A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while the wearer is doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration and fashion. 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 in the 2010s varies widely in style, complexity and cost. Basic sandals may consist of only a thin sole and simple strap and be sold for a low cost. High fashion shoes made by famous designers may be made of expensive materials, use complex construction and sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars a pair. Some shoes are designed for specific purposes, such as boots designed specifically for mountaineering or skiing.
Traditionally, shoes have been made from leather, wood or canvas, but in the 2010s, they are increasingly made from rubber, plastics, and other petrochemical-derived materials. Though the human foot is adapted to varied terrain and climate conditions, it is still vulnerable to environmental hazards such as sharp rocks and temperature extremes, which shoes protect against. Some shoes are worn as safety equipment, such as steel-soled boots which are required on construction sites.
The earliest known shoes are sagebrush bark sandals dating from approximately 7000 or 8000 BC, found in the Fort Rock Cave in the US state of Oregon in 1938. The world's oldest leather shoe, made from a single piece of cowhide laced with a leather cord along seams at the front and back, was found in the Areni-1 cave complex in Armenia in 2008 and is believed to date to 3500 BC. Ötzi the Iceman's shoes, dating to 3300 BC, featured brown bearskin bases, deerskin side panels, and a bark-string net, which pulled tight around the foot. The Jotunheimen shoe was discovered in August 2006. Archaeologists estimate that the leather shoe was made between 1800 and 1100 BC, making it the oldest article of clothing discovered in Scandinavia.
It is thought that shoes may have been used long before this, but because the materials used were highly perishable, it is difficult to find evidence of the earliest footwear. By studying the bones of the smaller toes (as opposed to the big toe), it was observed that their thickness decreased approximately 40,000 to 26,000 years ago. This led archaeologists to deduce that wearing shoes resulted in less bone growth, resulting in 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 moccasin. These are tight-fitting, soft-soled shoes typically made out of leather or bison hides. Many moccasins were also decorated with various beads and other adornments. Moccasins were not designed to be waterproof, and in wet weather and warm summer months, most Native Americans went barefoot.
As civilizations began to develop, thong sandals (the precursors of the modern flip-flop) were worn. This practice dates back to pictures of them in ancient Egyptian murals from 4000 BC. 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 first century of the Common Era. Thong sandals were worn by many civilizations and made from a wide variety of materials. Ancient Egyptian sandals 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 sandals in South America while the natives of Mexico used the Yucca plant.
While thong sandals were commonly worn, many people in ancient times, such as the Egyptians, Hindus 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 sandal known as 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, 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 (left and right shoe different) footwear. There are references to shoes being worn in the Bible.
A common casual shoe in the Pyrenees during the Middle Ages was the espadrille. This is a sandal with braided jute soles and a fabric upper portion, and often includes fabric laces that tie around the ankle. The term is French and comes from the esparto grass. The shoe originated in the Catalonian region of Spain as early as the 13th century, and was 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. Around 1500, the turnshoe method was largely replaced by the welted rand method (where the uppers are sewn to a much stiffer sole and the shoe cannot be turned inside-out). The turnshoe method is still used for some dance and specialty shoes.
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 Kraków, the capital 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 7-8 inches (17.7-20.3 cm) high. These shoes became popular in Venice and throughout 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. By 1580, even men wore them, and a person with authority or wealth was often referred to as, "well-heeled".
Eventually the modern shoe, with a sewn-on sole, was devised. 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.
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 shoemaker 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 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:
However, when the war ended in 1815, manual labour became much cheaper, and the 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. A shoemaker in Leicester, Tomas Crick, patented the design for a riveting machine in 1853. His machine used an iron plate to push iron rivets into the sole. The process greatly increased the speed and efficiency of production. He also introduced the use of steam-powered rolling-machines for hardening leather and cutting-machines, in the mid-1850s.
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 into 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 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 shoemakers 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 movie adaption of the children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a pair of red ruby slippers 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 sneaker 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 sneaker collecting is the continued worldwide popularity of the Air Jordan line of sneakers designed by Nike for Basketball star Michael Jordan.
In the 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. Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples 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 (Exodus 3:5).
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.
