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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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    Charlene Tops

    Charlene is a certified life coach who is passionate about writing, speaking and teaching.

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    Last Updated on August 4, 2020

    8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

    8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

    Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

    What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

    By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

    I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

    Less is more.

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    Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

    What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

    Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

    1. Create Room for What’s Important

    When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

    2. More Freedom

    The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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    3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

    When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

    Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

    You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

    4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

    All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

    We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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    It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

    5. More Peace of Mind

    When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

    The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

    6. More Happiness

    When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

    You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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    7. Less Fear of Failure

    When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

    In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

    8. More Confidence

    The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

    What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

    If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

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