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How to Best Choose your Mountain Hiking Boots and Shoes?

How to choose your mountain hiking shoesThe choice of a pair of shoes for hiking/mountaineering can be difficult. In reality, there is unfortunately not a shoe for every foot. Therefore, it will be necessary to find the best compromise between fit, size, and type of shoes for an activity where the feet will always play the main role. Here are some explanations and simple tricks to avoid making a mistake when choosing a hiking shoe.

The shoes: First safety element in mountaineering

Statistics of climbing accidents show that most of them take place in terrains not classified as “mountaineering”. They are losses of balance or falls on slopes of average altitude where the exposure is sometimes more severe than it appears to be. In this type of terrain, the shoes play a central role. The quality of the outsole’s grip and an adapted rigidity make it possible to control movement on slopes, and good support is necessary for slippery areas like grassy slopes, wet ground, and snow.

Mountain shoes: Safety criteria for the selection of your future shoes:

  • Rigidity: is essential for the behavior of the foot and the grip on mountainous terrain.
  • Support: good support is the result of a shoe that is well adapted to your foot, with a high stem, which will support the articulation of the ankle and the bottom of the tibia.
  • Outsole’s grip: the grip of the outsoles depends on the quality of the material used and its notching. In general, softer rubber has the best grip on rocks but it will wear quickly, which is penalizing because a resoling is rather expensive and does not always provide satisfactory results. Hard rubber will be more resistant to wear. Thus we are seeking a good compromise according to the terrain used (softer for rock climbing, harder for the high road and traditional hiking) but nowadays we can find good soleplates combining longevity and satisfactory rock grip.
  • Protection / Waterproofing: Stone-guard, lateral reinforcements, and type of material used will ensure the longevity of the shoes and will protect you from the outside elements (stone, rocks, branches).

Essential components of your hiking shoes:

Essential components of your hiking shoes

  • Self-locking hooks: In general located on the top or in the middle of the shoe. These features make it possible to block the totality or the low part of the tightening for more precise adjustments and locking of the behavior of the shoe during the effort. In general, you should tighten the shoe more during the descent than during the climb to better support the foot.
  • Air cushion or midsole: This feature is very important to absorb the shocks and thus to relieve the joints of the hiker and his lumbar. On the technical models, it is, in general, more important on the heel than in front of the shoe where we are seeking more precision and “feeling” of the terrain. For hikes of long distances, rough ground, and backpacking, the quality of the cushioning is vital.
  • Cut: Can be low, mid, or high. It could be mesh, synthetic, split leather, nubuck leather, full-grain leather…
  • Stone-guard: Rigid part on the front of the shoe which minimizes the shock from hitting a rock. It also limits the scratching of the front part of the shoes.

The 5 types of mountain shoes

 

>> 1. Mountaineering boots can be broken down into several categories:

  • For winter mountaineering and expeditions: shoes intended for temperatures lower than -20°C (-4°F).  These are often equipped with an outer gaiter and are more or less technical depending on the model.  Most of these are composed of an inner liner that fits inside the shoe.  They can accept crampons with automatic fastening (step-in) thanks to their front and rear welts (see paragraph on crampons).
  • For technical mountaineering with difficult routes: This rigid footwear allows you to stand without too much effort on supports that are located in vertical environments. Its rigidity enables the use of crampons with automatic fastening (front and rear welts).
  • For high mountaineering and “easy” mountaineering routes: These shoes are adapted to the altitude, to paths sometimes off-trail, with sections in snow and even on ice. Multipurpose and ideal for snow routes from E to M grade (Easy to Moderate) with slopes up to 45°, they are mountaineering boots of high cut with semi-rigid soleplates. They can receive hybrid (or semi-step-in) crampons (heel welt).

>> 2. Shoes for long hiking trails

These hiking/trekking shoes have a high cut with a semi-rigid soleplate and substantial cushion for steep slopes and significant loads. In theory, they are not designed for use on steep snow slopes, however, strap-on crampons can be added (some crampons now have the ability to fit on soleplates flexible enough, eg: Petzl Vasak)

 

Shoes for long hiking trail

>> 4. Approach shoes

For a decade, manufacturers have been offering low cut mountain shoes with sufficient cushion to carry a load, with rigidity and quality of soleplate that is well-adapted to difficult terrain.

