The shoe industry, especially women’s shoes, is constantly changing to keep up with the newest trends and seasons. Like other great industries, in order to move forward you need to know where you came from. We will be sharing with you some history on women's shoes, and trust me some of these are truly fascinating!
1. MEN WERE THE FIRST TO WEAR HEELS
Harry Styles - Vogue December 2020 Photography Tyler Mitchell
It’s true! Harry Styles’ fashion choice to wear a dress on the cover of Vogue magazine’s December 2020 edition wasn’t the only fashion trend set in place by men!
Though the origin of who created the high heel is still a mystery, it’s history dates back to Western Asia and was popularized by European royalty. Over time the heel became a symbol of status and wealth. It allowed those who wore them to ride more comfortably in their stirrups and walk through puddles without fear of what they were walking into.
King Louis XIV of France spread the popularity of the high heel rampant across Europe. He was among the first royals to show his status and wealth through footwear and deemed that the higher he was off the ground the more power he portrayed.
2. BARLEY GRAIN WAS THE FIRST METHOD OF SIZING SHOES
Who knew whiskey and feet had so much in common?
Linear measurements of feet were unified by Edward I in 1308, who ordained that three grains of barley equaled one inch. This proclamation enabled people to measure in inches accurately for the first time!
So now you can technically say that “My foot is not just 9 inches long, it is also approximately 27 barleycorns long”...but that's a mouthful, so maybe just say inches!
3. LEFT & RIGHT SHOES WERE BOTH LEFTY'S AT ONE POINT
Have you ever heard the term “two left feet”? This is where that cliché originates.
It wasn’t until 1818, in Philadelphia, that the right shoe was created. Before this time shoes weren’t made for comfort so there was no need to distinguish between the two.
4. SNEAKING IN SNEAKERS
Ever wonder how certain pairs of shoes got their names? Well this one has an even more interesting background!
In most countries they are called tennis shoes. “Sneakers'' became a nickname for tennis shoes from the book, Female Life in Prison, By a Prison Matron. It is about prison life for females in 19th century England. This was the first time the word ‘sneak’ was used in terms of a shoe referring to the rubber-soled shoes worn by the prison guards to catch prisoners out of line.
Prior to rubber-soled shoes, they were made from leather making it quite obvious where and what someone was getting into.
I think I will keep this note in the back of my head and make my future children wear leather soled shoes so I can keep track of them!
5. QUEEN VICTORIA WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO WEAR BOOTS
Victoria Larson & Matt James | Craig Sjddin | ABC
In 1837, Queen Victoria was presented with her first pair of elastic sided boots by Englishman shoemaker Joseph Sparks Hall.
These boots, only worn by men at the time, took out all of the unnecessary and frustrating buttons and laces that normally accompanied a pair of boots. After the invention, the boots were a hot commodity and were worn by all classes.
Maybe ‘Queen Victoria’ should wear boots to the next Rose Ceremony if she wants to live up to her title!
6. THE WEDGE WAS INVENTED OUT OF NECESSITY
During World War II, shortages of materials were inevitable as they were putting many of their assets into the war effort. This left designers, crafters, and tradesmen of all kinds scrambling to innovate new ways of creating their products.
This was no different for Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo. He created the wedge heel out of necessity because there was such a shortage of leather and rubber during the war. Ferragamo used cork and wood to create an orthopedic wedge in 1935, and the wedge heel in 1936. From this he learned that cork was more popular than wood due to its light-weight and durability.
7. AUDREY HEPBURN DESERVES A ROUND OF APPLAUSE
Many know Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's; however, she was breaking stereotypes before that movie was released. The loafer and flats became Audrey Hepburn’s signature shoe as first seen in 1957’s movie Funny Face. After that flats became the face of youth culture around the world fighting against the mainstream.
So the next time you put on your flats, consider yourself carrying on the legacy of a fashion icon.
8. SUNBATHING IN THE 1930'S LEAD TO OPEN-TOED SHOES
The classical sandal reappeared in the 1930’s as a casual shoe for the beach and eventually turned open-toed shoes into evening wear.
This led to 1939 when open-toed pumps were shown for the first time.
9. HOW HIGH IS TOO HIGH?
During the middle ages both women and men would wear “pattens” which were wooden soles attached to the bottoms of their shoes to keep the shoes out of the mud and other street debris.
“Chopines'', or platform shoes, were popularized in Europe in the mid-1600’s that would rise around 30 inches and sometimes more. Could you imagine walking around like that? It makes sense why those who wore them were of higher class and needed servants to assist them in walking from one place to another!
While “pattens” and “chopines” may look similar, they both served different purposes. “Pattens” served both sexes and served the purpose of preserving the shoes while “chopines” were only for women.
10. AN AVERAGE WOMAN WILL BUY 469 PAIRS OF SHOES
That’s nearly $25,000 on SHOES in her lifetime!
That is averaging about $53 per pair of shoes! That doesn't even include shoes in multiple colors or shoes for special occasions.
That is a lot of money and space! No worries, Stelona Shoes is here to allow you to have more shoes with no hassle. Save space in your budget, closet, and suitcase by joining us on this journey. You and your feet are worth the investment.