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Shoe


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 hot ground, 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 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.



"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 shoemakers, 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."
  • Oxfords (also referred as "Balmorals"): the vamp has a V-shaped slit to which the laces are attached; also known as "closed lacing". The word "Oxford" is sometimes used by American clothing companies to market shoes that are not Balmorals, such as Blüchers.
  • Derby shoe: the laces are tied to two pieces of leather independently attached to the vamp; also known as "open lacing" and is a step down in dressiness. If the laces are not independently attached to the vamp, the shoe is known as a blucher shoe. This name is, in American English, often used about derbys.
  • Monk-straps: a buckle and strap instead of lacing
  • Slip-ons: There are no lacings or fastenings. The popular loafers are part of this category, as well as less popular styles, such as elastic-sided shoes.
  • Plain-toes: have a sleek appearance and no extra decorations on the vamp.
  • Cap-toes: has an extra layer of leather that "caps" the toe.
  • Brogues (American: wing-tips): The toe of the shoe is covered with a perforated panel, the wing-tip, which extends down either side of the shoe. Brogues can be found in both balmoral and blucher styles, but are considered slightly less formal.
  • High-heeled footwear is footwear that raises the heels, typically 2 inches (5 cm) or more above the toes, commonly worn by women for formal occasions or social outings. Variants include kitten heels (typically 1½-2 inches high) and stiletto heels (with a very narrow heel post) and wedge heels (with a wedge-shaped sole rather than a heel post).
  • Mules are shoes or slippers with no fitting around the heel (i.e. they are backless)
  • Slingbacks are shoes which are secured by a strap behind the heel, rather than over the top of the foot.
  • Ballet flats, known in the UK as ballerinas, ballet pumps or skimmers, are shoes with a very low heel and a relatively short vamp, exposing much of the instep. They are popular for warm-weather wear, and may be seen as more comfortable than shoes with a higher heel.
  • Court shoes, known in the United States as pumps, are typically high-heeled, slip-on dress shoes.
  • Clog
  • Platform shoe: shoe with very thick soles and heels
  • Sandals: open shoes consisting of a sole and various straps, leaving much of the foot exposed to air. They are thus popular for warm-weather wear, because they let the foot be cooler than a closed-toed shoe would.
  • Saddle shoe: leather shoe with a contrasting saddle-shaped band over the instep, typically white uppers with black "saddle".
  • Slip-on shoe: a dress or casual shoe without shoelaces or fasteners; often with tassels, buckles, or coin-holders (penny loafers).
  • Boat shoes, also known as "deck shoes": similar to a loafer, but more casual. Laces are usually simple leather with no frills. Typically made of leather and featuring a soft white sole to avoid marring or scratching a boat deck. The first boat shoe was invented in 1935 by Paul A. Sperry.
  • Slippers: For indoor use, commonly worn with pajamas.
  • Pointe shoes are designed for ballet dancing. These have a toe box that is stiffened with glue and a hardened sole so the dancer can stand on the tips of their toes. They are secured by elastic straps and ribbons that are tied to the dancer's ankles.
  • Ballet shoes are soft, pliable shoes made of canvas or leather, with either continuous or two-part sole (also called split-sole), used for ballet dancing. The sole is typically made of leather, with thicker material under the ball and heel of the foot, and thinner and thus more flexible material under the arch so that the foot can be easily pointed. They are typically secured by elastics across the top of the foot.
  • Ghillies are soft shoes that are used in Irish dance, Scottish country dance, and highland dance.
  • Jazz shoes typically have a two-part rubberized sole (also called split-sole) to provide both flexibility and traction, and a short heel. They are secured to the foot by laces or elastic inserts.
  • Tango and Flamenco shoes are used for tango or flamenco dancing.
  • Ballroom shoes fall into two categories: Ballroom and Latin American. Both are characterised by suede soles. Men's ballroom shoes are typically lace-ups with one-inch heels and patent leather uppers. Ladies' ballroom shoes are typically court shoes with two-inch heels, made of fabric that can be colored to match the dancer's dress. In contrast to the low Ballroom heel, which evenly distributes weight across the foot, Latin American shoes have higher heels designed to shift weight onto the toes. Latin shoes are also more flexible than ballroom shoes. Men's Latin shoes typically have 1.5- to 2-inch high, shaped heels, while Ladies' Latin shoes have 2,5-inch to 3-inch heels. Ladies shoes are typically open-toed and strapped.
  • Dance sneakers are lightweight sneakers with reinforced rubber toes that allows dancers to briefly stand on their toes. These are known by various trademarked names, such as dansneakers.
  • Foot thongs are slip-on, partial foot covers that cover the ball of the dancer's foot so as to reduce friction while executing turns, thus making it easier to perform turns and also protecting the foot from skin abrasions. From a distance, flesh colored foot thongs give a dancer the appearance of having bare feet. They are known by various names depending on the manufacturer, including dance paws, foot undies, and foot paws.
  • Tap shoes have metal plates mounted to the bottoms of the toe and heel. The metal plates, which are known as taps, make a loud sound when struck against a hard performance surface. Tap shoes, which are used in tap dancing, may be made from any style of shoe to which taps can be attached.
  • Character shoes are leather shoes with one- to three-inch heels, usually with one or more straps across the instep to secure it to the foot. They may be soft-soled (suede) or hard-soled. They may be converted to tap shoes by attaching taps.
  • Foam tap — a small foam pad placed under the ball of the foot to push the foot up and back if the shoe is too loose.
  • Heel grip — used to prevent the shoe from slipping on the heel if the fit is not perfect
  • (Orthopedic) shoe insert — insert of various materials for cushioning, improved fit, or reduced abrasion. These include padding and inner linings. Inserts may also be used to correct foot problems.
  • Overshoes or galoshes — a rubber covering placed over shoes for rain and snow protection.
  • Shoe bag — a bag that protects shoes against damage when they are not being worn.
  • Shoe brush and polishing cloth: used to apply polish to shoes.
  • Shoe polish — a waxy material spread on shoes to improve appearance and glossiness, and provide protection.
  • Shoe stretcher — a tool for making a shoe longer or wider or for reducing discomfort in areas of a shoe.
  • Shoe tree — placed inside the shoe when user is not wearing it, to help maintain the shoe's shape.
  • Shoehorn — can be used to insert a foot into a shoe by keeping the shoe open and providing a smooth surface for the foot to slide upon.
  • Shoelaces — a system used to secure shoes.
  • Snow shoe — a wooden or leather piece that increases the area of ground covered by the shoe.
  • Bergstein, Rachelle (2012). Women From the Ankle Down – The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us (Hardback). New York: Harper Collins. pp. 284 pages. ISBN . 
  • History of Footwear in Norway, Sweden and Finland: prehistory to 1950,
  • Patrick Cox: Wit, Irony, and Footwear, Tamasin Doe (1998)
  • A Century of Shoes: Icons of Style in the 20th Century, Angela Pattison
  • Design Museum Fifty Shoes that Changed the World. London: Conran Octopus, 2009
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Wikipedia

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