which made mass production of fabric-footwear possible. This was the time when shoes and sneakers under retail price meant even poor people could afford to wear a pair of good quality shoes.

Shoes in modern times

Cheaper materials, separate shoes for men and women, and the spread of pop culture changed the way people wore shoes for the better. This was the time when heeled shoes became popular with women. In fact, heeled shoes for women are now a timeless trend.

Sneakers were invented, making them the main types of shoes to be worn daily. Greater demand for cheaper shoes heralded the introduction of synthetic materials in shoemaking. Shoes now become cheaper than ever.

People no longer had just a few pairs of shoes, everyone had shoes for special uses- sports shoes, formal shoes, casual shoes, sneakers, and so on.

In the twenty-first century, access to the latest trendy shoes is now possible with the click of a button. All you have to do is visit the Best online sneaker store and order the shoes you want.

Shopping online for shoes has revolutionized the shoe-making industry. Time constraints mean that ordering your shoes online is practical for the millions of people across the world who have access to the internet.

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