Originally designed for reaching the foot of climbing walls, where they would be replaced by climbing shoes, they are now used as hiking shoes and even mountaineering for certain routes. These shoes are therefore interesting but still lower than the “mid” cuts so should be reserved for experienced hikers.  I highly recommend the use of hiking poles when wearing approach shoes.

 

Approach shoes

>> 5. Trail running shoes

Light and cushioning, but specific to running in “mountainous” terrain.

They offer little protection.

 

Trail running shoes

Which shoes for which terrain?

First, you have to choose a shoe that corresponds to your foot. Finding the best fit is the first thing to consider. In general, the brands are typed (Scarpa fits wide feet, as well as Meindl and Lowa. La Sportiva tends to fit “medium” originally typed “slim feet”, same with Asolo. Kayland has quite a slim fit with enough space on the front, Merrell fits narrow at the heel and wider in front, etc.)

Next, find a shoe that makes you happy, that corresponds to your nature as a mountaineer, eg. all leather or lighter materials with membrane GTX, very high cuts or lightweight…

Some models are very versatile and can do everything, from hiking paths to the Mont Blanc and slopes of 45°. For most mountain enthusiasts, it may be sufficient to have two pairs: one for short hikes in mid-height mountains (possibly mid cuts), and a pair for high “easy” mountaineering routes with hybrid crampons (see paragraph on crampons). Then there are the more “technical” shoes that are of interest to those who want to go for the tough and the cold.

Choose also based on the visited massifs and your level of training. The less you are trained, the more protective your shoes have to be. The lightness, always double-edged, will always be more suited to good fitness level and “dry” mountain conditions.

The choice of the right stiffness on your hiking boots

The rigidity is primarily due to the soleplate and is tested by trying to bend the shoe. If it twists like a sponge, it is considered as very flexible. At the other extreme, if you cannot “fold” it, it is considered very rigid. The rigidity may be quasi-total on technical mountaineering shoes, that is to say, that they practically cannot bend, while rigidity is low in footwear made for minimalist hiking.

The choice of the right stiffness on your hiking boots

At first sight, in the store, the rigidity of a shoe may seem unpleasant. But on a long journey, it will support the bottom of the leg and relieve strain on the foot in steep terrain (so far as the foot is also adapted to the fit of the model worn).

In the mountains, a lack of rigidity on the part of the shoe will be, in the long run, synonymous with lack of stability for the foot which will seek instinctively to compensate with more muscular effort. So please do not hesitate to choose shoes rigid enough if you want to explore the ground. With a suitable fit to your foot, you will not suffer while wearing rigid footwear and you will find that, for hours, the rigidity will offer you comfort and security.

Many of the falls on the trail are unfortunately due to “fatigue” that occurs when the hiker is at the end of the muscle resources of the tibia/ankle area. This area, when not quite supported by a rigid and high enough shoe, will suffer the efforts required by the terrain, a little like a car in abrupt turns with outdated suspensions. In the case of a hiker with little training, this fatigue can occur quickly and have negative effects.

The ongoing strain on the foot/ankle/calf area can become a point of suffering that depletes the mental resources as well as the physical. The mental state becoming, in turn, vulnerable, the hiker will be less lucid and more sensitive to the difficulties of the terrain. The risk factor will, therefore, increase significantly.

The choice of the right size and good fit for your mountain boots

I must say at first glance: the fitting is difficult! The errors of assessment on the sizes or the fitting are frequent.

A good seller must ask you to see your foot, before offering you models to try. If he does not request it, do it yourself. Before trying on a model, look first if the footwear is compatible with the shape of your foot.  Here are some guidelines:

1- The shoe size:

Brick and mortar sporting goods shops still have beautiful days ahead. Buying shoes online without trying them on is a bit like playing roulette. The sizes are not necessarily the same from brand to brand, or even between different models of the same brand. And even for the same model, you can have incredible offsets after a few months. It makes you wonder if the manufacturers do it on purpose.

