Wearing the style of shoes we see today is commonplace. It is normal to see tennis shoes or ballerina style shoes being worn as an everyday and usual occurrence. These shoes make it to the office, to the playing courts, and to have dinner. This was not the case forty years ago or even one hundred years ago. The evolution of shoes and how we wear them has changed and today's shoes are just as concerned with art as they are with functionality.
Shoes were initially made out of leather, wood or canvas. This has changed to where shoes are made out of plastics, altered alternative products such as trees and plants as well as recycled and upcycled products or even trash. An example of how far shoes have come is the example from Northern Europe. Poorer people from Northern European cultures used to wear shoes made from the fibre from tree bark. The shoes were called bast or lapti. These shoes do not sound comfortable. The distinct shoes were woven like a basket. This is what the poor people could afford. Fast forward to the 1900s and peasants were wearing wooden patens with leather boots. The wood was to keep the feet dry.
The Will To Make It
The feel and look of shoes focuses on fashion and sometimes fetish, but also on how the foot absorbs the shock from walking or running. The aim is to reduce the wear and tear to the knees and legs. This realization of wear and tear on the body lead to technology that can pinpoint how to address this issue. There are many choices to choose from when it comes to the type of impact the body is feeling from walking or running. Footwear can affect the knee joints and wearing the wrong shoes can make knee pain worse. The solution is to wear well-cushioned footwear and not give a shock to the knees. Cushioned shoes prevent shock from getting to the knees. Hard surfaces and repetition from working a job where you are standing all day are the enemies, but with the right shoe you could run or stand up longer for hours without any pain. Shoes have taken on a new life and are now considerate of many ailments. People with low or no arch can wear firm soles or mid-soles.
Shoes were initially made to protect the feet from the ground and from the weather. As time
passed shoes became support for foot problems and even back problems offering arch support as well as a gentler place for the feet to be. The evolution of shoes has brought about changes that support better foot treatment as well as styles. Nurses can wear shoes that showcase their favourite colour or even football teams while still keeping the feet comfortable during long shifts. Ballerina type shoes now come in all types of colours, including all skin tones. For heavy working, there are now lace up safety boots for those in the construction field. The purpose of protecting the feet still stays intact with the variations in style with time.
Up until the 1850s shoes did not have a left or right shoe to differentiate. Shoes have come a long way and our way of looking at shoes has changed too. Workers shoes did not always have support and style. Before steel toe shoes were created workers wore leather boots or wooden clogs. Steel toe shoes had to be created due to safety issues on the job. This influenced the shoe industry to provide protection in the toes of the shoes. Now there are laws and regulations to regulate footwear on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has rules and regulations about workplace safety. There is a legal section, section 29 CFR 1910.136 and it is all about occupational foot protection. In order for a worker to begin working he or she must buy and wear this type of shoe on jobs regulated by these rules. The regulations vary in some jurisdictions. When employees wear the appropriate footwear it reduces injuries on the job. This increases productivity too and cuts lost work hours.
The graduation of the way we wear and look at shoes has come a long way. The journey of the shoe continues as technology advances.