100 Shoes Facts

100 Shoes Facts

Some Fundamentals

  1. Basic shoes parts: Sole, Insole, Outsole, Midsole, Heel, Vamp or upper.
  2. Shoes making process. Usually making a shoes consists of the 6 following steps: Last making; Pattern Making; Clicking; Closing; Making; Finishing. And a shoes factory usually consists of 4 departments: Clicking or Cutting Department; Closing or Machining Department; Lasting & Making Department; Finishing Department and the Shoe Room.
  3. Over 100 different operations go into the construction of an individual shoe.

Historical facts

  1. The history of human development shows that the importance of protecting the foot was early recognized. Records of the Egyptians, the Chinese and other early civilizations all contain references to shoes. The shoe is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible and the Hebrews used it in several instances with a legal significance, notably in binding a bargain.
  2. 4,000 years ago the first shoes were made of a single piece of rawhide that enveloped the foot for both warmth and protection.
  3. Sturdy shoes first came into widespread use between 40,000 and 26,000 years ago, according to a US scientist. Humans’ small toes became weaker during this time, says physical anthropologist Erik Trinkaus, who has studied scores of early human foot bones. He attributes this anatomical change to the invention of rugged shoes, that reduced our need for strong, flexible toes to grip and balance.
  4. The first known images of footwear are boots depicted in 15,000 year old Spanish cave paintings.
  5. In Europe pointed toes on shoes were fashionable from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries.
  6. In the Middle East heels were added to shoes to lift the foot from the burning sand.

10.  In Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries heels on shoes were always colored red.

11.  Shoes all over the world were identical until the nineteenth century, when left- and right-footed shoes were first made in Philadelphia.

12.  In Europe it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that women’s shoes were different from men’s.

13.  The first lady’s boot was designed for Queen Victoria in 1840.

14.  Six-inch-high heels were worn by the upper classes in seventeenth-century Europe. Two servants, one on either side, were needed to hold up the person wearing the high heels.

15.  Grecian shoes were peculiar in reaching to the middle of the legs.

16.  The present fashion of shoes was introduced into England in 1633.

17.  In the ninth and tenth centuries the greatest princes of Europe wore wooden shoes.

18.  Slippers were in use before Shakespeare’s time, and were originally made “rights” and “lefts.”

19.  In the reign of William Rufus of England, in the eleventh century, a great beau, “Robert, the Horned,” used shoes with sharp points, stuffed with tow, and twisted like rams’ horns.

20.  The Romans made use of two kinds of shoes–the solea, or sandal, which covered the sole of the foot, and was worn at home and in company, and the calceus, which covered the whole foot and was always worn with the toga when a person went abroad.

21.  In the reign of Richard II., shoes were of such absurd length as to require to be supported by being tied to the knees with chains, sometimes of gold and silver. In 1463 the English parliament took the matter in hand and passed an act forbidding shoes with spikes more than two inches in length being worn and manufactured.

22.  Up to 1850 all shoes were made with practically the same hand tools that were used in Egypt as early as the 14th century B.C. as a part of a sandal maker’s equipment. To the curved awl, the chisel-like knife and the scraper, the shoemakers of the thirty-three intervening centuries had added only a few simple tools such as the pincers, the lapstone, the hammer and a variety of rubbing sticks used for finishing edges and heels.

23.  In 1845 the first machine to find a permanent place in the shoe industry came into use. It was the Rolling Machine, which replaced the lapstone and hammer previously used by hand shoemakers for pounding sole leather, a method of increasing wear by compacting the fibres.

24.  In 1858, Lyman R.Blake, a shoemaker, invented a machine for sewing the soles of shoes to the uppers.His patents were purchased by Gordon McKay, who improved upon Blake’s invention. The shoes made on this machine came to be called “McKays.”

25.  In 1875 a machine for making a different type of shoe was developed. Later known as the Goodyear Welt Sewing Machine, it was used for making both Welt and Turn shoes. These machines became successful under the management of Charles Goodyear, Jr., the son of the famous inventor of the process of vulcanizing rubber.

26.  High heels for women are believed to have originated with Catherine de Medici, a 16th century Italian noblewoman who was short in stature and wanted to make a bigger impression when she arrived in France to marry the future King Henry.