See also  Long-Distance Hiking for Beginners [Ultimate Guide]

Test of the shoe size

Best Hiking GPS

Test of the shoe size

To choose your size, I class hiking shoes into two categories:

  • Rigid shoes (long trekking and mountaineering): you need, in general, a size bigger than the size of your dominant foot. Complete the following steps: stand in the unlaced, OPEN shoes while wearing a pair of average socks. Push your foot till it touches the end of the shoe with the toes. In this position, there must be space for a finger (rather small, say about 1cm) behind the heel. Lace the shoe and verify that the heel does not raise completely during walking.
  • Thinner shoes, less rigid, “mid” or “low” cut types may have 1/2 shoe size less, in general, that the “thick” ones, or even more. For this type of shoes, the foot must have a little space but not too much. We will not look for a real space at the heel, but a concept of comfort and non-compression of the toes.

Few shoes really loosen up, but the internal cushions are going to compress a little and become slightly compacted in the long run (I do not know if this is equivalent to 1/4 of shoe size), let’s say that it is the margin for a thick pair of socks.

2- The footwear (or fit) (Thin foot, wide foot, the sensitivity of the tibia …)

A good fit must, ideally, accommodate your foot and maintain it in the movements of walking. Brands were quite typed in the past. They are trying today to design footwear with more “catch-all” fits that are suitable to the greatest number of foot shapes possible.  In general, the Italian brands offer a narrower fit than the German ones by offering metatarsus widths of 96 to 102 compared to 100 to 106 (some models are offered in two widths among Meindl and Lowa for very wide feet).

Test of the fit

First check that you have the right size, otherwise it is of no use. Moderately tighten the shoe while wearing a pair of average socks.

The space for the toes must allow the toes to move and to “breathe”. The front of the foot must not have a linear motion to the right or to the left with banked steps. Pay attention not to compress the front of the foot to try to gain precision. This type of compression will have to be paid for overtime and the bill arrives in your forties with problems like Morton’s syndrome that women with narrow, compressing shoes know unfortunately well that can become more than a handicap.

The heel should barely rise in the roll of the foot. New shoes will soften slightly with time, but the heel should not lift completely off the sole on pain of overheating, blisters, and early suffering.

The impression of the general comfort of the foot must be good, but beware! It is during the first hike that you will know for sure, after one or two hours of walking, and ideally with a backpack and across a slope.

Waterproofing and waterproof membrane of your mountain shoes

Waterproofing and waterproof membrane of your mountain shoes

It is a fundamental point for active mountain activities. But do not think that because the manufacturers speak of impermeability that your shoes are totally waterproof (I do not know any that are, apart from rubber boots).

The low cut shoes, called approach shoes, are very sensitive to water because of their opening. Due to this fact, manufacturers do not seek to add a membrane (which I believe is wrong, because a walk of 3 minutes in wet grass will have you sheepishly returning home). Let us, therefore, forget this type of footwear when one speaks of impermeability and let us focus on the high cut shoes.

In the classifications of the manufacturers, we will read: good water-resistant qualities, very good water-resistant qualities, waterproofed. This means that some models are more or less sensitive to water, and, especially, to wet snow. There are very few mountain boots with watertightness that can really resist up to 10 hours in wet snow, except maybe plastic shells, the extreme mountaineering boots with overboots.

The essential point remains in the complex sealing/breathability. Indeed, some plastic shells are of the most waterproofed, but quite bad for breathability. Due to this fact, one can experience frostbite from excess condensation. The foot sweats with effort and it needs a shoe that is both protective from the wet elements and breathable to eliminate moisture.

My use of mountaineering shoes for a few decades leads me to think that a membrane is a very positive element against wet feet. It is at the same time waterproof and breathable and that is what we are seeking. In practice, I see that my Asolo Titan GTX, after 10 years of mountaineering are well worn but the GTX membrane continues to do its work in a satisfactory manner. However, the “hydrophobic treated” leathers that I have used (Trapper TD+ and Nepal Trek) are getting my feet wet regularly in wet snow.

The membrane, however, does not do all the work.  It can be proved defective according to its quality and certain conditions. Because membranes are not all created equal, we will find details on their coating performance in Schmerber, the waterproof rating unit of fabric, and especially on their breathability.

