It's hard to believe that there was ever a time in human history where we all ran around barefoot, but evidence suggests that was the case until somewhere between 40,000 and 26,000 years ago. Around that time, scientists have noticed that the thickness of the human toe decreased in fossils. Those earliest shoes were probably little more than crudely stitched leather bags around the foot to protect them from the elements, much like the Armenian sample shown below. Similarly, many native North American's wore moccasins.
As civilizations began to emerge and develop, sandals became the predominant form of footwear. Evidence of this can be found in Egyptian murals dating from about 4,000 B.C. Such sandals, with their thong design, are the precursor of the modern flip-flop. Royalty in Egypt have been discovered buried in gold sandals. Though rare, it is also known that terracota boots were worn in Athens, and various other forms of footwear were worn for theatrical performances. Among the Romans, footwear was seen as a necessity of living in a civilized world. Roman soldiers were typically issued chiral footwear.
Middle Ages/Early Modern
By the Middle Ages we began to see more variety in shoes. Espadrilles, originating on Spain in the 13th century, became a common form of footwear. By the 15th century the patten became popular among both men and women in Europe, and are seen as the precursor of the modern high-heel shoe. The Crakow was also in style, so named because it originated in Poland. Also during the 15th century, the Turkish chopines were created, typically featuring 7 to 8 inch heels. Such heels were often associated with wealth or social standing, and became very popular among royalty. In addition to high heels, pointed toes were also popular, even on armored boots worn by knights. Such shoes were called pikesman's. Among peasantry, the sabot, a shoe carved entirely from a single piece of wood, was popular. The heel trend continued into the 1600's in France, where women wore shoes with such high heels that they needed help putting them on.
With the arrival of the industrial era, methods for the manufacturing of shoes became far more varied. Since the 17th century, most leather shoes have incorporated a sewn-on sole. Other advances, such as the sewing machine, rubber, plastic, and synthetic cloth, have allowed for an incredible variety of shoes, such as the modern sneaker or tennis-shoe. Today, there are shoes for every possible occasion and purpose. There are shoes designed for individual sports, shoes for hiking, shoes for working and safety, military combat boots, and an unprecedented level of dress and casual consumer shoes. Never before in history has there been so much variety. The artistic side of shoe design has also exploded, with many shoes being designed entirely for artistic purposes. Likewise, the cost of shoes can vary widely, from very inexpensive, to absurdly pricey.
With all the variety there is, it's now possible to find a shoe to match your personality, a shoe as unique as you are. And that's where we come in. Every day we bring you new and unique shoes for every walk of life, to help you find the perfect shoe for you. Are you a rebel without a shoe? Then look no further, we've got you (and your feet) covered!