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A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function. Additionally, fashion has often dictated many design elements, such as whether shoes have very high heels or flat ones. Contemporary footwear varies widely in style, complexity and cost. Basic s may consist of only a thin sole and simple strap. High fashion shoes may be made of very expensive materials in complex construction and sell for thousands of dollars a pair. Other shoes are for very specific purposes, such as boots designed specifically for mountaineering or skiing.
Traditionally, shoes have been made from leather, wood or canvas, but are increasingly made from rubber, plastics, and other petrochemical derived materials.
The foot contains more bones than any other single part of the body. Though it has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in relation to vastly varied terrain and climate conditions, the foot is still vulnerable to environmental hazards such as sharp rocks and hot ground, against which shoes can protect.
The earliest known shoes are s dating from approximately 7,000 or 8,000 BCE, found in the Fort Rock Cave in the US state of Oregon. This led archaeologists to deduce that wearing shoes resulted in less bone growth, resulting in casque beats pro shorter, thinner toes. These earliest designs were very simple in design, often mere "foot bags" of leather to protect the feet from rocks, debris, and cold. They were more commonly found in colder climates.
Many early natives in North America wore a similar type of footwear known as the . These are tight fitting, soft soled shoes typically made out of leather or bison hides. Many s were also decorated with various beads and other adornments. Moccasins were not designed to get wet, and in wet weather and warm summer months, most Native Americans went barefoot.
As civilizations began to develop, thong s (the precursors of the modern flip flop) were worn. One pair found in Europe was made of papyrus leaves and dated to be approximately 1,500 years old. They were also worn in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus Christ. Thong s were worn by many civilizations and made from a wide variety of materials. Ancient Egyptian s were made from papyrus and palm leaves. The Masai of Africa made them out of rawhide. In India they were made from wood. In China and Japan, rice straw was used. The leaves of the sisal plant were used to make twine for s in South America while the natives of Mexico used the Yucca plant.
While thong s were commonly worn, many people in ancient times, such as the Egyptians, Hindu and Greeks, saw little need for footwear, and most of the time, preferred being barefoot. The Egyptians and Hindus made some use of ornamental footwear, such as a soleless known as casques beats a "Cleopatra", which did not provide any practical protection for the foot. 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. Athletes in the Ancient Olympic Games participated barefoot and naked. Even the gods and heroes were primarily depicted barefoot, and the hoplite warriors fought battles in bare feet and Alexander the Great conquered his vast empire with barefoot armies. 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. After the Battle of Marathon, he ran straight from the battlefield to Athens to inform the Athenians of the news.
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. Roman soldiers were issued with chiral footwear. There are many references to shoes being worn in the Bible.
Middle Ages and Early Modern period
A common casual shoe in the Pyrenees during the Middle Ages are espadrilles. These are s with braided jute soles and a fabric upper portion, and often includes fabric laces that tie around the ankle. The term is French casque docteur dre and comes from the esparto grass. The shoes originate in the Catalonian region of Spain as early as the 13th century, and were 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. The turnshoe method was replaced by the welted method around 1500.
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. In the 15th century, the Crakow was fashionable in Europe. This style of shoe is named because it is thought to have originated in Krakw, 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. Also during the 15th century, chopines were created in Turkey, and were usually 7 8inches (17.7 20.3cm) high. These shoes became popular in Venice and throughout casque beats wireless 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. 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 1800, welted rand shoes were commonly made without differentiation for the left or right foot. Such shoes are now referred to as "straights". Only gradually did the modern foot specific shoe become standard.
Shoemaking became more commercialized in the mid 18th century, as it expanded as a cottage industry. Large warehouses began to stock footwear in warehouses, 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 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 1812 he devised a scheme for making nailed boot making machinery that automatically fastened soles to uppers by means of metallic pins or nails. With ecouteur sans fil the support of the Duke of York, the shoes were manufactured, and, due to their strength, cheapness, and durability, were introduced for the use of the army. 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:
"In another building I was shown his manufactory of shoes, which, like the other, is full of ingenuity, and, in regard to subdivision of labour, brings this fabric on a level with the oft admired manufactory of pins. Every step in it is effected by the most elegant and precise machinery; while, as each operation is performed by one hand, so each shoe passes through twenty five hands, who complete from the hide, as supplied by the currier, a hundred pairs of strong and well finished shoes per day. All the details are performed by the ingenious application of the mechanic powers; and all the parts are characterised by precision, uniformity, and accuracy. As each man performs but one step in the process, which implies no knowledge of what is done by those who go before or follow him, so the persons employed are not s, but wounded soldiers, who are able to learn their respective duties in a few hours. The contract at which these shoes are delivered to Government is 6s. 6d. per pair, being at least 2s. less than what was paid previously for an unequal and cobbled article."
However, when the war ended in 1815, manual labour became much cheaper, and the casque audio beats 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.
The sewing machine was introduced in 1846, and provided an alternative method for the mechanization of shoemaking. By the late 1850s, 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 1856 and perfected by 1864. Entering in to partnership with McKay, his device became known as the McKay stitching machine and was quickly adopted by manufacturers throughout New England. As bottlenecks opened up in the production line due to these innovations, more and more of the manufacturing stages, such as pegging and finishing, became automated. By the 1890s, the process of mechanisation was largely complete.
Since the mid 20th 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 casque beats pas cher of these newer materials, such as rubber and plastics, have made shoes less biodegradable. It is estimated that most mass produced shoes require 1000 years to degrade in a landfill. In the late 2000s, some s picked up on the issue and began to produce shoes made entirely from degradable materials, such as the Nike Considered.
In 2007, the global shoe industry had an overall market of $107.4 billion, in terms of revenue, and is expected to grow to $122.9 billion by the end of 2012. Shoe manufacturers in the People's Republic of China account for 63% of production, 40.5% of global exports and 55% of industry revenue. 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. A popular 18th century nursery rhyme is There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. This story tells about an old woman living in a shoe with a lot of children. In 1948, 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 1962. 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 children's book and casque beats mixr movie, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a pair of red ruby s play a key role in the plot. The 1985 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 collection has also existed as a part of urban subculture in the United States for several decades. Recent decades have seen this trend spread to European nations such as the Czech Republic. A Sneakerhead is a person who owns multiple pairs of shoes as a form of collection and fashion. A contributor to the growth of collecting is the continued worldwide popularity of the Air Jordan line of s designed by Nike for Basketball star Michael Jordan.
In the Holy 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. The Semites regarded the act of removing their shoes as a mark of reverence when approaching a sacred person or place. In the Book of Exodus, Moses was instructed to remove his shoes before approaching the burning bush:
Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground ().
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.