In Arab culture, showing the sole of one's shoe is considered an insult, and to throw a shoe and hit someone with it is considered an even greater insult. Shoes are considered to be dirty as they frequently touch the ground, and are associated with the lowest part of the body — the foot. As such, shoes are forbidden in mosques, and it is also considered unmannerly to cross the legs and display the soles of one's shoes to someone when talking to them. This insult was demonstrated in Iraq, first when Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled in 2003, Iraqis gathered around it and struck the statue with their shoes. Secondly, in 2008, United States President George W. Bush had a shoe thrown at him by a journalist as a statement against the war that was brought to Iraq and the lives that it has cost. More generally, shoe-throwing or shoeing, showing the sole of one's shoe or using shoes to insult are forms of protest in many parts of the world. Incidents where shoes were thrown at political figures have taken place in Australia, India, Ireland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and most notably the Arab world.
Empty shoes may also symbolize death. In Greek culture, empty shoes are the equivalent of the American funeral wreath. For example, empty shoes placed outside of a Greek home would tell others that the family's son has died in battle. At an observation memorializing the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, 3,000 pairs of empty shoes were used to recognize those killed. The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial in Budapest, Hungary. Conceived by film director Can Togay, he created it on the east bank of the Danube River with sculptor Gyula Pauer to honor the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. The memorial represents their shoes left behind on the bank.
The basic anatomy of a shoe is recognizable, regardless of the specific style of footwear.
All shoes have a sole, which is the bottom of a shoe, in contact with the ground. Soles can be made from a variety of materials, although most modern shoes have soles made from natural rubber, polyurethane, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compounds. Soles can be simple — a single material in a single layer — or they can be complex, with multiple structures or layers and materials. When various layers are used, soles may consist of an insole, midsole, and an outsole.
The insole is the interior bottom of a shoe, which sits directly beneath the foot under the footbed (also known as sock liner). The purpose of insole is to attach to the lasting margin of the upper, which is wrapped around the last during the closing of the shoe during the lasting operation. Insoles are usually made of cellulosic paper board or synthetic non woven insole board. Many shoes have removable and replaceable footbeds. Extra cushioning is often added for comfort (to control the shape, moisture, or smell of the shoe) or health reasons (to help deal with differences in the natural shape of the foot or positioning of the foot during standing or walking).
The outsole is the layer in direct contact with the ground. Dress shoes often have leather or resin rubber outsoles; casual or work-oriented shoes have outsoles made of natural rubber or a synthetic material like polyurethane. The outsole may comprise a single piece, or may be an assembly of separate pieces, often of different materials. On some shoes, the heel of the sole has a rubber plate for durability and traction, while the front is leather for style. Specialized shoes will often have modifications on this design: athletic or so called cleated shoes like soccer, rugby, baseball and golf shoes have spikes embedded in the outsole to improve traction.
The midsole is the layer in between the outsole and the insole, typically there for shock absorption. Some types of shoes, like running shoes, have additional material for shock absorption, usually beneath the heel of the foot, where one puts the most pressure down. Some shoes may not have a midsole at all.
The heel is the bottom rear part of a shoe. Its function is to support the heel of the foot. They are often made of the same material as the sole of the shoe. This part can be high for fashion or to make the person look taller, or flat for a more practical and comfortable use. On some shoes the inner forward point of the heel is chiselled off, a feature known as a "gentleman's corner". This piece of design is intended to alleviate the problem of the points catching the bottom of trousers and was first observed in the 1930s. A heel is the projection at the back of a shoe which rests below the heel bone. The shoe heel is used to improve the balance of the shoe, increase the height of the wearer, alter posture or other decorative purposes. Sometimes raised, the high heel is common to a form of shoe often worn by women, but sometimes by men too. See also stiletto heel.
The upper helps hold the shoe onto the foot. In the simplest cases, such as sandals or flip-flops, this may be nothing more than a few straps for holding the sole in place. Closed footwear, such as boots, trainers and most men's shoes, will have a more complex upper. This part is often decorated or is made in a certain style to look attractive. The upper is connected to the sole by a strip of leather, rubber, or plastic that is stitched between it and the sole, known as a welt.
Most uppers have a mechanism, such as laces, straps with buckles, zippers, elastic, velcro straps, buttons, or snaps, for tightening the upper on the foot. Uppers with laces usually have a tongue that helps seal the laced opening and protect the foot from abrasion by the laces. Uppers with laces also have eyelets or hooks to make it easier to tighten and loosen the laces and to prevent the lace from tearing through the upper material. An aglet is the protective wrapping on the end of the lace.
The vamp is the front part of the shoe, starting behind the toe, extending around the eyelets and tongue and towards back part of the shoe.
