Shoes are often looked at as a status symbol, from expensive shoes made by various designers to factory produced shoes meant to offer each individual freedom of expression. Whatever choice a person wears and for whatever reasons, shoes have come through history with many tantalizing tales.
Shoes are intended to protect and comfort our feet, however with fashion and fads often leading the pace, both can be afforded when style makes its impressions upon the consumer. From toe-less to stilettos, shoes offer insight into a person's individual style and sends a message to those they walk beside.
The oldest shoes found on record, date from around 8000-7000 BC; discovered in Oregon sometime in the late 1930's. The earliest known leather shoes were made from a single piece of cowhide and laced with leather cords at the seams; recently found in a cave in Armenia, carbon dating sets them from 3300 BC. However, anthropologists believe that shoes may date back an astounding 26,000 years, making it one of our most needed and desired of accessories.
Since the 17th century, most leather shoes have used a sewn-on sole which is still incorporated in higher quality designed shoes to this day. It wasn't until the 18th century that the feet began to be differentiated and soles were cut to match the shape of a person's foot making them more comfortable to wear. Since the advancement of synthetic materials, rubbers, plastics as well as adhesives making their dominance known; shoe creation have lost their hand made flavour, as companies mass produce designs and styles by machine stitching or glue. Hand made leather shoes are expensive accessories these days as factory shoes take over allowing niche shoe wearers a more well-designed, long-lasting product.
Even though hand-made leather shoes are more expensive, they are more environmentally friendly than your synthetic counterparts, having more natural attributes than their lesser grade cousins. Some analysts have predicted that many of the lesser made shoes may never break down raising concerns over the chemical makeup and potential damage to the Earth's environment.
Let it be said, however, if cheap is your standard, then be prepared to spend more money over time than affording a well made pair. The old adage, you pay for what you get does ring true when it comes to shoes and the price your willing to pay for comfort, durability and style.
Designs, styles and production may have changed over the years and with the diverse expression of the shoe industry, there is a pair out there that everyone can enjoy. From your more élite, expensive hand made shoes to your mass produced factory products, shoes will remain a part of our lives, comfort or fashion, shoes have made a statement for thousands of years and will for many more.
I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog for handmade shoes and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.