These include the membranes Novadry, Gore-tex, and MP+. Gore-tex remains the inventor and the reference standard in the impermeability of the footwear.  They have just produced a new generation of a membrane (Gore-Tex pro) which might be featured in new models in the near future. MP+ is, for me, the best in terms of breathability but it can be found on clothing, not on shoes. There is also Novadry, Sympatex… in fact, each manufacturer may develop its own membrane, so we cannot mention them all.

Thermal protection of your mountain shoes

Thermal protection of your mountain shoes

Almost all of the traditional mountaineering and high alpine shoes, even the light ones, can withstand temperatures in the range of -10°C (14°F) during movement, provided we don’t tighten them too much.

Then we can find many models with enough thickness of leather or of lightweight materials and insulating layers of Thinsulate type, which can resist -20°C (-4°F). Below this temperature, special attention and research on specific shoes for the extreme winter conditions are needed. The soleplate plays an important role in thermal protection.

The first-degree frostbite often enough occurs on the toes and the foot arch, when the soleplate is insufficient. We can, therefore, increase its thermal protection by replacing the insole with a more insulating sole.

I am currently trying sufficiently thermal shoes, but where we can juggle with the sole for summer conditions, because shoes that are too hot are unpleasant in summer conditions, especially on rocks. I, therefore, use one insole for the summer and another for the winter.

Shoes and choice of crampons

Shoes and choice of crampons

Crampons are “crabs of steel” that are fixed on the footwear for progressing on snow or ice. Some are composed of a lighter alloy for Crampons typesmore easy terrains and when limited weight is to be carried (in ski touring in particular).

In my opinion, we should not avoid this question even if we don’t have the soul of a climber. The snow in the mountains is a big security matter and some small valleys crossing “easy” passes may be snow-capped throughout the summer. Therefore, you will certainly regret not being able to fit crampons on your boots,  on the day you are offered an attractive route with passages in snow.

So choose your model of footwear based on the type of crampons it will accept. The different types of fastening of crampons correspond to degrees of the rigidity of the shoe. The rigidity determines the use of fast clips because these require that the shoe constantly keeps the same dimension, even in flexion.

If the distance between the front and the back of the shoe decreases, step-in, and hybrid bindings will not hold.

Naturally, the strap-on crampons (polyamide and neoprene) will go on all types of footwear. But we will be able to use them efficiently only if the shoes have a minimum of handling, yet as I said previously some crampons fit now to reasonably flexible soleplates, for reasonable periods of time.

But beware, adapting crampons to flexible and light shoes can be a game that can sometimes be dangerous. In addition to the fact of the low level of binding of the crampon, we can twist our ankle more easily, and the straps may have a tendency to shear the foot and cut blood circulation.

The hybrid crampons also called mixed or semi-step, have a fast clip heel lever. They are easier to install, especially in difficult terrain, and also more stable and therefore indicated for mountaineering. They are usable with shoes that have a heel welt and sufficient rigidity.

The step-in crampons (automatic ones) are reserved for the most rigid mountaineering boots that have both a toe and a heel welt.

Feminine sensitivity

If choose hiking shoes is difficult in general, for women it is particularly complicated. It must be said that women’s feet are more sensitive and morphologically different from those of men. The irritation caused by rubbing the tibia, for example, affects nearly 50% of users.

Mauria GTX of Lowa

Manufacturers develop models especially for women, and this is not for nothing. In the majority of cases, these models are the answers to the constraints of the footwear for ladies. I will mention here some especially comfortable shoes, the Mauria GTX of Lowa. This shoe is an illustration of the efforts that are made by the manufacturers to equip women with a difficult fit.

source: https://outdoorswithnolimits.com/how-to-best-choose-your-mountain-hiking-boots-shoes/

THE HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF SHOES

It’s hard to imagine what life was like when shoes weren’t discovered yet. Everything started because of a real and practical need to protect the feet from outside effects. This seemingly simple human need turned into a quickly growing industry in which design was just as important as functionality. Although the main qualities of footwear have remained unchanged, looking back at the long and interesting history of shoes, you can see that the colors, materials and designs did change. Before, shoes used to be made by craftsmen. But today, they are part of a factory industry earning huge amounts of money each year.