27.  In 18th century legislation designed to create paved walkways within cities allowed women to wear less practical shoes with higher heels

28.  Sneakers were first made in America in 1916. They were originally called keds.

29.  The open-toed shoe became fashionable in the 1930s as a result of the new vogue for sunbathing.

30.  Roger-Henri Vivier is credited with inventing (or at least re-popularizing) the stiletto heel in the 1950s.

31.  Despite all of cutbacks during World War II, high shoes were very in style. Designers created tall, uplifting heels using materials that weren’t rationed, like wood straw and snakeskin.

32.  The boots Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in are still floating around in space.

Types of Shoes

33.  Boots were first worn in cold, mountainous regions and hot, sandy deserts where horse-riding communities lived. Heels on boots kept feet secure in the stirrups.

34.  Sandals originated in warm climates where the soles of the feet needed protection but the top of the foot needed to be cool.

35.  Pumps – These are shoes where the foot is supported all around the shoe front, back and on both sides and can have an ankle strap. The sole is a one piece type with a heel of any size with a high heel pump often called a stiletto.

36.  Open toe shoe – This is basically a pump shoe as described above where the front is cut away to expose all of the toes. When this is done to only expose the big toe or middle toes using a smaller cutaway it would be refered to as a peep hole shoe.

37.  Wedge Shoe – This is any type of heeled footwear where the there is no gap below the sole meaning the full length of the base of the shoe makes contact with the ground.

38.  Mule – This type of shoe is one which has a heel but has no support around the ankle and rear of the shoe or another way to describe it is as a heeled flip flop. These can be completely closed at the front or cut away as an open toe or peep hole shoe.

39.  Mary Jane – This can be a flat or heeled shoe which like a pump encloses the foot all the way around it. The front of this shoe will be square or very slightly rounded with a cross strap running across the foot central between the ankle and toes.

40.  Boots – These are shoes which completely enclose the foot and can come in flat, wedge and heeled styles. There are various types with the shortest being the Ankle high boot which reaches just above the ankle then it’s the Knee high boot which stops just before reaching the knee and the Thigh high which covers the leg all the way to the thigh. Two lesser known boots are the crotch boots which reach all the way up the leg to the crotch and the Chap boot which is a modified crotch boot which has a piece of material which reaches over the hips and secured around the waist with a belt.

41.  Sandals – These are where the sole of shoe can be flat, wedged or heeled and the upper part is made up of straps which can be arranged in any form to secure the shoe. This means that the toes and most of the sides and top are uncovered and the straps can even go up the leg towards the knee and this type of sandal is often called a gladiator sandal. Oxford – This is the name given to a shoe which encloses the foot and is laced up along the top this can be a flat, heeled or wedge styled shoe.

42.  D’Orsay – This is a shoe which has no sides but has a support at the heel area and the toes are covered this can be with or without an ankle strap.

43.  Platform – this is a shoe which has a multiple layered sole to elevate the wearer.

Women and shoes

44.  A poll of 1,057 women by the Consumer Reports National Research Center for shopping magazine ShopSmart found U.S. women on average own 19 pairs of shoes although they only wear four pairs regularly while 15 percent have over 30 pairs.

45.  According to Glamour, the average woman will buy 469 pairs of shoes in her lifetime. All in all, she will end up spending $25,000 on shoes.

46.  Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos owned 1,200 pairs of shoes.

47.  What Madonna wears: Being one of the most elegant women all over the world, Madonna is a shoes collector. Her wardrobe today contains several hundreds pairs. Some of her shoes are so precious and fragile, that Madonna never puts them on and keeps carefully packed in silk paper. Only sometimes she takes them out of the wardrobe, has a look at the shoes- and then hides them again. However, the singer does not disdain to wear less luxurious shoes, for example, Adidas or Converse sneakers. Usually she buys a new pair long before this design appears in the shops.

48.  A new report indicates that on average, women begin wearing at age 12 and continue doing so until they’re 63.

49.  Altocalciphilia is the condition of having a high heel fetish, as in “Carrie Bradshaw had a borderline case of altocalciphilia.”

Symbolism and Superstition of Shoes

50.  In Biblical times a sandal was given as a sign of an oath.

51.  In the Middle Ages a father passed his authority over his daughter to her husband in a shoe ceremony. At the wedding, the groom handed the bride a shoe, which she put on to show she was then his subject.

52.  Today in the U.S. shoes are tied to the bumper of the bridal couple’s car. This is a reminder of the days when a father gave the groom one of his daughter’s shoes as a symbol of a changing caretaker.

