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Shoes - A necessity but why the love affair?

Updated on July 11, 2012

What is it about shoes?

For much of history women's shoes were kept in the dark, concealed beneath petticoats and although not seen, they always reflected the wearer's status and economic position. Today however,shoes not only reflect social history, they are a personal record of a person's life. People fall for fabulous shoes at a first glance, seduced by the tilt of the heel or the line of the arch wanting to feel sexy, all adding up to a fatal attraction and an impulse to buy. In fact, more often than not it has nothing to do with need! when it comes to shoes, for many need, practicality and comfort are beside the point the important thing owning those shoes. According to a fashion critic a pair of shoes "might not cure a broken heart or sooth a tension headache...but it will relieve the symptoms and chase away the blues"

Egyptian workers' sandals, 2000 B.C
Egyptian workers' sandals, 2000 B.C
19th century Indian toe-knob sandal
19th century Indian toe-knob sandal


Sandals were the first created footwear which is not surprising given their simple construction and every ancient civilization had their own version of the basic design. As early as 3500 B.C the Egyptians made imprints of their feet in the wet sand, moulded braided papyrus into the soles the same size and attached rawhide thongs to keep them on the foot. These sandals were worn as protection from the rough terrain and scorching sand.

The Japanese had braided sandals called zoris. Persians and Indians carved platform toe-knob sandals, and Africans sewed slip-on styles from colourfully pigmented leathers. Even the British despite their cold, wet climate, wore copies of sandals introduced by Mediterranean invaders.

Sandals by the decades

After having gone out of fashion for almost 1000 years, sandals made a comeback in the 1920's, with the addition of heels. The sandal had become glamorous allowing for painted toe nails peeping out and soon spaghetti strap styles were show casing the entire foot.

By the 60's sandals had become flat and earthy again but by the 70's they were pushed aside and replaced by high heeled disco sandals. These flash designs gave sandals a slightly tacky reputation and it wasn't until the finesse of designers such as Maud Frizon and Manolo Blahnik in the 80's that sandals finally were given sophistication.

Next chapter high heels


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    • cherriquinn profile image

      cherriquinn 5 years ago from UK. England. Newcastle upon Tyne

      What a lovely story as a child. I think we all secretly love shoes annart. Thanks for reading.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      I love shoes; for me, it's about colour, style and completing an outfit. I love high heels but they're not very comfortable; a good, slightly shaped or cushioned flip-flop is great for the whole summer and wedged sandals give glamour with plenty of air and more stability than high heels!

      As a child, I would keep new shoes by my bed to look at as I went to sleep! My older daughter has the bug but my younger one goes for the strictly practical, albeit still pretty. I have to keep a rein on my shoe purchases; not enough room in the wardrobe!

    • Shopping-Online profile image

      Shopping-Online 5 years ago from Mumbai

      That's some wonderful history about shoes. Every time I go out shopping, I keep accumulating more and more shoes and sandals. I am a shopaholic and cannot stop myself when I see nice things around.