10 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT FOOTWEAR
Shoes really are a never-ending topic. Never-ending for us and never-ending for every fashion lover. Style, the variety of models, materials, textures, the history of footwear, statistics and many other topics that haven’t even been spoken of yet. So we’ve gathered some very interesting and unheard of facts about your feet and the footwear on them.
1. SNEAKING IN SNEAKERS
Advertising agent Henry Nelson McKinney from the company N. W. Ayer & Son was the one to create the word sneakers. It was a wonderful marketing idea to name the newly emerging shoes with rubber soles sneakers, making this the perfect wordplay. When walking in sneakers, the rubber soles don’t make a sound, so the namesneakers fits perfectly! And the saying “Sneak around with sneakers” ideally describes how walking in these shoes feels. According to Henry Nelson McKinney, the rubber soles make the shoes undetectable. You can quietly sneak in somewhere or sneak up on someone without being noticed. This makes the word sneakers the perfect wordplay.
2. THE MEASUREMENT OF SHOE SIZES STARTED WITH A GRAIN OF BARLEY
It’s historically known that during the Roman civilization, shoe masters used a grain to measure the foot when making sandals. However, this tactic did not spread throughout the world and it’s not considered a Roman invention. It was in the early Middle Ages that the British validated such a measurement method. During the reign of King Edward II, a royal order was issued in 1324, which pointed out that a grain of barley is an official measurement standard in footwear production. His order indicated that the length of 3 grains was equal to one inch. This is how the grain measurement system started to spread throughout the world. It is still an official measurement unit in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
3. MEN WERE THE FIRST TO START WEARING HIGH HEELS
You’re wrong If you think that women invented high heels! Do you think men didn’t know how to wear them? Well, they certainly did as they were the ones to start the fashion of high heels.
Knights were the first ones to wear high heels in order to securely keep their feet in the saddle. And horses were a symbol of wealth, so high heels quickly became a symbol of aristocracy and a high social status, rather than a symbol of gender.
The kings of Renaissance Europe liked to wear shoes with especially high heels to show their supremacy, and they could calmly step through puddles as the height of their heels were as high as 30 cm. King Louis XIV of France, also known as Sun King, played an important role in spreading the popularity of high heels. Even today, fashion historians refer to men’s high heels as French shoes.
4. IN 1883 JAN ERNST MATZELIGER INVENTED THE LASTING MACHINE
The biggest breakthrough in the shoe industry was during the Industrial Revolution when in Great Britain and Northern America, inventors and craftsmen built modern footwear sewing machines and started mass production of footwear. The invention of an African-American man Jan Ernst Matzeliger completely surpassed the work of his predecessors who tried to create a powerful, automated machine capable of changing hands-on work. The patented Jan Ernst Matzeliger’s lasting machine was able to produce about 700 pairs of shoes per day, i.e. 10 times more than a skilled footwear master could have made. Thanks to this wonderful invention, footwear became accessible to everyone.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger
5. HIGH HEELS THAT ARE TO HIGH. IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?
It's no secret that years ago, cities without drainage and plumbing, without garbage collection systems were very dirty. So it’s not surprising that the practical use of platformed shoes was to protect against dirt.
Well, they became a true fashion icon in the 14th century in Venice where they were called chopines. Their height just kept on growing until some chopines had a wooden platform as high as 70 cm. In the 16th century, most cork materials made in Spain were used for manufacturing chopine platforms. A person wearing these shoes needed two servants to assist them at all times, so obviously, only the rich could wear such footwear. After all, the poor didn’t have any servants or helpers to help them walk through the dirt and puddles. So platformed shoes quickly became a symbol of luxury and wealth.
Later, noblemen distanced themselves from this trend and only courtesans wore high heels. The heels became so high that eventually, a French law established the maximum height of high heels/platforms. Today, women don’t wear heels that are extremely high because of their health and the high risk of injury. However, designer Alexander McQ, whose collections can be found at Dolita salons, introduced the 10-inch high Armadillo heels which only stage divas and models were bold enough to wear.
Historical chopine style shoes
6. MARIE ANTOINETTE HAD ABOUT 500 PAIRS OF SHOES
The famous and scandalous queen Mary Antoinette loved fashion and according to historians had about 500 pairs of shoes. Although, according to some researchers, this number is not so surprising, as Versailles was so dirty that instead of cleaning the shoes, noble aristocrats simply threw them away after a few days. So at that time, the French spent a lot of money on shoes and didn’t even take care of them.
Interestingly, after Marie Antoinette was guillotined wearing high heels, they became a symbol of pride and wealth, so women stopped wearing high heels in order to avoid being identified as fun, careless and prideful queens.
7. THE FIRST BOOTS FOR WOMEN WERE MADE FOR QUEEN VICTORIA IN 1840
The uncomfortable way of putting on shoes with buttons and laces encouraged London footwear master Joseph Sparkes to create footwear with elastane and cotton. Boots with no buttons, laces or heels were so comfortable that they quickly grew in popularity among men and women of different social classes. Footwear master Joseph Sparkes patented this successful model in 1840.
8. LOTUS FEET
It’s also worth mentioning China’s fashion, which seems strange and hard to understand for many Western countries. In China, the canon and tradition of beauty for many decades was golden lotus feet that were most prevalent in the 10th-11th centuries, when the feet and toes were broken and folded so that they could fit into special boots. A small foot was the true idol of beauty in the Eastern world.
9. 6 OUT OF 10 PAIRS OF SHOES IN THE WORLD ARE MADE IN CHINA
Oh yeah, the number really is huge! Why is it exactly that China puts shoes on people around the whole world? The Asian market was the fastest growing one during the Industrial Revolution when capitalism was established. That’s why factories in these countries satisfy the needs of millions of people. In Asia, there are huge factories, whereas the European footwear market is made up of many small firms with only 10-15 employees with the average income of slightly over 1 million euros. In Europe, family businesses that are passed on to different generations are dominant. Within these businesses, all attention is given to footwear and the excellent quality of materials and footwear. This is why we value Italian handmade work, quality and style!
10. WOMEN WITH RECORD AMOUNTS OF SHOES
The statistic woman has 21 pairs of shoes, the statistic man - 12. And only 3 pairs of them are worn constantly! Although many women in the world are addicted to shoes, the record breakers are Danielle Steels with her 6000 pairs, Imelda Marcos with 3400 shoes in her collection, and famous singer Celine Dion with 3000 pairs of shoes.
All mentioned designers and their brands can be found here: Dolitashoes.com