53.  In Hungary the groom drinks a toast to his bride out of her wedding slipper.

54.  Shoe dreams deal with walking certain paths in our lives. If you are wearing tight Shoes, the road you are traveling is hard, and much sorrow is involved. Comfortable Shoes indicate you are in a good place in your life and success is around the corner. Buying Shoes indicates you still have quite a distance to travel until you reach your goals. Dirty, worn-down Shoes encourage us to examine our spiritual walk, or ask us to take a walk of faith.

55.  Superstition says that to dream of losing a shoe predicts an illness. This may originate from an old rural superstition from the UK that advises to burn a smelly old shoe in the home to avoid infection in the house. Dusty shoes indicate an unexpected journey and shinny shoes mean happiness in love.

56.  In the Western world, tossing old boots in the wake of departing ships was thought to insure a sailor’s safe return home. This tradition is carried out in modern times by tying shoes to the car bumpers after a wedding.  This action is said to:1, assure a happy home life; 2, keep a husband from wandering; 3, and all the roads a family takes will always lead back to the home.

57.  In matters of love, if shoes are placed on the left side of the bed in the form of a “T” it is said that a vision of your love will come to call in your sleep. Do not put your shoes souls up under your bed, as superstitions indicate this will cause nightmares and cramps.

58.  Placing shoes caddywampus in your doorway is a good way to outsmart devils from entering your door.  Place one shoe with toes facing out the door, and the other shoe with toes facing in – this is said to confuse dense little demons and keep your home evil-free.

59.  Placing shoes on top of a table is symbolic of death. The origin of this superstition comes from the times of hangings in which convicted prisoners were hanged with their shoes still on.  Upon letting loose of the noose, their shoes would tap on the surface – the association was translated to table tops.

60.  Itchy Feet: An itching foot foretold a long journey from which the person would derive pleasure (or walk on strange/foreign ground). If it was the right sole then the person was either going somewhere they would be welcomed; or would undertake a task and be successful in it. The opposite was true for the left sole. Itching feet could also mean a sign of sorrow and some believed it was the forecast of a new shoes. In the Middle Ages shoes neede to be broken in which might mean a sorry situation, also the ida of new shoe may related to a death in the family.

Shoes Etiquettes

61.  Leaving Your Outdoor Shoes at the Door: In Japan it is customary for a person entering establishments or homes to leave there outdoor shoes at the door and slip into a pair of slippers. This custom has evolved into a custom for many people in every culture. The proper shoe etiquettes depend on where you are and what the preferred custom requires.

62.  Shoes ETIQUETTES IN ISLAM: When putting on shoes, begin by placing the right foot into the right shoe first. When removing the shoes, remove the left shoe first. Do not walk while wearing one shoe only, either wear both shoes or remove both.

63.  According to the Code of Jewish law (the Shulchan Aruch), when putting on shoes, the right shoe goes on first. When tying shoes. the left shoe is tied first. When shoes are taken off, the left shoe comes off first. This custom is based on the belief that the right is more important than the left. Therefore, the right foot should not remain uncovered while the left is covered. Shoes should be tied from the left since knotted teffilin is worn on the left arm.

64.  On the historic day of mourning, Tisha b’Av, Jews are prohibited from wearing leather shoes. The same prohibition applies on Yom Kippur to show remorse and penance. In the Book of Isaiah (20:2), Isaiah is commanded to remove his sandals as a sign of mourning. Shoes also play a part in the mourning period after a death. During the period of shiva, the seven days of mourning, leather shoes may not be worn. In Talmudic times, both the pall bearers and the mourners went barefoot.

65.  The question of shoes also arises in Jewish burials. The body of the deceased may be wearing shoes, but only if the shoes are made of linen or cotton. Most Jews are buried in a shroud which covers the feet, so the issue never arises.

66.  It is against the law to take your shoes off if you have smelly feet in a theatre in Winnatka, Illinois.

67.  It is illegal to walk down a street in Maine with your shoelaces untied.

68.  In Ohio, women are prohibited from wearing patent leather shoes in public.

69.  In North Dakota, it is illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on.

Chinese shoes facts

70.  In the early 10th century, Emperor Li Yu of the Southern Tang dynasty in China ordered one of his slave girls to bind her feet in silk ribbons and dance on a platform littered with golden lotus flowers. From that day on, foot binding was often associated with the term golden lotus.

