History of Shoes

High heeled wedge shoesThese high heeled shoes with a wedge cork sole would not have been possible to make during the Middle Ages.
High heels, sandals, pumps, sneakers, and other types of shoes are collectively known as "footwear." Footwear has been worn in various cultures for tens of thousands of years, but shoes weren't worn by a majority of the world's population until fairly recently.

Originally, the sole purpose of shoes was to protect the feet — from rocky ground, thorns, ice and snow, and other dangers. Shoes were worn more commonly in cold climates, and even today people living in the tropical latitudes go barefoot more often.

The earliest shoes were very simple leather bags that wrapped around the feet, gradually evolving to include flaps, drawstrings, and other fasteners to create a better fit. Over time, shoemakers developed the technique of creating separate uppers and sewing them to sturdy soles. This allowed greater variety in the design of the shoe, and eventually, shoes developed into status symbols, and the wealthy and powerful commissioned craftsmen to create fancy custom-fitted shoes with extensive decorations and extreme styles.

New Styles in Recent Years

During the past century, the development of materials such as rubber, plastic, and synthetic fabrics has encouraged explosive growth in the variety of shoe styles. Leather is still the standard for formal dress shoes, but casual sandals, athletic shoes, slippers, and other styles often contain little or no leather.

Shoe Photo Gallery

  • See our Shoe Photos for a sample of the variety of styles and colors available in women's shoes today.

 Search eBay 
Search For In Category Min.
# Items
Per Page