The medial is the part of the shoe closest to a person's center of symmetry, and the lateral is on the opposite side, away from their center of symmetry. This can be in reference to either the outsole or the vamp. Most shoes have shoelaces on the upper, connecting the medial and lateral parts after one puts their shoes on and aiding in keeping their shoes on their feet. In 1968, Puma SE introduced the first pair of sneakers with Velcro straps in lieu of shoelaces, and these became popular by the 1980s, especially among children and the elderly.
The toe box is the part that covers and protects the toes. People with toe deformities, or individuals who experience toe swelling (such as long distance runners) usually require a larger toe box.
There are a wide variety of different types of shoes. Most types of shoes are designed for specific activities. For example, boots are typically designed for work or heavy outdoor use. Athletic shoes are designed for particular sports such as running, walking, or other sports. Some shoes are designed to be worn at more formal occasions, and others are designed for casual wear. There are also a wide variety of shoes designed for different types of dancing. Orthopedic shoes are special types of footwear designed for individuals with particular foot problems or special needs. Other animals, such as dogs and horses, may also wear special shoes to protect their feet as well.
Depending on the activity for which they are designed, some types of footwear may fit into multiple categories. For example, Cowboy boots are considered boots, but may also be worn in more formal occasions and used as dress shoes. Hiking boots incorporate many of the protective features of boots, but also provide the extra flexibility and comfort of many athletic shoes. Flip-flops are considered casual footwear, but have also been worn in formal occasions, such as visits to the White House.
Athletic shoes are specifically designed to be worn for participating in various sports. Since friction between the foot and the ground is an important force in most sports, modern athletic shoes are designed to maximize this force, and materials, such as rubber, are used. Although, for some activities such as dancing or bowling, sliding is desirable, so shoes designed for these activities often have lower coefficients of friction. The earliest athletic shoes date back to the mid 19th century were track spikes — leather shoes with metal cleats on the soles to provide increased friction during running. They were developed by J.W. Foster & Sons, which later become known as Reebok. By the end of the 19th century, Spalding also manufactured these shoes as well. Adidas started selling shoes with track spikes in them for running and soccer in 1925. Spikes were eventually added to shoes for baseball and American football in the 20th century. Golfers also use shoes with small metal spikes on their soles to prevent slipping during their swing.
The earliest rubber-soled athletic shoes date back to 1876 in the United Kingdom, when the New Liverpool Rubber Company made plimsolls, or sandshoes, designed for the sport of croquet. Similar rubber-soled shoes were made in 1892 in the United States by Humphrey O'Sullivan, based on Charles Goodyear's technology. The United States Rubber Company was founded the same year and produced rubber-soled and heeled shoes under a variety of brand names, which were later consolidated in 1916 under the name, Keds. These shoes became known as, "sneakers", because the rubber sole allowed the wearer to sneak up on another person. In 1964, the founding of Nike by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman of the University of Oregon introduced many new improvements common in modern running shoes, such as rubber waffle soles, breathable nylon uppers, and cushioning in the mid-sole and heel. During the 1970s, the expertise of podiatrists also became important in athletic shoe design, to implement new design features based on how feet reacted to specific actions, such as running, jumping, or side-to-side movement. Athletic shoes for women were also designed for their specific physiological differences.
Shoes specific to the sport of basketball were developed by Chuck Taylor, and are popularly known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. These shoes, first sold in 1917, are double-layer canvas shoes with rubber soles and toe caps, and a high heel (known as a "high top") for added support. In 1969, Taylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in recognition of this development, and in the 1970s, other shoe manufacturers, such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and others began imitating this style of athletic shoe. In April 1985, Nike introduced its own brand of basketball shoe which would become popular in its own right, the Air Jordan, named after the then-rookie Chicago Bulls basketball player, Michael Jordan. The Air Jordan line of shoes sold $100 million in their first year.
As barefoot running became popular by the late 20th and early 21st century, many modern shoe manufacturers have recently designed footwear that mimic this experience, maintaining optimum flexibility and natural walking while also providing some degree of protection. Termed as Minimalist shoes, their purpose is to allow one's feet and legs to feel more subtly the impacts and forces involved in running, allowing finer adjustments in running style. Some of these shoes include the Vibram FiveFingers, Nike Free, and Saucony's Kinvara and Hattori. Mexican huaraches are also very simple running shoes, similar to the shoes worn by the Tarahumara people of northern Mexico, who are known for their distance running abilities. Wrestling shoes are also very light and flexible shoes that are designed to mimic bare feet while providing additional traction and protection.