71.  Foot binding was seen as a sign of beauty and attractiveness. Once a girl was of marriageable age, prospective mother-in-laws would come around and pick a wife for her son by the appearance of the girl’s feet.

72.  Since foot binding made it virtually impossible for women to get around on their own, many peasant women did not bind their feet. They had to work in the rice fields, and later the tea factories, so they had to be able to use their feet.

73.  The shoes of palace women during the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) were red. Accompanied by beautiful figures and thick soles, they were very fancy and honorable.

74.  In the shoe family, Chinese-style embroidered shoes, which have been deemed as a perfect combination of the shoe culture and the art of embroidery, are a 100-percent handicraft creation by Chinese people. Deeply rooted in Chinese culture, they are reputed as “Chinese shoes”.

75.  Many young people believe embroidered shoes add a touch of elegance to the modern woman without looking too conservative. And more than 20 ethnic groups still wear embroidered shoes as part of their characteristic dress. Embroidered shoes have become more than footwear these days — they are one of the nation’s cultural treasures.

76.  Auspicious Wedding Shoes: During the wedding ceremony, the bride usually wears special wedding shoes. For example, in Southern Fujian Province, the bride has to wear a pair of shoes embroidered with patterns of a turtle or a deer, which symbolizes blessing, happiness, and longevity after marriage.

77.  In China one of the bride’s red shoes is tossed from the roof to ensure happiness for the bridal couple.

78.  In ancient times, males were referred to as Qian (symbol of heaven in the Eight Trigrams, or the eight energies in the T’ai chi martial art), and females, as Kun (symbol of earth in the Eight Trigrams). Women’s shoes are therefore called Kun shoes.

79.  During the Han Dynasty(206BC-220AD), when a woman was getting married, she usually wore a pair of wooden sandals painted with colorful patterns and fastened by colorful ribbons, both of which were seen as auspicious symbols.

80.  During the Southern Dynasty(420-589), if a man was to take a wife, he had to first present to the woman a new pair of silk shoes when delivering betrothal gifts. The custom continued in many places, such as in Ningbo and Yinxian cities of today’s Zhejiang Provincein East China, during the dynasty’s Guangxu Period.

81.  The “Sifting Shoes” Custom: There is an interesting custom called “sifting shoes” among today’s Zhuang Ethnic Minority people today. When two young people get married, the bride’s sisters escort her to the bridegroom’s family. Then a wedding ceremony is held, in which the bride and bridegroom make formal bows to the groom’s parents. After that, the escorts sing songs together before the bridegroom’s family lay out the wedding banquet, during which the ritual of tea or wine serving is held. As the escorts are beginning to take leave, a young man brings out a sift (container of sort) and begins “sifting shoes”.

Some extreme facts

82.  Biggest Shoes in the World: Marikina City owns the distinction of having crafted the world’s largest pair of shoes, each measuring 5.5 meters long, 2.25 meters wide and 1.83 meters high. The heel alone measures 41 centimeters or 16 inches. The P2-million shoes can reportedly fit to a 37.5-meter or 125-foot giant. Around 30 people could put their feet into the colossal shoes simultaneously.

83.  The most expensive shoes: Ruby Slippers from House of Harry Winston: $3.000.000. This Ruby Slippers is the most expensive and as well as spectacular and splendid slippers in the world. This slippers is the achievement of Ronald Winston, the designer of the House of Harry Winston. The beauty of design coming from 4,600 rubies of 1,350 carats. This shoes has adorned the feet of Judy Garland.

84.  The Bata Shoe Museum, located in Toronto, Canada, is the only shoe museum in North America.

85.  The Guinness World Record for most people running in high heeled shoes is 155.

86.  80 craftsmen will touch one pair of Stuart Weitzman heels during the 6 to 7 weeks of production time it takes to make them.

Shoes in fairy tales

87.  Cinderella is the obvious first…then there’s Anderson’s “Little Match Seller”, who has her shoes stolen by ragamuffins. There’s also the girl from “The Red Shoes”, which is quite a creepy and wonderful story. The mermaid from “The Little Mermaid” feels as if she’s walking on knives all the time, though that isn’t really shoes. On to Grimm. There’s the little sister in “The Almond Tree” who gets a pair of shoes from her dead brother. There’s “The Shoemaker and the Elves”, though I don’t think that has anything to do with women, if that’s your topic. The girls in “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” wear out their shoes. If you want to go as far as Hoffman, Clara from “The Nutcracker” defeats the mouse king by throwing her shoe at him. Don’t forget the iron shoes in which Snow White’s stepmother dances to her death at the “happy ending” wedding.

