Shoes are a fundamental part of our lives, there’s no doubt about it! We have high heels, flats, pumps, trainers, platforms and sandals – to name a few! Some people take days and months to choose the perfect pair of shoes, and others go to great lengths to finally wear their dream shoes. We have collated these amazing facts that are sure to knock your socks off. Read on to learn 50 facts about Shoes.
Fact 1: Women were not the first humans to wear high heels, it was men.
- According to fashion historians, in the 10th century men wore high heels to stay in their stirrups while riding their horses.
- Also, since having a horse was a sign of wealth in this period, having heels also confirmed the high social status of the men.
Fact 2: The term ‘sneakers’ was derived from the idea that these shoes didn’t make too much noise.
- The term was first used in the late 1800s when this type of shoe was introduced.
- Since it has a rubber sole, it doesn’t create a sound (or at least minimal) making it easier to sneak around.
Fact 3: Andy Warhol’s drawing inspired the red sole of Louboutins.
- According to an article in the New Yorker, the owner of Louboutins really wanted to make a creation based on Andy Warhol’s drawing named “Flowers.”
- When the prototype arrived, he grabbed the red nail polish of his assistant and painted the sole red to make it more inspiring.
Fact 4: According to studies, your shoes determine how much you earn.
- In a poll conducted by Beso.com, 71% of women who never wore heels at work earned around $40,000 a year.
- Around 21% of those who participated in the study were earning $150,000 a year, and were wearing heels every day.
Fact 5: Shoe addiction is real. The prefrontal cortex in the brain, gets triggered whenever you see a shoe that you like.
- This part of the brain is also known as ‘collector’s spot’.
- It’s also the reason behind women displaying their shoes in organized racks for others to see.
Fact 6: Audrey Hepburn was the reason why ‘loafers’ became a trend.
- In her 1957 film, ‘The Funny Face’, she wore and danced in black loafers.
- Ever since the release people have been copying her.
Fact 7: ‘Dr Martens’ were originally created for work men because of their air-cushioned soles.
- When Dr Martens were first released in the 1960s, they were marketed at labourers and working-class men.
- However, the rise of punk culture, and Britain’s counterculture made these shoes popular with wider audiences.
Fact 8: ‘Wedge’ shoes were invented in the 1940s because of trade sanctions in Italy.
- During the 1940s, Ferragamo couldn’t export steel to be used in their heels because of economic sanctions.
- That’s why they experimented using corks. Which later went on to become one of the most popular shoe designs.
Fact 9: ‘Havaianas’ got their inspiration from a Japanese sandal.
- If you look at the sole of Havaianas, it has a rice textured pattern.
- It was inspired by the ‘Zorii’, traditional Japanese sandals made of rice straw soles and fabric straps.
Fact 10: ‘Jeffrey Campbell’, is an actual person and he does exist, according to the company producing the brand.
- He demanded a low-profile existence.
- There are no photographs of him online, that’s why people doubt his existence.
Fact 11: In the 1300s, barleycorns were declared as the official method of measuring someone’s shoe size.
- Britain was the first country to create a shoe sizing system. King Edward announced that barleycorns would be used to measure feet.
- Three barleycorns = one inch.
Fact 12: The most expensive shoes ever sold cost: $660,000! And were sold in 2000.
- These shoes were the iconic ruby red slippers, that belonged to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.
- They were the original pair worn by the actress.
Fact 13: The largest high heel shoe ever made is: 6 feet/ 5 inches long and 6 feet/ 1 inch tall.
- This is taller than some American models.
- It was created by Jill Martin and fashion designer Kenneth Cole, in November 2014.
Fact 14: Jimmy Choo was a real prodigy. He created his first shoe when he was 11 years old!
- Jimmy Choo was surrounded by shoes when he was growing up, his father was a shoe cobbler.
- Choo studied to improve his craft, and opened his first store in 1986.
Fact 15: Celine Dion has over 10,000 pairs of shoes!
- The famous singer is a self-confessed shoe addict. She said in an interview with Ellen Degeneres in 2013, that she owned over 3000 pairs of shoes.
- Just 4 years after this, she claimed to have tripled her 2013 shoe collection.
Fact 16: In dreams, your shoes represent how you approach your life.
- Those who wear shoes in their dreams are said to be ‘down-to-earth’ and well-grounded.
- However, those who are not wearing shoes might be having some financial troubles or are too carefree in life.
Fact 17: Historically, bride’s Fathers would provide their soon-to-be son-in-laws with a pair of shoes, thus symbolising the passing over of authority.
- A variation of this still happens today, where shoes are tied to the back of the wedding car.