Many athletic shoes are designed with specific features for specific activities. One of these includes roller skates, which have metal or plastic wheels on the bottom specific for the sport of roller skating. Similarly, ice skates have a metal blade attached to the bottom for locomotion across ice. Skate shoes have also been designed to provide a comfortable, flexible and durable shoe for the sport of skateboarding. Climbing shoes are rubber-soled, tight-fitting shoes designed to fit in the small cracks and crevices for rock climbing. Cycling shoes are similarly designed with rubber soles and a tight fit, but also are equipped with a metal or plastic cleat to interface with clipless pedals, as well as a stiff sole to maximize power transfer and support the foot. Some shoes are made specifically to improve a person's ability to weight train.
A boot is a special type of shoe which covers the foot and the ankle and extends up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. They are typically made of leather or rubber, although they may be made from a variety of different materials. Boots are worn both for their functionality — protecting the foot and leg from water, snow, mud or hazards or providing additional ankle support for strenuous activities — as well as for reasons of style and fashion.
Cowboy boots are a specific style of riding boot which combines function with fashion. They became popular among cowboys in the western United States during the 19th century. Traditional cowboy boots have a Cuban heel, rounded to pointed toe, high shaft, and, traditionally, no lacing. They are normally made from cowhide leather but may be made from more exotic skins such as ostrich, anaconda, or elephant skins.
Hiking boots are designed to provide extra ankle and arch support, as well as extra padding for comfort during hiking. They are constructed to provide comfort for miles of walking over rough terrains, and protect the hiker's feet against water, mud, rocks, and other wilderness obstacles. These boots support the ankle to avoid twisting but do not restrict the ankle's movement too much. They are fairly stiff to support the foot. A properly fitted boot and/or friction-reducing patches applied to troublesome areas ensures protection against blisters and other discomforts associated with long hikes on rugged terrain.
During wet or snowy weather, snow boots are worn to keep the foot warm and dry. They are typically made of rubber or other water-resistant material, have multiple layers of insulation, and a high heel to keep snow out. Boots may also be attached to snowshoes to increase the distribution of weight over a larger surface area for walking in snow. Ski boots are a specialized snow boot which are used in alpine or cross-country skiing and designed to provide a way to attach the skier to his/her skis using ski bindings. The ski/boot/binding combination is used to effectively transmit control inputs from the skier's legs to the snow. Ice skates are another specialized boot with a metal blade attached to the bottom which is used to propel the wearer across a sheet of ice. Inline skates are similar to ice skates but with a set of three to four wheels in lieu of the blade, which are designed to mimic ice skating on solid surfaces such as wood or concrete.
Boots are designed to withstand heavy wear to protect the wearer and provide good traction. They are generally made from sturdy leather uppers and non-leather outsoles. They may be used for uniforms of the police or military, as well as for protection in industrial settings such as mining and construction. Protective features may include steel-tipped toes and soles or ankle guards.
Dress shoes are characterized by smooth and supple leather uppers, leather soles, and narrow sleek figure. Casual shoes are characterized by sturdy leather uppers, non-leather outsoles, and wide profile.
Some designs of dress shoes can be worn by either gender. The majority of dress shoes have an upper covering, commonly made of leather, enclosing most of the lower foot, but not covering the ankles. This upper part of the shoe is often made without apertures or openings, but may also be made with openings or even itself consist of a series of straps, e.g. an open toe featured in women's shoes. Shoes with uppers made high to cover the ankles are also available; a shoe with the upper rising above the ankle is usually considered a boot but certain styles may be referred to as high-topped shoes or high-tops. Usually, a high-topped shoe is secured by laces or zippers, although some styles have elastic inserts to ease slipping the shoe on.
