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The ancient Greeks largely viewed footwear as self-indulgent, unaesthetic and unnecessary. Shoes were primarily worn in the theater, as a means of increasing stature, and many preferred to go barefoot. The runners of Ancient Greece are also believed to have run barefoot. Pheidippides , the first marathoner , ran from Athens to Sparta in less than 36 hours. The Romans , who eventually conquered the Greeks and adopted many aspects of their culture, did not adopt the Greek perception of footwear and clothing.
Roman clothing was seen as a sign of power, and footwear was seen as a necessity of living in a civilized world, although the slaves and paupers usually went barefoot. A common casual shoe in the Pyrenees during the Middle Ages was the espadrille.
This is a sandal with braided jute soles and a fabric upper portion, and often includes fabric laces that tie around the ankle. The term is French and comes from the esparto grass.
The shoe originated in the Catalonian region of Spain as early as the 13th century, and was commonly worn by peasants in the farming communities in the area. Many medieval shoes were made using the turnshoe method of construction, in which the upper was turned flesh side out, and was lasted onto the sole and joined to the edge by a seam. The shoe was then turned inside-out so that the grain was outside.
Some shoes were developed with toggled flaps or drawstrings to tighten the leather around the foot for a better fit. Surviving medieval turnshoes often fit the foot closely, with the right and left shoe being mirror images.
By the 15th Century, pattens became popular by both men and women in Europe. These are commonly seen as the predecessor of the modern high-heeled shoe ,  while the poor and lower classes in Europe, as well as slaves in the New World, were barefoot. This style of shoe is named because it is thought to have originated in Kraków , the capitol of Poland. The style is characterized by the point of the shoe, known as the "polaine", which often was supported by a whalebone tied to the knee to prevent the point getting in the way while walking.
These shoes became popular in Venice and throughout Europe, as a status symbol revealing wealth and social standing. During the 16th century, royalty started wearing high-heeled shoes to make them look taller or larger than life, such as Catherine de Medici or Mary I of England. By , even men wore them, and a person with authority or wealth was often referred to as, "well-heeled". Eventually the modern shoe, with a sewn-on sole, was devised. Since the 17th century, most leather shoes have used a sewn-on sole.
This remains the standard for finer-quality dress shoes today. Until around , welted rand shoes were commonly made without differentiation for the left or right foot. Such shoes are now referred to as "straights". Shoemaking became more commercialized in the midth century, as it expanded as a cottage industry. Large warehouses began to stock footwear, made by many small manufacturers from the area. Until the 19th century, shoemaking was a traditional handicraft, but by the century's end, the process had been almost completely mechanized, with production occurring in large factories.
Despite the obvious economic gains of mass-production , the factory system produced shoes without the individual differentiation that the traditional shoemaker was able to provide.
The first steps towards mechanisation were taken during the Napoleonic Wars by the engineer, Marc Brunel. He developed machinery for the mass-production of boots for the soldiers of the British Army.
In he devised a scheme for making nailed-boot-making machinery that automatically fastened soles to uppers by means of metallic pins or nails. In the same year, the use of screws and staples was patented by Richard Woodman.
Brunel's system was described by Sir Richard Phillips as a visitor to his factory in Battersea as follows:. However, when the war ended in , manual labour became much cheaper, and the demand for military equipment subsided.
As a consequence, Brunel's system was no longer profitable and it soon ceased business. Similar exigencies at the time of the Crimean War stimulated a renewed interest in methods of mechanization and mass-production, which proved longer lasting. His machine used an iron plate to push iron rivets into the sole. The process greatly increased the speed and efficiency of production. He also introduced the use of steam-powered rolling-machines for hardening leather and cutting-machines, in the mids.
The sewing machine was introduced in , and provided an alternative method for the mechanization of shoemaking. By the late s, the industry was beginning to shift towards the modern factory, mainly in the US and areas of England. A shoe stitching machine was invented by the American Lyman Blake in and perfected by Entering into partnership with McKay, his device became known as the McKay stitching machine and was quickly adopted by manufacturers throughout New England.
By the s, the process of mechanisation was largely complete. Since the midth Century, advances in rubber, plastics, synthetic cloth, and industrial adhesives have allowed manufacturers to create shoes that stray considerably from traditional crafting techniques. Leather, which had been the primary material in earlier styles, has remained standard in expensive dress shoes, but athletic shoes often have little or no real leather.
Soles, which were once laboriously hand-stitched on, are now more often machine stitched or simply glued on. Many of these newer materials, such as rubber and plastics, have made shoes less biodegradable. It is estimated that most mass-produced shoes require years to degrade in a landfill. However, many manufacturers in Europe dominate the higher-priced, higher value-added end of the market. As an integral part of human culture and civilization, shoes have found their way into our culture, folklore, and art.