The history, changes and tendencies in footwear fashion can be divided into the main world history eras:
Prehistory (2,5 million BC – 1250 BC)
Antiquity (1250 BC – 476)
The Middle Ages (476 – 1453)
Early Modern Times (1453 – 1918)
Modern Times (1918 – these days).

During different eras there were different views of the world, different understandings of culture and art, different economic and political factors which played an important role in the materials, shapes, pronts, and style used in people’s wardrobe. The discovery and capture of new lands, new technologies and different understandings of the world changed the style and fashion of footwear.

Primitive footwear, popular during Prehistory, was changed by sandals which grew in popularity during Antiquity because of the formation of social classes. During the Middle Ages, which are characterized by humility and feudalism, the first footwear structures were formed and the heel was discovered and widely used. During the Early Modern Times were the eras of Renaissance and Baroque during which hints of modern footwear can be spotted. During this time, men’s and women’s shoes were very similar. The models of shoes varied depending on social classes. Also, during the Middle Ages when feudalism was present, society was divided into classes deciding not only different jobs and responsibilities but also different clothes and footwear. Peasants and non-noble townspeople wore heavy and dark leather boots with a heel. Meanwhile, the noble wore more fancy footwear which often had a wooden heel.  Prints, ornaments and other decorative elements were worn only by the noble. They would order these shoes from a shoemaker. Every shoe was different and decorated according to the mood and wishes of the customer, so every single pair of shoes was unique and different. The Modern Times changed the understanding of fashion and drastically altered the decades-long shoemaking traditions. This happened because of new opportunities in technology which made the whole shoemaking process much more easy and simple.

WHEN DID THE FIRST SHOES APPEAR?

1991 is an important date in the history of footwear because this is the year when, at the border of Austria and Italy, archeologists found a naturally mummified human named Oetzi from the Stone Age who died about 3300 years before our era. This Alpine traveler was wearing shoes made from deerskin with a sole made from bearskin and stuffed with hay. This is how it’s thought that the Stone Age footwear production technique was like: the fewer stitches, the dryer and warmer the legs, therefore, they wrinkled the leather. The stitches were small and they were not very reliable given the tools people had at that time.

Oetzi from the Stone Age footwear

There isn’t a certain pair of shoes marking the beginning of the history of footwear. This is because there were very different shoes for different climates and different materials used for shoes were available in different regions. In Northern regions, the footwear was made from thick leather and warmed up with fur and hay. Meanwhile, in the Southern regions, there were mostly sandals made from palm leaves or papyrus fiber. Despite the climate, people needed footwear to protect their feet from natural outside effects.

Many changes and perfected footwear models emerged during the Migration Period (4th- 6th centuries) and during the Crusades (11th- 13th centuries) when Europeans marched to the East. During that time, Europe was flooded with Egyptian sandals and pointed shoes. Soon, the heel was discovered and the western fashion of footwear began to develop, which in the spiritual and rigorous world of the Middle Ages was worn depending on the person’s social class. The most unique and popular trends flourished in Italy and Spain, the countries where the strongest seaports of Europe were located, the craftsmen’s shops and merchants were developing at rapid speed, and the first financial centers were established. So these countries were a true cradle of footwear and attire fashion.

Modern footwear designers often look back at history for new ideas, inspiration and creativity. Footwear production methods, sewing structures, leather washing, burning and painting almost hasn’t changed since the end of the 19th century.

Now, let’s check out footwear fashion and trends throughout different historical periods.

THE HISTORY OF FOOTWEAR DURING THE OLD TIMES AND ANTIQUITY  (1250 BC – 476 BC)

The first sandals emerged in ancient Egypt. They were made from palm leaves, papyrus fiber and raw leather. These sandals were stretched and tied at the end of the foot. At first, only clerics and the Pharaoh were able to wear them but later sandals were worn by all ancient Egyptians and the different colors symbolized a certain social class.

It’s also worth mentioning China. China’s trends are difficult to understand by many Western countries. For many decades, a canon of beauty in China was golden lotus feet which mostly grew in popularity during the 10th- 11th centuries. Golden lotus feet refers to breaking and bending the toes so that the feet would fit properly into special shoes. Small feet were considered true beauty in the Eastern world.