Men's shoes can be categorized by how they are closed:
Men's shoes can also be decorated in various ways:
Formal high-end men's shoes are manufactured by several companies around the world, amongst others in Great Britain, France, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Italy, and to a lesser extent in the United States. Notable British brands include: Church's English Shoes (est. 1873), John Lobb Bootmaker (est. 1849), Edward Green Shoes (est. 1890), and Crockett & Jones (est. 1879). Both John Lobb and Edward Green offer bespoke products. In between the world wars, men's footwear received significant innovation and design, led by cobblers and cordwainers in London's West End. A well-known French maker is J.M. Weston. Armani of Italy was a major influence on men's shoe design in the 1960s–1980s until they returned to the larger proportions of its forebears, the welt-constructed Anglo-American dress shoe originally created in Edwardian England. Another well-known Italian company is Salvatore Ferragamo Italia S.p.A.. Higher end companies in the United States are Allen Edmonds and Alden Shoe Company. Alden, located in New England, specializes in genuine shell cordovan leather from the only remaining horse tannery in the USA, in Chicago and is completely manufactured domestically, whereas Allen Edmonds, of Wisconsin, is a larger company that outsources some of its production.
There is a large variety of shoes available for women, in addition to most of the men's styles being more accepted as unisex. Some broad categories are:
A wide variety of footwear is used by dancers. The choice of dance shoe type depends on the style of dance that is to be performed and, in many cases, the characteristics of the surface that will be danced on.
Orthopedic shoes are specially-designed footwear to relieve discomfort associated with many foot and ankle disorders, such as blisters, bunions, calluses and corns, hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, or heel spurs. They may also be worn by individuals with diabetes or people with unequal leg length. These shoes typically have a low heel, tend to be wide with a particularly wide toe box, and have a firm heel to provide extra support. Some may also have a removable insole, or orthotic, to provide extra arch support.
The measure of a foot for a shoe is from the heel to the longest toe. Shoe size is an alphanumerical indication of the fitting size of a shoe for a person. Often it just consists of a number indicating the length because many shoemakers only provide a standard width for economic reasons. There are several different shoe-size systems that are used worldwide. These systems differ in what they measure, what unit of measurement they use, and where the size 0 (or 1) is positioned. Only a few systems also take the width of the feet into account. Some regions use different shoe-size systems for different types of shoes (e.g., men's, women's, children's, sport, or safety shoes).
Units for shoe sizes vary widely around the world. European sizes are measured in Paris Points, which are worth two-thirds of a centimeter. The UK and American units are approximately one-quarter of an inch, starting at 8¼ inches. Men's and women's shoe sizes often have different scales. Shoes size is often measured using a Brannock Device, which can determine both the width and length size values of the foot.
Adidas AG (German: [ˈʔadiˌdas] AH-dee-DAHS; stylized as ɑdidɑs since 1949) is a multinational corporation, founded and headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories. It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second largest in the world, after Nike. It is the holding company for the Adidas Group, which consists of the Reebok sportswear company, TaylorMade golf company (including Ashworth), Runtastic, an Austrian fitness technology company and 8.33% of German football club Bayern Munich. Adidas' revenue for 2016 was listed at €19.29 billion.The company was started by Adolf Dassler in his mother's house; he was joined by his elder brother Rudolf in 1924 under the name Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. Dassler assisted in the development of spiked running shoes (spikes) for multiple athletic events. To enhance the quality of spiked athletic footwear, he transitioned from a previous model of heavy metal spikes to utilising canvas and rubber. Dassler persuaded U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens to use his handmade spikes at the 1936 Summer Olympics. In 1949, following a breakdown in the relationship between the brothers, Adolf created Adidas, and Rudolf established Puma, which became Adidas' business rival.Adidas' logo is three stripes, which is used on the company's clothing and shoe designs as a marketing aid. The branding, which Adidas bought in 1952 from Finnish sports company Karhu Sports, became so successful that Dassler described Adidas as "The three stripes company". The brand name is uncapitalized and is stylized with a lower case "a".Air Jordan
Air Jordan is a brand of basketball shoes, athletic, casual, and style clothing produced by Nike. It was created for former professional basketball player Michael Jordan. The original Air Jordan sneakers were produced exclusively for Michael Jordan in early 1984, and released to the public in late 1984. The shoes were designed for Nike by Peter Moore, Tinker Hatfield, and Bruce Kilgore.Bloch (company)
Bloch is a manufacturer of pointe shoes and other types of dance shoes, dance costumes, and dance fashion accessories.Clog
Clogs are a type of footwear made in part or completely from wood. Clogs are used worldwide and although the form may vary by culture, within a culture the form often remained unchanged for centuries.
Traditional clogs remain in use as protective footwear in agriculture and in some factories and mines. Although clogs are sometimes negatively associated with cheap and folkloric footwear of farmers and the working class, some types of clogs are considered fashion wear today, such as Swedish träskor or Japanese geta.
