Evolution of Footwear

New research suggests humans started wearing some sort of shoes about 40,000 years ago. But the existence of footwear can be dated back to about 10 million years ago. Early humans used materials in their natural form to create some sort of protection for their feet. They wrapped their feet with animal skin and dried leaves they obtained from the wild.

As civilisations began to develop, Egyptians developed thong sandals (antecedent to modern flip flop) but still preferred to walk barefoot. However, they did make use ‘sole less’ sandals which did not provide protection for their feet. Espadrilles were developed in the Middle Ages and were worn in the Pyrenees. They originated from the Catalonian region of Spain in the 13th century.
By the 15th century, Pattens (antecedents to modern high heeled shoes) had become popular in Europe. Also during the 15th century, Chopines were created and was used to define status, symbol and social standing. Royalties such as Catherine de Medici and Mary I of England wore them in the 16th century.

Since the 17th century, modern shoe with the sewn-on sole has been in existence while in the mid 20th century, materials like rubber, plastics, cloths and industrial adhesives have allowed manufacturers produce shoes better than the early shoes made from traditional crafting techniques.

Modern technology has allowed us to produce shoes fit for purpose and for specific activities. There are a wide variety of different types of shoes such as athletic shoes, stilettos, leather shoes, slip-on and safety footwear.

Safety footwear are very essential in an industrial and construction work environment. They protect workers feet from falling objects or compression. They comprise of steel toe cap, electrical resistance (conductive and anti-static), insulation (against cold and heat), and water penetration resistance. Also, they come in styles including safety boots, safety shoes and work boots.

Now we can carry out our daily activities knowing that we have some sort of protection for our feet. The sky is the limit to the improvements on the welfare of mankind.

Author: Hafis Kolawole-Oduntan
Source: www.sportsdirect.com

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