Footwear refers to garment
s worn on the feet, which originally serves to purpose of protection
against adversities of the environment, usually regarding ground textures and temperature. Footwear in the manner of shoe
s therefore primarily serves the purpose to ease the locomotion and prevent injuries. Secondly footwear can also be used for fashion
as well as to indicate the status or rank of the person within a social structure
s and other hosiery
are typically worn additionally between the feet and other footwear for further comfort and relief.
Cultures have different customs regarding footwear. These include not using any in some situations, usually bearing a symbolic meaning. This can however also be imposed on specific individuals to place them at a practical disadvantage against shod people, if they are excluded from having footwear available or are prohibited from using any. This usually takes place in situations of captivity, such as imprisonment
, where the groups are among other things distinctly divided by whether or whether not footwear is being worn. In these cases the use of footwear categorically indicates the exercise of power as against being devoid of footwear, evidently indicating inferiority.
In some cultures, people remove their shoes before entering a home. Bare feet are also seen as a sign of humility and respect, and adherents of many religions worship or mourn while barefoot. Some religious communities explicitly require people to remove shoes before they enter holy buildings, such as temples.
In several cultures people remove their shoes as a sign of respect towards someone of higher standing. In a similar context deliberately forcing other people to go barefoot while being shod oneself has been used to clearly showcase and convey one's superiority within a setting of power disparity.
Practitioners of the craft of shoemaking
are called shoemakers, cobblers, or cordwainer
Footwear has been in use since the earliest human history, archeological finds of complete shoes date back to the Chalcolithic
(ca. 5.000 BCE). Some ancient civilizations, such as Egypt
however saw no practical need for footwear due to convenient climatic and landscape situations and used shoes primarily as ornaments and insignia of power.
saw clothing and footwear as unmistakable 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 from that period often depicts bare feet as a symbol of poverty. Depictions of captives such as prisoners or slaves from the same period well into the 18th century show the individuals barefooted almost exclusively, at this contrasting the prevailing partakers of the scene. Officials like prosecutors, judges but also slave owners or passive bystanders were usually portrayed wearing shoes.
During the Middle Ages, men and women wore pattens
, commonly seen as the predecessor of the modern high-heeled shoe
, while the poor and lower classes in Europe
, as well as slaves in the New World, were usually barefoot.
In the 15th century, chopine
s 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 such as Catherine de Medici
and Mary I of England
began wearing high-heeled shoes to make them look taller or larger than life. By 1580, men also wore them, and a person with authority or wealth might be described as, ''well-heeled''. In modern society, high-heeled shoes are a part of women's fashion and are widespread in certain countries around the world.
Modern footwear is usually made up of leather
, and rubber
. In fact, leather was one of the original materials used for the first versions of a shoe. The soles can be made of rubber or plastic, sometimes having a sheet of metal inside. Roman sandals had sheets of metal on their soles so that it would not bend out of shape.
More recently, footwear providers like Nike, have begun to source environmentally friendly materials.
* Counter (footwear)
: Backstay fitting between upper and lining in heel area and giving structure to back of shoe and supporting ankle.
* Tongue (footwear)
: Part of shoe covering top of foot underneath laces
** Chukka boot
** Combat boot
** Cowboy boot
** Derby boot
** Fashion boot
** Go-go boot
** Hiking boot
** Motorcycle boots
** Platform boot
** Riding boot
** Russian boot
** Tabi boot
** Tanker boot
** Thigh-high boots
** Wellington boot
[[File:Football Boot A 2018.jpg|thumb|A football boot based upon a common design used in 2018. Note the absence of a leather tongue, the relatively low rear upper around the heel, and the presence of a sock style fastener. This design helps to ensure maximum flexibility and range of movement. By limiting the potential impingement of the ankle joint by the boot upper, it allows the wearer's gait to be more natural.]]
** [[Athletic shoe]]s (also known as trainers or sneakers)
** [[Ballet flat]]s
** [[Brothel creepers]]
** [[Court shoe]]s (known in the US as pumps)
** Diabetic shoes
** Kitten heel
** Lace-up shoes
*** Derby shoe
*** Oxford shoe
*** Blucher shoe
** Mary Janes
** Platform shoe
** Plimsoll shoe
** School shoes
** Skate shoe
** Tap shoes
** Kolhapuri Chappals
** Peshawari chappal
, from Balearic Islands
* Ballet shoe
* Boat shoe
* High-heeled footwear
* Climbing shoe
* Football boot
* Safety footwear
* Sailing boots
* Ski boot
* Ice skates
* Pointe shoe
* Barefoot sandals
, of leather, from Pyrenees
* Areni-1 shoe
, 5,500-year-old leather shoe found in Armenia
* Bast shoe
, of bast, from Northern Europe
, shoes from Poland
with long toes popular in the 15th century
, of textile, from Iran
, of wood, from Japan
, of wood, from the Netherlands
, of leather, from Balkans
, of hide, from Ireland
** Bobby socks
** Diabetic socks
** Dress socks
** Knee highs
In Europe, the footwear industry has declined in the last years. Whereas in 2005, there were about 27,000 firms, in 2008 there were only 24,000. As well as the number of firms, the direct employment has decreased. The only factors that remained almost steady was the value added at factor cost and production value.
In the U.S., the annual footwear industry revenue was $48 billion in 2012. There are about 29,000 shoe stores in the U.S. and the shoe industry employs about 189,000 people. Due to rising imports, these numbers are also declining. The only way of staying afloat in the shoe market is to establish a presence in niche markets.
Safety of footwear products
To ensure high quality and safety of footwear, manufacturers have to make sure all products comply to existing and relevant standards. By producing footwear in accordance with national and international regulations, potential risks can be minimized and the interest of both textile manufacturers and consumers can be protected.
The following standards/regulations apply to footwear products:
* GB Standard
s such as
** GB20400－2006 Leather and fur-limit of harmful matter
** QB/T1002-2005 Leather shoes
** GB/T 15107 Athletic footwear
* EN Standards
* ASTM Standards
* ISO standard
Restricted Substance List
* BIS (ISI)
: IS 15298-I: 2011 test methods, IS 15298 –II for safety footwear, IS 15298-III Protective footwear, IS 15298-IV Occupational Footwear
* American Apparel and Footwear Association
* American Podiatric Medical Association
* List of shoe styles
* List of current and defunct clothing & footwear stores in the United Kingdom
* Orthopaedic footwear
* Shoe size
* Walking boot
* Shoe fetishism
* Boot fetishism
* List of footwear designers
* 726 pages.
* 190 pages.
* 302 pages.
Britannica: clothing and footwear industry