Footwear has been around for over ten thousand years. However, only recently has technology improved to create durable and fashionable shoes. This is due in large part to the rising demand for stylish footwear by working women.
In ancient times, the majority of people wore nothing but sandals. Today, shoes are made from leather, rubber, and other materials. The market for footwear is estimated to be $530.3 billion by 2027.
Shoes are used for a variety of reasons, including protection from the environment, hygiene, and fashion. Shoes are also used as status symbols and for adornment. Many cultures have different traditions regarding footwear.
For instance, some religious communities require people to remove their shoes before entering holy buildings. However, bare feet have been associated with fetishism and poverty. Some cultures wear sandals or socks between their shoes and their feet.
For some, bare feet symbolize humility. Others, such as Greek women, may prefer to wear soft closed shoes indoors. Still others, such as the Romans, consider wearing shoes a symbol of status.
Shoes are typically made from leather, but today, manufacturers are replacing leather with man-made fibres. One material, neoprene, is a cellular rubber that is normally covered by a knitted textile fabric.
Leather is still the dominant material in shoes, though. Manufacturers use a chemical surface finish to mimic the grain of real leather. They can also use synthetic patent or synthetic suede.
In the 17th century, shoes began to take on a more formal look, featuring moderate heels. Often, they were decorated with real or imitation gemstones.