The invention of shoes can be linked back to past civilizations and to our ancestors who needed protection for covering their feet during harsh winters or while climbing rocky terrains. Our ancestors covered themselves with clothing made of animal skin, grass, and other materials; however, there was no particular clothing for the feet.
Since thousands of years, man had no suitable means of transport and so, while walking long distances, the feet would get hurt or injured. To safeguard them, sandals were invented and as time advanced, sandals evolved as shoes. Various researches suggest that the signs of first footwear that resembled shoes were found in Spanish caves some 15,000 years ago.
These drawings show men who have tied their feet with animal fur and skin around their feet. Some figures suggest grass padding and papyrus leaves trapped around the feet. This all possibly hints that our ancestors were the first inventors of shoes. As per researches, tracking the first shoe is very difficult.
Invention of the Shoe
The earliest shoes were made from various types of bark, leaves, and rawhide. The first shoes in history generally were divided into two categories: sandals and moccasins. While sandals were made for wearing in warmer regions and during summers, moccasins offered more protection to the feet. The primitive shoemakers tried to improve the grip of their shoes by punching holes around the shoes so that it can be easily tied with laces.
As times progressed, there have been drastic changes in show trends and designs. During medieval times, shoes for men became longer and pointed toward the toe as they were thought to symbolize a higher status in the society. Women, however, wore ankle shoes, which were fitted with side laces. By the 15th century, shoemakers started making higher heels for women shoes. While women shoes were manufactured in different styles and the popularity of Oxford boots (worn by Oxford students) grew rapidly, men's shoes also followed the trend. In the 17th century, trendy and stylish shoes became a fashion statement for royal families.
With technological advancements in shoe making machinery, leather soles were easily made. As technology took the driving seat, shoe manufacturing became a professional business and cobblers saw a decline in their works. Their detailed, lengthy, and time-consuming methods were replaced by machines in a few minutes. The invention of a sewing machine was seen as a great development.
While the Dutch are believed to be have introduced bulky leg boots, the English made comfortable shoes that were easy to wear and remove. Russia is known for contributing walking and hiking boots. These boots were called Alpine boots; they helped Alpine climbers, who used these shoes to climb mountains.
Since the last two centuries, shoes have transformed as a crucial accessory for fashion lovers. Various iconic companies like Bata, Nike, Reebok, and Adidas have become immensely popular for their brands and quality products. Innovation and style, both have reached great heights in shoe manufacturing units.
Nowadays, athletic shoes are engineered in such a way as to meet the requirements of runners and trainers. From providing comfort to the feet, shoes have moved on to become a status symbol.