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A Walk into the Past -The History of Shoes

Pair of vintage green shoes

The creation of shoes began with the sole intention of practicality and has since grown into an industry of art as well as functionality. Since shoes first appeared many changes have occurred although most shoes share the same standard characteristics. From materials, to color, to design, shoes have evolved over thousands of years.

Based on archeological evidence it can be approximated shoes were invented around 40,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic period.

In the Ancient Middle East, the earliest of shoes was something that resembled the modern-day sandal. They were generally crafted from rushes which were woven or twisted together. People of higher status wore sandals of finer wraparound leathers and more elaborate decorations.

The start of modern footwear came a few thousand years later. During the early Baroque period men’s and women’s shoes were similar. The differentiation of social classes was shown through the different materials their shoes were crafted of.

1950s vintage shoes

I have had the pleasure of meeting up with Ren recently and taking a few shots of her favorite every day and dressier vintage attire. We both agree mixing contemporary pieces with vintage pieces can make for a fabulous look!

To the right, Ren has styled a gorgeous 50s floral patterned blouse, adorned with crystal embellished buttons, with a pair of modern pink capri pants and a vintage raffia bag. Her fabulous glasses are a remake of 1960s cat eyed frames made from leucite and elaborated with rhinestones. Her jewelry is contemporary and adds a little bit of glam to the whole look.

Once the 20th century approached shoemakers began making specific shoes for the right and left foot. Until 1850, there difference between the right and left shoe, rather they were made straight due to the complexity of creating a shoe for two different feet. By making a specific shoe for each foot, shoes became increasingly comfortable. Footwear continued to change throughout the 20th century as technology advanced.

Today black and brown shoes are a staple piece in nearly everyone’s wardrobe. These colors came into play during the great depression. Later this look translated in the Oxford, which was commonly worn by women. Following World War II women’s shoes became arched, in the hope of highlighting the foot. As time went on the heel became narrower.

Footwear changed once again when women began to enter the workforce. The platform emerged in the early seventies as well as the wedge. Although these styles faded out in the eighties and nineties, they remanded a staple piece in some women’s wardrobes.

Shoes were used as a statement piece by the time the eighties rolled around. The famous Doc Martens were once considered an “anti-fashion” statement but became fashionable around the late eighties and early nineties. Such styles are still popular today.

Black vintage shoes

Shoes are now not only made for function and or comfort. Many designers focus on creating a shoe for every occasion, style, or mood. Whether you are a shoe lover or one who appreciates them simply for function, its safe to say shoes are only advancing.

Written By Guest Blogger: Sarah G.