For the Love of Shoes
She put on her favorite shoes, grabbed her handbag and walked out the door to conquer the world.
Most women love shoes – collecting them in every color, style and form available and keeping the goods ones for years. Many have loved shoes since they were little, putting on their mother’s shoes and teetering around the house trying to balance. Shoes make a statement about a woman’s style, and they can make an outfit. No matter what else changes about the clothes she wears - shoes are always there.
Shoes have secret powers too. They can make you feel great, give you longer legs and a "shoe shopping high." Shoes build confidence - who doesn’t remember the time you walked into a meeting in your power shoes ready for anything. Or those new athletic shoes that make you feel like you’re floating on air. Women take more risks with shoes – willing step out of their comfort zones and make a statement with shoes because they look good on everyone. Shoes are functional and art all in one. It’s no wonder we’ve loved them for so long.
A Little Shoe History
Shoes have been around since the beginning of time. But shoes have always been rooted in culture, status and expression. According to Maxine Builder in “The Evolution Of Women's Shoes Includes Ancient Flip Flops & Armadillo Heels,” for Bustle.com:
“Ancient Egyptians, for example, wore sandals made of coiled grass and leaves, according to the British Museum, and these wicker-like sandals kind of look like modern-day flip-flops that just happen to be made out of twine.”
One of the big differences between way back then and now is that shoes were optional then – not everyone had the resources or want to wear them every day. Things like athletic games or outdoor work where often done barefoot. Many shoe styles we’ve come to consider fashionable and "dressy" today have very practical roots. Take heels for example, in the Renaissance age; they functioned as “lifts” to help women through deep puddles or as stabilizers for men in their horse stirrups. But many of these same styles went on to become culture and status symbols too. Kings and queens used heals to reflect their prominence and show off their style, often limiting what they would allow others around them to wear. Shoe styles were also used to reject power or old-fashioned cultural ideas as in the French Revolution when booties become all the rage as heels were seen to represent old aristocracy. Or during the 1920’s when women were fighting for their right to vote, they wore heels as a symbol that they could both vote and be feminine. Even the sound that shoes make have been used to denote power (the louder, the better). Shoe styles ebbed and flowed over the centuries with one of the most significant changes happening during the industrial revolution when new manufacturing processes and materials reinvented the shoe. As Builder says:
“Gone were the hand-stitched chopines or elaborately embroidered heels, and in came the factories that could suddenly pump out shoes with the help of sewing machines. It was also in the mid-1800s that Charles Goodyear, whose name you might recognize from the tires on your car, invented vulcanized rubber, which could then be used as soles. Thus, the first sign of a modern-day sneaker was born, as Newsweek explains.”
It is clear shoes have been used over time to reflect fashion, culture and status and this continues today. Each shoe style, even if reinvented a bit has a history. Even that great pair of Vans or your favorite flip flops you wear as your go-to casual shoe evolved from a past ancestor.
Current Shoe Trends
Today just about anything goes when it comes to shoe styles, and yes, women still love shoes. Flats, heels, athletic shoes or boots - shoes still tell your story. This Spring is no different, from PVC detailing to western boots and the kitten heel, check out InStyle’s “The Spring 2018 Shoe Trends That Fashion's 'It' Girls Are Wearing”: and heed spring shoe style advice from ALEXIS BENNETT and ELANA ZAJDMAN:
“Now, you need the right sandals to help you show off that pedicure. But don't push all of those boots into the back of your closet just yet. You'll need a combination of open-toe shoes and cowboy boots in your spring wardrobe to master this season's biggest trends. Trust us, the western-inspired boots will make that maxi dress look 10 times cooler.”
Then head out and get that “shoe shopping high.”