1 – Fossil feet
Scientific analysis conducted on the remain of our forebears concludes that, based on the rigidity of the big and middle toe bones, humans have been donning footwear for about 40,000 years. Well-preserved, 5000 year-old remains of an “iceman” were found with shoes constructed of leather and straw, a far cry from the range of quality Clarks mens shoes that a gentlemen could choose today.
If you think today’s ‘winkle pickers’ have an unnecessarily pointy toe, you’ll be amazed to hear that some ‘poulaine’ (meaning Polish) shoes from the 14th century measured 45cm long. The wearer would have chains attached to the shoes so they could lift them to walk - the longer the shoe, the higher the social status.
3 – Don’t step on my red suede shoes
Traditionally, red has been a colour to mark social status and wealth. Red heels caused such a stir in 16th century France that all heels used to be red throughout Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.
4 - Ouch
Shoes were identical for the left and right feet until the 19th century when shoe makers in Philadelphia started making a left and right shoe.
Platform shoes used to be a purely functional item to keep wearers feet from the dirt. Stemming from a fashion in 14th century Venice, some platform shoes reached 77cm in height. High platforms displayed wealth as the wearer would need a servant propping them up on each side.
6 - Unisex
There weren’t separate styles for men’s and women’s shoes in Europe until the 18th century.
7 – The original sand shoe
In the Middle East, heels were only added to shoes to keep the wearers feet away from the burning sand.
8 – Do you take this shoe...
In the middle ages, a husband would take authority of his bride from her father with a shoe ceremony. When the husband gave the shoe to his wife, it would show that she was now his subject.
9 – Shoe is a four-letter word
In Biblical Antiquity, an oath would be sworn by the giving of a sandal.
10 – Fit for a Queen
Queen Victoria was the first recipient of a designer lady’s boot in 1840.