If you love filling your head with pointless facts, you’re going to love this. Read on to discover 7 incredible revelations about the history of shoes.
Shoes are constantly evolving and always relevant. Whether you love a pair of Goodyear welted Percy Stride Oxford shoes or you’re partial to a pair of Converse sneaks, humans will always need footwear.
They’re not only practical, but they reveal a lot about an individual’s personality and style as well.
But what’s made them into what they are today? Who dictated the styles that we love and adore?
Whether you love learning about the history of shoes or you’re just a curious cat who wants to specialise in the footwear topic at your next local quiz, we’ve assembled 7 shocking facts that are bound to blow your socks off!
There was no such thing as “two left feet” before 1818
Believe it or not, before 1818, left and right shoes weren’t invented. Until then, people could put either shoe on any foot they desired. This would sure make putting your shoes on in a rush a lot easier!
The first pair of right and left-footed shoes were made in Philadelphia – thus, meaning the start of more comfortable footwear!
Shoes indicated class in Ancient Egypt
Back when Pharaoh‘s were running the show in Egypt, a person’s class could be determined by simply looking at their shoes.
The higher status citizens were allowed to wear pointed sandals, while slaves either had no shoes or wore sandals made of palm leaves.
Red and yellow colours were only to be used for the highest members of society only.
Men were the first to start wearing high heels
If you think high heels were invented for women, think again. Knights were the first people to wear high heels to help them securely keep their feet in the saddle of their horses. And as a horse was a symbol of aristocracy and high social status, the popularity of heels sky-rocketed.
However, in 14th century Venice, they were also very practical. Known as chopines, locals created heels as high as 70cm! Imagine trying to go on a night out in a pair of those!
Mandatory shoe size
Not only was Henry VIII a lover of wives, but he was also a trendsetter in the shoe industry too – well, kind of!
Due to his gout-stricken feet, he made a law that shoes must be made 6 inches wide.
The King of France, Louis XIV, also followed in Henry VIII’s footsteps by becoming a shoe fashionista. As the Sun’s King was only 5 foot 5 inches, he made high heeled shoes mandatory for men. Thank goodness Peter Crouch wasn’t about in those days!
My feet are 21 grains of barley long
During Roman civilisation, shoe masters used a grain of barley to measure the foot when making sandals. However, it’s believed that this method was used during the early Middle Ages in Britain, with King Edward II issuing it as an official measurement standard in footwear production in 1324.
Wedding’s are thirsty work
If you hate feet and the cheesy smells they often give off, you may want to skip to the next fact.
For those of you who can stomach it, there’s a tradition at Hungarian weddings involving the groom drinking a toast to the bride out of her wedding shoe.
Yep…that’s right. After a long day of celebrating, they have to take a sip from their smelly wedding shoe.
On a slightly sweeter note, Chinese wedding tradition consists of a bride’s shoe being tossed from the roof. The shoe must be red, as this gives the married couple good luck in their marriage.
Have you seen my boots?
We all know the “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” quote by Neil Armstrong. But did you know, he left his boots in space before coming back to Earth just in case they were contaminated?
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