Classic Antiquity dates back to the Greek and Roman periods of culture when the early stage of footwear production began to thrive. Fragments of the development and evolution have remained in paintings and drawings. The first and one of the most popular Greek and Roman shoe models were sandals. Unlike with the Egyptians, these sandals were long, went halfway up the knees and had many laces. In both countries, footwear wasn’t divided into men’s and women’s. Everybody wore them in the same way but there were some regulations. In Greek, sandals could only be worn by free citizens who could easily be distinguished from slaves. In ancient Rome, clothes and shoes were a symbol of power and civilization, so the shoes were worn according to the person’s position in society and their social class. Here’s an example: Roman soldiers wore sandals. The more laces the sandals had and the thinner the sole, the higher rank the soldier is.

Ancient Greek and Roman sandals

Sandals were dominating shoes in Europe for a while. They were made according to cleric, military, elite and peasant styles.

In Celtic lands there were comfortable, slip-on weaved shoes, often made from wood. They quickly became footwear for peasants and the poor.

THE MIDDLE AGES (476 – 1453)

Although the Middle Ages are considered the dark ages, it was during this time that a lot of new footwear trends and fashion appeared. The heel was discovered and was only worn by men at first. Also, pointed shoes, the first footwear structures and a primitive Goodyear structure appeared.

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, espadrilles came to Central Europe from the Pyrenees and became very popular. These shoes were made from jute canvas, were light and comfortable but were to be worn in a warmer climate which is why they didn’t reach Northern Europe.

Northern and Central Europe produced leather boots that were turned inside out and sewn up with the shoe sole. It was a nearly seamless structure as the seams remained inside the shoe, thus protecting and strengthening the shoe, but this design could only be used with soft and flexible leather. A benefit of these shoes is that they could be worn during different times of the year by adding some hay or fur inside the shoe during the cold period.

During the Gothic period, unusual footwear with long and pointed tips, called poulaines thrived. Sometimes, the tips of these shoes were as long as half a meter. The length of the tip represented status. Some of these shoes were so long that they needed to be tied to the legs with special laces so that it would be possible to walk properly. This type of footwear was made from different materials, such as velvet, and it was decorated with fancy elements.

Middle Ages footwear and Vic Matie model

EARLY MODERN TIMES (1453– 1918)

Men’s and women’s fashion was different during this period and until the end of the 18th century, it was mostly dictated by men. Men were the first to wear shoes with heels. Up until the end of the 18th century, men’s legs were considered to be the standard of beauty. Although women also wore fancy shoes, they were hidden under long skirts. So men were the ones to dictate fashion, footwear fashion in particular.

Earlier, fashion changed much slower and shoe trends and production started in countries in a good economic situation and with quickly developing art and aesthetics. For example, Spain and Italy played a great role in costume design in the 16th century. Shoes that were made in these countries later spread widely across Europe. They had the fanciest decorations and patterns and were made using the newest and most fashionable materials of that time.

During the Renaissance period, kings in Europe often wore shoes with very high heels in order to demonstrate their supremacy. Also, they could calmly walk straight through puddles as their heels were as high as 30 cm. These shoes were prototypes of modern platform shoes. King Louis XIV of France, also known as Sun King, played an important role in spreading the popularity of high heels. Even now, fashion historians refer to men’s high heels as French shoes.

During the Renaissance period, pointed shoes were swapped with footwear called duck-billed with wide, squared noses. Meanwhile, women began to wear platforms.

It was during the revival of culture and aesthetics that the noble knights thrived. They were the first to start wearing ankle boots because they were comfortable for horseback riding and fighting.

Women and men footwear during the Renaissance

Baroque is one of the most controversial cultural periods characterized by complexity, pretentiousness, drama and an inclination to greatness. So it’s not surprising that during this cultural period footwear was made from expensive materials, such as velvet, satin, silk and the shoes were decorated with artificial flowers, ribbons and gemstones. Men wore shoes with red heels in order to show their status.