3 contemporary Shoes designers

88.  Jimmy Choo: Malaysian born Jimmy Choo constructed his first pair of shoes at the age of 11.  As a young man, he paid his way through studies at Cordwainers Technical College by working at restaurants and as a cleaner at a shoe factory.  In 1986, after completing his schooling, Choo began creating shoe designs that soon caught the attention of celebrities and fashion industry figures alike.  Voguemagazine featured his hand-made shoes on a record eight pages in a 1988 issue and his star continued to rise when Princess Diana became a fan of his work. Choo teamed up with British Vogue accessories editor, Tamara Mellon, in 1996 and together the two co-founded Jimmy Choo Ltd.  The company grew at an exponential rate, but the story did not have a happy ending.  Conflict arose between Choo and Mellon.  After Choo’s niece, who had worked for him for years, chose to side with Mellon, Choo left the company, selling his 50% for only £10 million.  Since then, Choo has focused on designing his exclusive Jimmy Choo Couture line.  One of his goals is to establish a shoemaking institute in his native Malaysia.

89.  Steve Madden: American shoe designer Steve Madden has enjoyed great success and suffered considerable lows over the course of his career.  Madden went from personally visiting boutiques trying to convince them to buy his first shoe designs to being the CEO and founder of Steve Madden Ltd., a company that was enjoying dominance over the teenage girl demographic in the world of shoes in the 1990s. The good times ended in 2002 when Madden was convicted of stock manipulation, money laundering and securities fraud.  He was forced to resign as CEO and sentenced to 41 months in prison.  Madden served 31 months of his sentence while holding the position of creative and design chief at Steve Madden Ltd.  During his time in prison, he proposed to his director of operations, Wendy Ballew, was treated for substance abuse problems and continued to draw a $700,000 salary from his company.  Since he was released, his company has only grown more successful and his designs continue to appeal to teens and 20-somethings.

90.  Christian Louboutin: Known for the distinctive red sole on all of his shoes, Christian Louboutin designs footwear to help a woman feel confident and empowered.  The red sole trend began in 1992 during the early days of Louboutin’s high-end shoe line.  The designer sought to spice up the look of a shoe that “lacked energy” by painting the bottom with red nail polish.  Soon the shiny, colourful sole became a signature aspect of his shoes.  Louboutin has even patented his red sole design as a trademark in the United States. Louboutin first developed an awed love of shoes as a child of 12 when he ditched school in favour of watching the showgirls in Paris nightclubs.  He never finished school and soon poured all his energy into bringing the stiletto heel back into fashion around the world.  The 1990s and 2000s saw a trend of sky-high heels measuring 120mm (4.72 inches) and higher thanks in large part to Louboutin’s creations.  Louboutin is also not afraid to adorn his shoes with embellishments including jewels, bows, feathers and other decorations. There are more than a dozen Christian Louboutin boutiques around the world, each uniquely designed and decorated by Louboutin himself.

Something about Feet

91.  Baby Feet Facts: Baby feet grow quickly during the first years, perhaps going through 3 or 4 sizes. During the second year, the growth slows down just a bit, where baby feet may go through 2 or 3 sizes. It takes about 18 years for a child’s foot to totally develop.

92.  At birth a foot contains 22 bones – by school age this will be 45. Over the next 13 -14 years these will fuse together to create the 26 bones that makes up the adult foot.

93.  Baby feet exert a lot of energy, when standing and balancing. This causes baby feet to get very hot. Baby feet can sweat up to twice the amount of adult feet.

94.  Most experts agree that bare feet are best for your baby, up until they start standing and walking.

95.  The average person walks 2,000 miles a year.

96.  Plato and Aristotle believed going bare footed diminished the libido and wearing shoes added to ones sexual power.

97.  The best time to try on shoes is usually at the end of the day, when your feet are most swollen.

Finally, 3 sayings about shoes worthwhile to remember

98.  “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.”

99.  “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”

100. “Don’t throw away your old shoes until you have a new pair.”

The content of this article is collected and compile by Albert Tu, Who is the marketing director of CasualMaxx Shoes and love to share all the interesting things about shoes. Follow me on twitter by the username “casualmaxx” for latest updates.

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