Clogs are also used in several different styles of dance. When worn for dancing an important feature is the sound of the clog against the floor. This is one of the fundamental roots of tap, but with the tap shoes the taps are free to click against each other and produce a different sound from clogs.Converse (shoe company)
Converse is an American shoe company that primarily produces skating shoes and lifestyle brand footwear and apparel. Founded in 1908, it has been a subsidiary of Nike, Inc. since 2003.During World War II, the company shifted its manufacturing from the public, and instead made footwear for the military. It was one of the few producers of athletic shoes and for over a half century the company dominated the American court shoe market. From the 1970s, the company lost its dominant position after other companies presented their own styles.
Converse shoes are distinguished by a number of features, including the company's star insignia, the All Star's rubber sole, smooth rounded toe, and wrap-around strip.
Converse manufactures its products under the Cons, Chuck Taylor All-Star, John Varvatos, and Jack Purcell trade names. In addition to apparel and footwear, the company sells other items through retailers in over 160 countries and through approximately 75 company-owned retail stores across the United States, and employed 2,658 in the U.S. in 2015.Current collector
Electric current collectors are used by trolleybuses, trams, electric locomotives or EMUs to carry electrical power from overhead lines or electrical third rails to the electrical equipment of the vehicles. Those for overhead wires are roof-mounted devices, those for third rails are mounted on the bogies.
Typically, they have one or more spring-loaded arms that press a collector or contact shoe against the rail or overhead wire. As the vehicle moves, the contact shoe slides along the wire or rail to draw the electricity needed to run the vehicle's motor.
The current collector arms are electrically conductive but mounted insulated on the vehicle's roof, side or base. An insulated cable connects the collector with the switch, transformer or motor. The steel rails of the tracks act as the electrical return.
Electric vehicles that collect their current from an overhead line system use different forms of one- or two-arm pantograph collectors, bow collectors or trolley poles. The current collection device presses against the underside of the lowest wire of an overhead line system, which is called a contact wire.
Most overhead supply systems are either DC or single phase AC, using a single wire with return through the grounded running rails. Three phase AC systems use a pair of overhead wires, and paired trolley poles.European Golden Shoe
The European Golden Shoe (also known as the European Golden Boot) is an award that is presented each season to the leading goalscorer in league matches from the top division of every European national league. The trophy is a sculpture of a football boot. From its inception in the 1967–68 season, the award, originally called Soulier d'Or, which translates from French as Golden Shoe or Boot, has been given to the top goalscorer in all European leagues during a season, with a weighting in favour of the highest ranked leagues. Originally presented by L'Équipe magazine, it has been awarded by the European Sports Media since the 1996–97 season.High-heeled shoe
High heels are a type of shoe in which the heel, compared with the toe, is significantly higher off the ground. These shoes go beyond simply protecting the foot from the ground or improving efficiency of walking. High heels make the wearer appear taller, accentuating the calf muscle and the length of the leg overall. There are many types of high heels, which come in different styles, colors, and materials, and can be found all over the world. They have significant cultural and fashionable meanings attached to them, which have been largely shaped by historical contexts over the past 1,000 years.Horseshoe
A horseshoe is a fabricated product, normally made of metal, although sometimes made partially or wholly of modern synthetic materials, designed to protect a horse's hoof from wear. Shoes are attached on the palmar surface (ground side) of the hooves, usually nailed through the insensitive hoof wall that is anatomically akin to the human toenail, although much larger and thicker. However, there are also cases where shoes are glued.
The fitting of horseshoes is a professional occupation, conducted by a farrier, who specializes in the preparation of feet, assessing potential lameness issues, and fitting appropriate shoes, including remedial features where required. In some countries, such as the U.K., horseshoeing is legally restricted to only people with specific qualifications and experience. In others, such as the United States, where professional licensing is not legally required, professional organizations provide certification programs that publicly identify qualified individuals.
Horseshoes are available in a wide variety of materials and styles, developed for different types of horse and for the work they do. The most common materials are steel and aluminium, but specialized shoes may include use of rubber, plastic, magnesium, titanium, or copper. Steel tends to be preferred in sports in which a strong, long-wearing shoe is needed, such as polo, eventing, show jumping, and western riding events. Aluminium shoes are lighter, making them common in horse racing, where a lighter shoe is desired; and often facilitate certain types of movement, and so are favored in the discipline of dressage. Some horseshoes have "caulkins", "caulks", or "calks": protrusions at the toe or heels of the shoe, or both, to provide additional traction.