Strategia model and Baroque times shoes

In the 17th century, men began to wear boots with fancy socks coming from them. Footwear became more important to women, so Baroque shoes that used to be modest now had various embroidery and decorative elements.

Baroque was replaced by Rococo (late Baroque). The main accent of Rococo is the buckle and the Louis heel for women’s footwear.

Only in the beginning of the 19th century did men’s and women’s shoes begin to differ in style, color, heel and shape of the front. During the Napoleonic era, fabric footwear became very popular elite shoes. Meanwhile, the classic height of the men’s footwear heel formed which was 2.5 cm. The era when men wore higher high heels than women came to an end.

However, the biggest breakthrough in footwear production was during the Industrial Revolution. Inventors and craftsmen in the United Kingdom and North America invented a modern footwear sewing machine and began mass fabric-made footwear production. Jan Ernst Matzeliger developed a shoemaking method which allowed about 700 pairs of shoes to be made each day. Footwear became accessible to everyone and finally, from the middle of the 19th century, shoes for the left and right foot became different!

In the 19th century, laced shoes began to grow in popularity after Americans began to harden the ends of shoelaces during the end of the 18th century. Laced shoes which were above the ankles became some of the most popular standard shoes for men.

The Adelaide model for women was woven, laced at the sides and had a low heel.

Until World War I nudity wasn’t acceptable, so only slippers (toilet shoes) were seductive, made from silk or satin and with added ribbons.

At this time, Oxford shoes became very popular and widely worn by women. This was when women stopped wearing fancy clothes and the image of mourning women doing all household work was very common.

MODERN TIMES (1918 – THESE DAYS)

There was a huge breakthrough in footwear in the second part of the 20th century with the establishment and prosperity of American pop culture which was associated with the desire to be different, unique and to be part of a certain subculture. Cheaper raw materials, new structures and a different lifestyle changed the image of gentlemen and ladies. Fancy and high-quality footwear was changed by trendy, constantly changing colorful footwear. Hollywood actors and singers greatly influenced the formation and popularity of this new footwear. The band Beatles popularized Chelsea shoes, actress Audrey Hepburn popularized kitten heels, and schoolgirls wore Mary Jane shoes in the 5th decade.

With the increasing number of working women, high-heel trends began changing. Platforms popular in the 7th and 8th decades lost their popularity and were changed by low heeled shoes in the 9th decade.

Audrey Hepburn and Vic Matie model

Sports shoes had the greatest impact on further footwear fashion. The first step towards the revolution was the invention of sports shoes for basketball players by “Converse” in 1917. These were the very first steps toward trendy sports shoes.

At the end of the 19th century, in 1892, the “U.S. Rubber Company” created a modern, comfortable, beautiful fabric-made sports shoe model with a rubber sole. This is how “Keds” were born. After about 25 years, once these shoes were perfected and patented, mass production began. From the middle of 1940, a visible revolution in sports shoes and clothes began and the era of ladies and gentlemen ended. Comfort, style, improvisation and creativity.

The name “Sneaker’’ came from the English word “sneak”. Paradoxically, from the very first steps, sports shoes did not go quietly, but proudly and loudly declared to the whole world: “We are here!”. The undefined “here” has not only won over sports arenas but also fashion podiums and all shelves at shoe stores. The popularity remains the same today!

Y-3Elena Iachi and Artselab models

The history of footwear is interesting and intriguing. It reveals the strict division of society into classes, the changing of fashion in different eras. Unlike these days, fashion changed every 10 or even 100 years, not every season. There were times when women couldn’t wear heeled shoes, slaves didn’t have any footwear in order to distinguish them from other people, and the noble competed with each other in terms of how fancy and sophisticated their shoes were. When we take a look at the remaining shoes, our mouths become wide open. How could men possibly have worn shoes with heels as high as 30 centimeters?

Today, in the free market and society with no laws restricting human rights, we can wear whatever our hearts desire. We can follow fashion trends and find different footwear for each situation and occasion according to our moods or dress code. The amazing 21st century and technological opportunities allow us to have the highest quality, durable and fashionable shoes. And not just one pair but a whole closet full of fashionable shoes!

 

Resource: https://www.dolitashoes.com