- Today, this signifies the Bride and Grooms journey to happiness.
Fact 18: The upper-class, in 17th century Europe, wore 6-inch heels to signify their status.
- Only the wealthy could actually afford to wear heels during these times, because wearing shoes like this required a lot of effort.
- Aristocrats had to walk with servants on their sides while wearing these extremely high heels to stop them falling over.
Fact 19: Marie Antoinette wore high heels on the day she was executed on October 16, 1793.
- This very stylish queen of France was known for her extravagant fashion choices and style.
- According to records, she had almost 500 pairs of shoes.
Fact 20: Imelda Marcos, the wife of a former dictator in the Philippines, had over 3000 pairs of shoes.
- She was known for her expensive accessory choices.
- When the family was exiled to Hawaii, most of her collections were taken by the Government. And some of her shoes are in a shoe museum in the Philippines.
Fact 21: An average American woman has at least 30 pairs of shoes.
- Women in the US can spend up to $300 on one pair of shoes in a year.
- At least 60% of American women regret at least one of their shoe purchases.
Fact 22: Bill Nye was not only a science guy, but he also invented a shoe for ballet dancers.
- He married his scientific knowledge, with the problems ballet dancers had, and came up with a solution.
- He invented a slipper to protect ballet dancers’ feet.
Fact 23: The shoes worn by Neil Armstrong, when he walked on the moon, are probably floating somewhere in space.
- When he did his famous moonwalk, he was afraid that the shoes he was wearing would be contaminated by foreign, and possibly dangerous space materials.
- He discarded his shoes outside, in space. They were never found again.
Fact 24: “Before you criticize someone you should walk a mile in their shoes” is a famous shoe-related saying!
- Not strictly about shoes, this saying suggests that you should empathise with someone and see life through their eyes.
- There are some variations of this saying for example the ending, “That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”
Fact 25: The importance of having shoes, as a means of protection, was recognised very early in human history.
- There are records showing how the Egyptians and Chinese civilizations saw shoes as an essential part of peoples ‘daily clothes’.
- Shoes are repeatedly mentioned in the Bible, and in some Hebrew texts.
Fact 26: Shoes are the reason why our toes are weak and have lost their ability to grip onto objects.
- According to Physical Anthropologist Eric Trinkaus, shoes were first used by mankind around 40,000.
- This caused a significant change in bone structure and strength of toes, as humans no longer needed to use their toes to grip and balance.
Fact 27: Before the 19th century, shoes were identical. Meaning, the left looked exactly like the right.
- The first pair of shoes containing a left and right shoe, were created in Philadelphia.
- There was no evidence that ‘right’ and ‘left’ shoes were created before this time.
Fact 28: The famous designer Steve Madden had an epic career as a shoe maker. Even after being convicted in 2002, his designs still dominated the teen demographic.
- Steve Madden’s career started when he went to different companies showing off his shoe designs. He later became the CEO of his own company.
- He was convicted in 2002 for stock manipulation, and was treated with substance abuse. He was still contributing to the creative direction of the company at this time.
Fact 29: The largest shoe in the world is 5.5 meters long and 2.25 meters wide!
- It was found in Marikina City, Philippines, the shoe capital of the country.
- It cost around $2 million to build this shoe.
Fact 30: Starting in the early 10th century, young girls in China had to bind their feet together. This was used to enhance the better features and modify the un-shapley parts of their feet.
- When Mothers were looking for possible wives for their sons, they would look at the girl’s feet to see if she was worthy.
- However, foot binding was pretty painful and some young girls had trouble walking afterwards.
Fact 31: Embroidered shoes, is a huge part of the Chinese Culture. It shows the country’s culture, art, and artisanal skills.
- The embroidered shoes are 100% ‘handicrafted’ by the Chinese people.
- Many people believe that ‘handicrafting’ adds finesse and extravagance to the shoes, without losing its culture, meaning, and appeal.
Fact 32: Chinese embroidery includes placing specialised symbols onto shoes. These embroideries are often seen on the footwear of Brides, and symbols are related to good luck and fortune.
- In the Southern Fujian Province, Brides wear shoes with a pattern of doves and turtles, that symbolizes longevity of marriage and happiness.
- During the Han Dynasty, Brides wore shoes with colorful patterns and colorful ribbons, both symbols were meant to bring prosperity to the marriage.
Fact 33: The limited edition ‘Oliver Sweeney Brogues’, have a secret compartment in their heels where a miniature whiskey bottle can fit.
- The heel is designed to be extravagant and witty.
- It has a clear casing, so you can show your heel to your friends revealing the whiskey.
