Why shoes?

To begin with (I had to correct my typo which had ‘toe begin with’ – very on topic!) we didn’t wear shoes, and there is something lovely about being in touch with the ground when it’s a nice temperature and the surface is pleasing to touch, but anyone who has experienced bindi-eyes or bindis (Soliva sessilis), or extreme temperatures can appreciate the necessity of a protective layer between you and the nasties.

Especially as some of the nasties are very nasty, parasites that embed themselves in your feet can ruin a good walk, and life itself.  I was going to find a link to embellish this point but it’s all very unattractive and I can’t bring myself to inflict this on you.  OK, I don’t want to inflict it on me.  It doesn’t matter as the point is that a foot covering can protect you from this.

So we began to wear shoes a very long time ago.

These are images of shoes made from Sagebrush bark that were found near Fort Rock, Oregon, USA, and believed to be from 10,500 to 9,300 years old, click here for more information.  It’s amazing to have these as usually they would have composted after use and so we don’t know how long this type of shoe had been in use for prior to this time.

The next step, using leather is at least as old as 5,500 years ago, with this wonderful discovery made within the last decade.


A single piece of leather that is stitched at the front and the rear.  This shoe is in amazing condition and it’s easy to see the construction – such a treat, click here for the full story.

I love that each of these examples are clearly recognisable as shoes.  There was no problem identifying their function.  There is an upper section and a sole and we usually think of that as what makes up a shoe, but what about shoes without soles?  Is that an oxymoron? Look at these bare bottom shoes (and click on the images for more information):

bb-crossed-feet bf_oceanus

So – are these shoes? To my mind the ones on the right are jewelry while the ones on the left could possibly be classified as shoes.  But then what about these????



Emphatically no.

Art – yes, shoes – no.

Maybe the description of shoe needs to embrace the functionality of walking.  These Charles Lamboutin shoes ain’t going no where.  Wear them yourself, sir. (Click on the image for more information.)


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