This story tells about an old woman living in a shoe with a lot of children. In , Mahlon Haines , a shoe salesman in Hallam, Pennsylvania , built an actual house shaped like a work boot as a form of advertisement.
The Haines Shoe House was rented to newlyweds and the elderly until his death in Since then, it has served as an ice cream parlor, a bed and breakfast , and a museum. It still stands today and is a popular roadside attraction.
Shoes also play an important role in the fairy tales Cinderella and The Red Shoes. In the movie adaption of the children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , a pair of red ruby slippers play a key role in the plot. The comedy The Man with One Red Shoe features an eccentric man wearing one normal business shoe and one red shoe that becomes central to the plot.
Athletic sneaker collection has also existed as a part of urban subculture in the United States for several decades. A contributor to the growth of sneaker collecting is the continued worldwide popularity of the Air Jordan line of sneakers designed by Nike for Basketball star Michael Jordan.
In the Bible 's Old Testament , the shoe is used to symbolize something that is worthless or of little value. In the New Testament , the act of removing one's shoes symbolizes servitude. Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples regarded the act of removing their shoes as a mark of reverence when approaching a sacred person or place. Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground Exodus 3: The removal of the shoe also symbolizes the act of giving up a legal right.
In Hebrew custom, the widow removed the shoe of her late husband's brother to symbolize that he had abandoned his duty. In Arab custom, the removal of one's shoe also symbolized the dissolution of marriage. In Arab culture , showing the sole of one's shoe is considered an insult, and to throw a shoe and hit someone with it is considered an even greater insult.
As such, shoes are forbidden in mosques , and it is also considered unmannerly to cross the legs and display the soles of one's shoes to someone when talking to them. This insult was demonstrated in Iraq , first when Saddam Hussein 's statue was toppled in , Iraqis gathered around it and struck the statue with their shoes. Bush had a shoe thrown at him by a journalist as a statement against the war that was brought to Iraq and the lives that it has cost.
Empty shoes may also symbolize death. In Greek culture, empty shoes are the equivalent of the American funeral wreath. For example, empty shoes placed outside of a Greek home would tell others that the family's son has died in battle.
They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. The memorial represents their shoes left behind on the bank. All shoes have a sole , which is the bottom of a shoe, in contact with the ground. Soles can be made from a variety of materials, although most modern shoes have soles made from natural rubber , polyurethane , or polyvinyl chloride PVC compounds.
When various layers are used, soles may consist of an insole, midsole, and an outsole. The insole is the interior bottom of a shoe, which sits directly beneath the foot under the footbed also known as sock liner.
The purpose of insole is to attach to the lasting margin of the upper, which is wrapped around the last during the closing of the shoe during the lasting operation. Insoles are usually made of cellulosic paper board or synthetic non woven insole board. Many shoes have removable and replaceable footbeds. Extra cushioning is often added for comfort to control the shape, moisture, or smell of the shoe or health reasons to help deal with differences in the natural shape of the foot or positioning of the foot during standing or walking.
The outsole is the layer in direct contact with the ground. Dress shoes often have leather or resin rubber outsoles; casual or work-oriented shoes have outsoles made of natural rubber or a synthetic material like polyurethane.
The outsole may comprise a single piece, or may be an assembly of separate pieces, often of different materials. On some shoes, the heel of the sole has a rubber plate for durability and traction, while the front is leather for style. Specialized shoes will often have modifications on this design: The midsole ' is the layer in between the outsole and the insole, typically there for shock absorption. Some types of shoes, like running shoes, have additional material for shock absorption, usually beneath the heel of the foot, where one puts the most pressure down.
Some shoes may not have a midsole at all. The heel is the bottom rear part of a shoe. Its function is to support the heel of the foot. They are often made of the same material as the sole of the shoe. This part can be high for fashion or to make the person look taller, or flat for a more practical and comfortable use.
This piece of design is intended to alleviate the problem of the points catching the bottom of trousers and was first observed in the s. The shoe heel is used to improve the balance of the shoe, increase the height of the wearer, alter posture or other decorative purposes. Sometimes raised, the high heel is common to a form of shoe often worn by women, but sometimes by men too. See also stiletto heel.
The upper helps hold the shoe onto the foot. In the simplest cases, such as sandals or flip-flops, this may be nothing more than a few straps for holding the sole in place. Closed footwear, such as boots, trainers and most men's shoes, will have a more complex upper.
This part is often decorated or is made in a certain style to look attractive. The upper is connected to the sole by a strip of leather, rubber, or plastic that is stitched between it and the sole, known as a welt.
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