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FOOTWEAR

Footwear consists of garments worn on the feet, for fashion, protection against the environment, and adornment. Being barefoot is commonly associated with poverty, but some cultures chose not to wear footwear at least in some situations.

Socks and other hosiery are usually worn between the feet and other footwear, less often with sandals and flip flops (thongs). Footwear is sometimes associated with fetishism, particularly in some fashions in shoes, including boots.

Durable shoes are a relatively recent invention, though many ancient civilizations wore ornamental footwear. Many ancient civilizations saw no need for footwear. The Romans saw clothing and footwear as signs of power and status in society, and most Romans wore footwear, while slaves and peasants remained barefoot. The Middle Ages saw the rise of high-heeled shoes, also associated with power, and the desire to look larger than life, and artwork often depicted someone barefoot as a symbol of poverty. Bare feet are also seen as a sign of humility and respect, and adherents of many religions worship or mourn barefoot, or remove their shoes as a sign of respect towards someone of higher standing.

In some cultures, it is customary for people to remove their shoes before entering a home, and some religious communities require shoes to be removed before entering a building which they regard as holy, such as a temple.

People who practice the profession of shoemaking are shoemakers, cobblers or cordwainers.

The oldest confirmed footwear was discovered in Fort Rock Cave in the U.S. state of Oregon; radiocarbon dating of these sandals woven from sagebrush bark indicates an age of least 10,000 years. However footprints of what looks like ancient sandals have been carbon dated to around the time 500,000 BC.[1]

Many people in ancient times, such as the Egyptians, Hindu and Greeks, saw little need for footwear, and most of the time were barefoot. The Egyptians and Hindus at times wore ornamental footwear, such as a soleless sandal known as a "Cleopatra", which did not provide any practical protection for the feet. 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.[2] Athletes in the Ancient Olympic Games participated barefoot – and naked.[3] Even the Gods and heroes were primarily depicted barefoot, and the hoplite warriors fought battles in bare feet and Alexander the Great conquered half of the ancient world with barefoot armies.

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.[2] There are many references to shoes being worn in the Bible. During weddings of this period, a father would give his son-in-law a pair of shoes, to symbolize the transfer of authority.

During the Middle Ages, both men and women wore pattens, commonly seen as the predecessor of the modern high-heeled shoe,[5] while the poor and lower classes in Europe, as well as slaves in the New World, were barefoot.[2] In 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, men also wore them, and a person with authority or wealth was often referred to as, "well-heeled".[5] In modern society, high-heeled shoes are a part of women's fashion, perhaps more as a sexual prop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
             
 
             
 
             
 
 
 
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