O bviously, for us, shoes are life! We love designing shoes, making them and, of course, wearing them! And if you’re here, you probably feel the same way, too. To celebrate our love for shoes, we thought it would be fun to compile a few interesting facts about our favorite thing in the world. Check out this list of fun trivia about shoes.
1. Way Back in the Day, Barleycorns Were Used to Measure Shoe Sizes
Before we had all the established systems of measurement we know today, folks used items, body parts or types of action as basis for measuring. For example, the tradesmen of old may have used the length of a hand or the length of an outstretched arm to measure fabric or leather. In England, they used barleycorns as the basis for standardizing shoe measurement. In 1324, King Edward made a royal decree ruling that three barleycorns were equivalent to an inch. This “barleycorn” system is still in use today in the UK and Ireland.
2. Heels Were First Worn By Men
High heels were first made for riding - horseback riding, that is. Apparently, they were worn by the riders of the cavalry of ancient Persia. The heels in their riding boots allowed them to stay secure and stable in their stirrups during battles. Later on, as Persian influence spread throughout Europe, this style of footwear became popular among the European upper class and became a symbol of social status. Years later the trend eventually spread to everyone, both men and women, and many more years later it became known as a feminine style of footwear.
3. Greek Actors Used To Wear Platforms On Stage
Greek stage actors playing tragic roles wore platform-heeled shoes or thick-soled boots to signify their superior status on stage. The shoes were meant to elevate their stature to distinguish them from the other stage players who wore low shoes or socks.
4. The First Elastic-sided Boots Were Made For Queen Victoria
The innovative boot was invented by London shoemaker Joseph Sparkes Hall and presented to Queen Victoria in 1837. Sparkes Hall created the design to do away with the difficulties of fastening boots with buttons and laces. He presented his first prototype of the boot to Queen Victoria on the year she ascended to the crown. He patented his design, the first one ever to feature elastic, in 1840.
5. The Largest High-heeled Shoe Measures 6 Ft and 5 in Long and 6 Ft and 1 in Tall
It was created by fashion designer Kenneth Cole and Today Show contributor Jill Martin in New York, USA. The shoe is a replica of Kenneth Cole’s New York Otto bootie and was recognized by the Guinness World Record for being the largest high-heeled shoe in 2014.
6. The Term “sneakers” Was Born Because the Rubber Sole in the Shoes Allowed You to Walk Around Without Being Heard
In the late 1800s, rubber-soled shoes became known as “sneaks” because the sole made the shoes quiet and noiseless. Later, “sneaks” gave way to the term “sneakers”.
7. Jimmy Choo Created His First Shoe at Age 11
The son of a shoe cobbler, Jimmy Choo grew up in the world of shoemaking. His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and by age 11 he was able to make his first shoe. Years later, he would continue his study of the craft at the Cordwainers Technical College in England then open his first shop in 1986, and the rest is history. Impressive, right? Are you inspired to construct your own shoe but don’t have the knowledge and tools? Give our shoe designer a shot!
8. Wedges Were Invented by Ferragamo When He Couldn’t Use Steel for Heels
Salvatore Ferragamo came up with the wedge shoe in the 1940s when he was unable to purchase steel for the heels due to the economic sanctions against Italy. He was experimenting with Sardinian cork - gluing, trimming and fixing pieces of it to the sole - and inadvertently created the wedge design.
9. The Iconic Red Soles of Louboutin Shoes Were Inspired by an Andy Warhol Drawing
In 1993, French designer Christian Louboutin wanted to make a shoe inspired by Warhol’s “Flowers” piece. When he saw the prototype of the shoe, he liked it but felt that it still lacked something. He saw an assistant painting her nails red and he grabbed the nail polish and started painting the sole of the shoe red. Thus, the iconic red-soled Louboutins were born.
10. The Original Dr. Marten Boots Were Meant to Be Reliable Work Boots
In 1945, Dr. Klaus Martens, then a 25-year old soldier, created a prototype shoe with air-cushioned soles instead of the traditional hard leather ones to help his recovery from a broken foot. He partnered with his old friend, Dr. Herbert Funk, a mechanical engineer, to produce the unique shoes. In the 1960s, Griggs, a British company, acquired an exclusive license to produce the shoes in England. When the 70s rolled in, the boots became popular with the punk subculture. These days, the iconic boots are known for being the mark of self-expression.
11. The Most Expensive Shoes Sold at an Auction Were the Ruby Red Slippers From the Wizard of Oz
One of the original pairs of ruby red slippers worn by actress Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz, sold for over $660,000 at an auction in 2000. There are only four known surviving pairs of the glittery shoes, which are made from red silk faille overlaid with a sequined georgette.
12. Celine Dion Has Admitted to Owning Thousands of Pairs of Shoes
Yes, the world famous Canadian singer is a huge fan of shoes. In 2017, she confessed to WWD that she had 10,000 pairs of shoes. A few years before that, she mentioned having 3,000 pairs in a 2013 interview with Ellen Degeneres.
13. There’s a Scientific Explanation Why Women Collect Shoes
According to Suzanne Ferriss, PhD, editor of the book Footnotes: On Shoes, buying shoes triggers the “collecting spot,” an area of the brain’s prefrontal cortex. She explained that “shoes are a collector’s item, whether women realize they perceive them that way or not.”
14. In Dreams, Shoes Represent Your Approach to Life
According to dream dictionaries, if you’re wearing shoes in your dream, it means you are well-grounded or down to earth. Not wearing shoes may mean being carefree or it may symbolize poverty or having little or no resources. Dreaming about changing shoes can mean a major change in your life - a new job maybe or a new relationship. Dreaming about finding shoes may mean getting back on the right track or finding a new hold in life.
Talk about fascinating facts! That last tidbit really intrigued us, too, because we dream about shoes all the time! Speaking of dream shoes, did you know we can help you make yours come true? Mosey on over to our incredibly user-friendly shoe designer and start creating the shoes you’ve always wanted!