Unless you’ve been aspiring to walk coals or swim with the dolphins this year sans fins, chances are you’re an avid wearer of shoes. Around the world our interpretation of shoes varies vastly, especially as each century has passed.
While there are no elves assisting shoe makers to speed up the process or preserve the integrity of quality, a passion to see footwear evolve has garnered the attention of thousands of people and designers negating the need for the folklore’s help.
Some of the earliest records of shoes were sandals. Whether gladiator or thong, they were worn to protect feet amidst desert heat.
Additionally, rough-hewn constructions of raw leather hide were crafted to fit bespoke in a moccasin fashion.
These organic industrial pieces stood strong against the elements and since their clothes were often made from the same elements of earth they created a seamless sense of style.
Were we to wear them now we would look peculiar. However, we have borrowed these ancient looks, drawing inspiration from their practicality and enhanced them for a modern style.
As time passed, cobblers began experimenting with different mediums for shoes. With this evolution, men and women’s shoes began varying slightly in looks, their purpose for more than just efficiency. An aristocrat class system was prevalent, evident when purchasing shoes. Those of wealth could be seen wearing luxurious silks and embroidered patterns. Whereas laborers and “common people” wore sturdy, dependable leather boots and shoes.
Soon shoes became more gender and age specific. Men’s heels become shorter; women’s higher. Color, pattern, flowers and more mediums were infused into the concepts of footwear. For centuries wood was one of those mediums – dating back as early as 1230ad, they truly are iconic to the Dutch heritage today. Their presence became notable fixtures, gaining popularity during the 16th century. While we know them as clogs – wooden shoes – in Holland and to the Dutch they are fondly referred to as klompen.
As technology expanded so does the mold for the soles of our shoes. Like Carl Bentley from Jumanji with his exploration to see the next generation of shoes, to see how far we could take shoes and how far they could take us, there is always something new.
Each company and brand releases something original, designers patent technology that encourages orthotic health to maintain or reverse the bad habits shoes of the ghosts of bad footwear past we’ve conditioned our feet to.
Throughout history when footwear became a fashion staple it came at great cost – even still today women and men, women specifically, put themselves through tortuous lengths to achieve the height of fashion. It’s as if they suffered the adverse side effects of ballet without the art of ballet.
Today we have a wide variety of shoes in a wide variety of sizes. Rubber, mesh, plastic. Waterproof, steel toe, peep toe. Glitter, gold, glass, glow in the dark. Nearly anything you can imagine, it can be worn on your feet.
And still, there is more to come. To truly appreciate style, you have to appreciate the shoes of centuries past. Before ELM Shoes was a store, we were a school bus. However, no matter what we provide our customers with, we provide shoes that fit.
-Your Missing Sock