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10 Facts About the History of Shoes

10 Facts About the History of Shoes

I found myself at the mall the other day, just doing a bit of window shopping, when I passed by a shoe store. In the window display there were shoes of every type and color. I began wondering who makes all these fashions?  What dictates the styles that we wear? Shoes: we wear them daily and yet we know so little about the history of shoes.  Here are 10 random and some odd facts that I discovered about the history of shoes.

1. Classy shoes? Or just shoes that indicate your “class” in society?

In Ancient Egypt, slaves had no shoes or wore sandals made of palm leaves. The Commoner wore sandals made from papyrus. Those in higher status were allowed to wear pointed sandals. The colors red and yellow were reserved for the highest society only. It would be easy to see which status of society one belonged to by simply looking at the footwear they wore.

2. Ever hear the term “two left feet”?

It wasn’t until 1818, that the right shoe was invented. Until that time, there was no distinction between shoes made for left or right feet. The first pair of right and left footed shoes were made in Philadelphia. Obviously, shoes weren’t made for comfort up to this point.

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3. Wooden shoes

The wooden shoe that is often referred to as clogs were called klompens by the Dutch. Due to the fact that Holland is mostly below sea level, there are many marshy areas. The Dutch found that leather shoes would get wet and ruin easily, which is why they designed the wooden clog. Today it is still a popular tradition to wear these shoes, however they are never worn indoors. All the wooden shoes are lined up outside of one’s residence and only stocking feet are allowed in the home.

4. Shoe museum

The only shoe museum in North America is located in Toronto, Ontario. This museum showcases shoes spanning over 4,500 years. The Bata Shoe Museum has compiled exhibits by Sonja Bata.

5. Some shoes are just dangerous to wear

During the 16th Century, Aristocratic women began to wear shoes that were extremely high heeled. The heels on some of these shoes were so high that the women needed servants to help them walk. After this, stilt like shoes were invented and became the rave in Venice. Prostitutes wore these shoes and the height of the heels became so ridiculous that a law was enforced limiting the size of heels on women’s shoes. Women would fall to their death off of their shoes. Today, designer’s still like to make outrageous footwear.  Alexander McQueen, made a 10 inch heel, known as the Armadillo heels, to be worn in 2010 fashion show. Models refused to wear them because the danger they posed.

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    6. You will wear these shoes!  It’s the law

    Monarchs typically dictated the types of fashionable shoes that would and would not be worn. There are of course usually reasons behind their madness: In England, Henry VIII made wide-tied shoes popular. He made a law that shoes were to be 6 inches wide—the reason supposedly was to cover his gout-stricken feet. Louis XIV,also known as The Sun’s King, was only 5 foot 5 inches. Due to his short stature, he made high heeled shoes popular and mandatory for men.

    7. Wedding shoes

    Some odd traditions surrounding weddings and shoes include:

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    • In Hungary the groom drinks a toast to the bride out of her wedding shoe.
    • In China, one of the bride’s shoes is tossed from the roof. The shoe must be red and this gives the couple good luck in the marriage.
    • In the Middle Ages, the father and the groom-to-be would have a shoe ceremony. The father would then give the man authority over his daughter. At the wedding, the bride would put the shoe on to show she was now the groom’s possession.

    8. I can’t find my boots

    “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” is the famous quote by Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. The boots that he wore when he took the first steps on the moon are now floating in space somewhere. His boots were discarded before coming back to Earth for fear of contamination.

    9. The most expensive shoes ever

    Some people will pay a lot of money to have a pair of shoes that they want. The most expensive pair sold for $660,000 US Dollars. They were the Ruby Slippers, worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz. The ruby slippers were sold at an auction on June 2, 2000.

    10. Brilliant marketing

    Henry Nelson McKinney, an advertising agent for N. W. Ayer & Son, was the man who came up with the term “sneaker.”  This was a brilliant marketing idea for the newly invented rubber soled shoes.  He said that the rubber soles made the shoes “stealth” like so he termed them sneakers. The first sneakers were Keds and they were invented in 1917. Sneakers went international in 1923 when a German man made a sneaker and named it after himself. The sneaker is Adidas, named after Adi Dassler. This brand has been the world’s largest seller of athletic shoes.  Adidas, became famous after Jessie Owens won 4 Gold Medals, while wearing Adidas, during the 1936 Olympics.

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    There are so many interesting facts about shoes and their history.  Hope you enjoyed the random facts I shared.  I wrote this “solely” out of my own interests. Sorry, I had to “sneak” a pun in there!

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    Last Updated on May 15, 2019

    How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

    How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

    As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

    “Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

    When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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    Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

    We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

    But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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    So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

    It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

    1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

    Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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    2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

    This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

    You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

    3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

    This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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    4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

    How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

    So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

    If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

    And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

    Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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