When kept as a talisman, a horseshoe is said to bring good luck. A stylized variation of the horseshoe is used for a popular throwing game, horseshoes.Hot shoe
A hot shoe is a mounting point on the top of a camera to attach a flash unit and other compatible accessories. It takes the form of an angled metal bracket surrounding a metal contact point which shorts an electrical connection between camera and accessory for standard, brand-independent flash synchronization.
The hot shoe is a development of the standardised "accessory shoe", with no flash contacts, formerly fitted to cameras to hold accessories such as a rangefinder, or flash connected by a cable.
The dimensions of the hot shoe are defined by the International Organization for Standardization in ISO 518:2006. Details such as trigger voltage are not standardised; electrical incompatibilities are still possible between brands.New Balance
New Balance Athletics, Inc. (NB), best known as simply New Balance, is an American multinational corporation based in the Boston, Massachusetts area. The company was founded in 1906 as the "New Balance Arch Support Company" and is one of the world's major sports footwear and apparel manufacturers.
New Balance maintains a manufacturing presence in the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom for the European market, where they produce some of their most popular models such as the 990 model—in contrast to its competitors, which often manufacture exclusively outside the United States and Europe. As a result, New Balance shoes tend to be more expensive than those of many other manufacturers. To offset this pricing difference, New Balance claims to differentiate their products with technical features, such as blended gel inserts, heel counters and a greater selection of sizes, particularly for very narrow or very wide widths. The company has made total profits of approximately $69 billion since 1992.Nike, Inc.
Nike, Inc. () is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area. It is the world's largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment, with revenue in excess of US$24.1 billion in its fiscal year 2012 (ending May 31, 2012). As of 2012, it employed more than 44,000 people worldwide. In 2014 the brand alone was valued at $19 billion, making it the most valuable brand among sports businesses. As of 2017, the Nike brand is valued at $29.6 billion. Nike ranked No. 89 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.The company was founded on January 25, 1964, as Blue Ribbon Sports, by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, and officially became Nike, Inc. on May 30, 1971. The company takes its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Nike markets its products under its own brand, as well as Nike Golf, Nike Pro, Nike+, Air Jordan, Nike Blazers, Air Force 1, Nike Dunk, Air Max, Foamposite, Nike Skateboarding, Nike CR7, and subsidiaries including Brand Jordan, Hurley International and Converse. Nike also owned Bauer Hockey (later renamed Nike Bauer) from 1995 to 2008, and previously owned Cole Haan and Umbro. In addition to manufacturing sportswear and equipment, the company operates retail stores under the Niketown name. Nike sponsors many high-profile athletes and sports teams around the world, with the highly recognized trademarks of "Just Do It" and the Swoosh logo.Puma (brand)
Puma SE, branded as Puma, is a German multinational company that designs and manufactures athletic and casual footwear, apparel and accessories, which is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany. PUMA is the third largest sportswear manufacturer in the world. The company was founded in 1948 by Rudolf Dassler. In 1924, Rudolf and his brother Adolf Dassler had jointly formed the company Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). The relationship between the two brothers deteriorated until the two agreed to split in 1948, forming two separate entities, Adidas and Puma. Both companies are currently based in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
Puma has been a public company since 1986, listed at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. French luxury group Kering (formerly known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute or PPR) holds 16%, Kering's largest shareholder Artemis SA owns 29% of the share capital. Since 1 July 2013, the company has been led by former football professional Bjørn Gulden (CEO).
As of 2017, Puma SE employs more than 13,000 people worldwide and distributes its products in more than 120 countries.Following the split from his brother, Rudolf Dassler originally registered the new-established company as Ruda, but later changed the name to Puma. Puma's earliest logo consisted of a square and beast jumping through a D, which was registered, along with the company's name, in 1948. Puma's shoe and clothing designs feature the Puma logo and the distinctive "Formstrip" which was introduced in 1958.Reebok
Reebok () is an English footwear and apparel company, subsidiary of German sportsgiant Adidas since 2005. Reebok produces and distributes fitness, running and CrossFit sportswear including clothing and footwear. It is the official footwear and apparel sponsor for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), CrossFit, and Spartan Race.In 1958, Reebok was established as a companion company to J.W. Foster and Sons, founded in 1895 in Bolton, Lancashire, England. From 1895 until 1986, all Reebok apparel featured the U.K. flag. The Union Flag is featured on Reebok's "Classic" line of apparel.The company's global headquarters are located in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., with regional offices in Amsterdam, Montreal, Hong Kong, and Mexico City.