Fact 34: The character Carrie Bradshaw, in ‘Sex in the City’, is the most common example of a shoe addict.
- Played by Sarah Jessica Parker, she was known for having expensive taste when it came to shoes.
- In theory, she would have a collection of shoes amounting to $40,000.
Fact 35: Open toe shoes were introduced in the 1930s because of sunbathing.
- They were also called ‘barefoot sandals’, because up to this point whole shoes were the only shoes to be created and sold.
- This shoe started the fad of ‘painted toenails’.
Fact 36: In Japan, it’s disrespectful to wear your shoes inside the house.
- You’ll see a shoe rack near the door where you can put your shoes upon arrival. You’ll then have to walk barefoot or with socks on inside the house.
- Other Asian countries, like Thailand and the Philippines practice this too.
Fact 37: In Islam, the correct way of putting on shoes is right shoe first, then left shoe.
- This is based on a belief that the right side is more important than the left, and the right should not remain uncovered, while the left is already covered.
- It’s also against the religious belief to walk with one shoe on.
Fact 38: Madonna, an avid shoe collector, has shoes she has never worn. She takes her shoes out of storage, looks at them and hides them again.
- It’s because these shoes are too fragile to be worn, so they remain in silk paper.
- Aside from wearing luxurious shoes, she’s also known for wearing sneakers and rubber shoes.
Fact 39: Don’t put shoes on the table, it symbolises death.
- The origin of this thought started when prisoners were being executed by hanging.
- After the execution, you could hear the sounds of shoes knocking on the wooden tables where they execution had just happened.
Fact 40: Not wearing shoes, specifically leather shoes, is a sign of mourning for the Jews.
- During the historic day of mourning, Jews are prohibited from wearing shoes.
- This was mentioned in the Book of Isaiah, where Isaiah was asked to remove his shoes to mourn.
Fact 41: Up until the 1850s, shoemakers were still using the same tools to make shoes, that they did in the 14th century BC.
- These tools included the scraper, the knife, and curved awl. All of which were introduced by the Egyptians as a ‘standard tools set’ needed by shoemakers.
- For the next few centuries, only a few new tools like pincers, and hammers were added.
Fact 42: During the reign of Richard II, shoes were a bit insane! Shoe lengths had increased way beyond the claves, meaning that shoes had to be tied around the knees!
- Most of the shoes created were not fit for purpose and needed support. Aristocrats used silver or golden chains to secure the shoes around their knees.
- Parliament took the matter into their hands, they forbade the production of shoes with the length of legs.
Fact 43: There is a type of shoe called ‘Mary Jane’, and it has nothing to do with what you are thinking.
- These shoes can be flat or heeled, and enclose the whole foot.
- The front of the shoe is sometimes square or a bit rounded, with a cross strap on the top of the foot.
Fact 44: An average woman will buy 469 pairs of shoes in her lifetime.
- According to Glamour, this number includes those that were bought and worn only once.
- Buying all of these shoes would total to at least $25,000, even if they were all of average price.
Fact 45: Tribes around the world use the skin of animals and tree sap to make their shoes.
- Amazonian-Indians use the tree-sap of a Rubber tree to create their own shoes, and have done so since prehistoric times.
- Palau-Islanders use the skins of Sea Cucumbers to make their shoes.
Fact 46: The Nike founder was inspired by the pattern made by waffle makers, when he designed the soles of his shoes.
- In 1971, when Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman was having breakfast, he saw the waffle iron print as the perfect mold for a shoe sole.
- He wanted to create the perfect sole, without spikes but would work well on grass and pavements.
Fact 47: Heels will help accentuate your bum by up to 25%.
- It’s because heels help your pelvis to move forward and your lower back to have a slight arch.
- It will then give your bum a perky appearance.
Fact 48: In Mexico, cowboy’s boots can have a pointed toe that reaches up to 1 meter long.
- Mexican pointy boots or tribal boots are popular in menswear in Mexico.
- It’s the preferred footwear of dance troupes and performance acts in Mexico.
Fact 49: Women in Venice have worn Chopines since the 15th century!
- They were originally worn to give added height. But they managed to serve as dress protectors too. Wearing these shoes meant that mud and other dirt on the road wasn’t picked up by the long dress.
- Walking while wearing chopines was difficult, you needed servants to help you walk.
Fact 50: 17% of women would break up with a guy if they were wearing ugly shoes.
- Nowadays, some people use shoes as a symbol of success and wealth.
- In a study, women argued that if a man couldn’t afford to buy good shoes, then he won’t be able to afford more important things later on.