In November 2016, Reebok announced they would be moving their headquarters from the Boston suburb of Canton to the innovation and design building in the seaport district of South Boston. The reasons for the move, according to the company, were to be located in an urban environment that is more desirable to millennial workers and to “clarify the roles” of United States offices. The move was completed in autumn of 2018.Shoe size
A shoe size is an indication of the fitting size of a shoe for a person.
There are a number of different shoe-size systems used worldwide. While all of them use a number to indicate the length of the shoe, they differ in exactly what they measure, what unit of measurement they use, and where the size 0 (or 1) is positioned. Some systems also indicate the shoe width, sometimes also as a number, but in many cases by one or more letters. Some regions use different shoe-size systems for different types of shoes (e.g. men's, women's, children's, sport, and safety shoes). This article sets out several complexities in the definition of shoe sizes. In practice, shoes should be tried on for size and fit before they are purchased.Shoegazing
Shoegazing (or shoegaze, initially known as "dream pop") is a subgenre of indie and alternative rock that emerged in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. It is characterized by its ethereal-sounding mixture of obscured vocals, guitar distortion and effects, feedback, and overwhelming volume. The term "shoegazing" was coined by the British music press to describe the stage presence of a wave of neo-psychedelic groups who stood still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state with their heads down. This was because the heavy use of effects pedals meant the performers were often looking down at the readouts on their effects pedals during concerts.
Most shoegaze bands drew from the glide guitar template set by My Bloody Valentine on their late 1980s EPs and 1988 album Isn't Anything. A loose label given to the shoegaze scene and other affiliated bands in London in the early 1990s was The Scene That Celebrates Itself. In the early 1990s, shoegaze groups were pushed aside by the American grunge movement and early Britpop acts such as Suede, forcing the relatively unknown bands to break up or reinvent their style altogether. In the 2000s, there was renewed interest in the genre among "Nu gaze" bands.Shoemaking
Shoemaking is the process of making footwear.
Originally, shoes were made one at a time by hand. Traditional handicraft shoemaking has now been largely superseded in volume of shoes produced by industrial mass production of footwear, but not necessarily in quality, attention to detail, or craftsmanship.
Shoemakers (also known as cordwainers) may produce a range of footwear items, including shoes, boots, sandals, clogs and moccasins. Such items are generally made of leather, wood, rubber, plastic, jute or other plant material, and often consist of multiple parts for better durability of the sole, stitched to a leather upper part.
Trades that engage in shoemaking have included the cordwainer's and cobbler's trades. Today, shoes are often made on a volume basis, rather than a craft basis.Sneakers
Sneakers (also called trainers, athletic shoes, tennis shoes, gym shoes, sport shoes or runners) are shoes primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise, but which are now also widely used for everyday wear. The term generally describes a type of footwear with a flexible sole made of rubber or synthetic material and an upper part made of leather, synthetic substitutes or cloth.Tap dance
Tap dance is a type of dance characterized by using the sounds of tap shoes striking the floor as a form of percussion. The sound is made by shoes that have a metal "tap" on the heel and toe. There are several major variations on tap dance including: flamenco, rhythm (jazz) tap, classical tap, Broadway tap, and post-modern tap. Broadway tap is rooted in English theatrical tradition and often focuses on formations, choreography and generally less complex rhythms; it is widely performed in musical theatre. Rhythm tap focuses on musicality, and practitioners consider themselves to be a part of the jazz tradition. Classical tap has a similarly long tradition which marries European "classical" music with American foot drumming with a wide variation in full-body expression. Post-modern or contemporary tap has emerged over the last three decades to incorporate abstract expression, thematic narrative and technology.
There are different brands of shoes which sometimes differ in the way they sound. "Soft-shoe" is a rhythm form of tap dancing that does not require special shoes, and though rhythm is generated by tapping of the feet, it also uses sliding of the feet (even sometimes using scattered sand on the stage to enhance the sound of sliding feet) more often than modern rhythm tap. It produced what is currently considered to be modern tap, but has since declined in popularity.
Running shoe brands
|Global sports brands|
|Types of running shoes|