• Amanda Mooij

Footware, does anyone care?


Ever wonder about footwear?

I have. When did humans start needing footware? What is the history of this thing we put on daily, and why do we often have different pairs? Think about how many shoes you have? What is the logic behind your decisions when purchasing new shoes?

Personally, I have multiple pairs of shoes that fit the events in my average week. One pair is functional and comfortable. This is often the one that I wear the most of the week; it will be a cork soled Birkenstock for when the temperatures are above 10 degrees Celsius, and then a boot for winter weather, and there might be some running shoes, for my wogging adventures (a hybrid of a want to run, and the reality a slightly above a jog/walk). I also have high density foam clogs that I wear to work as they fit my orthotic inserts, and then slip on shoes for those “wow I have to run out to the car” moments.

Living in Ontario, Canada, a land of four seasons, the weather is often reflected in the footware on my feet. Summer = cute pair of sandals; Spring = water proof boots; Fall = some cute boots! Then in the Winter where you need something that promises to keep you warm until the temperature drops to -42. This wide range of footwear is a very minimum, not including the different shoes one needs to exercise, or dress up for various occasions!

So where did this all need to have so many shoes begin?

According to a quick internet search the oldest surviving shoes were created about 10,000 years ago and were similar to moccasins, though some anthropologists suggest that humans began wearing shoes 30,000 years before this. Shoes with leather straps started to appear in Mesopotamia from 1600 to 1200 BC, and at this time there was no difference between the left and right shoe. That distinction did not happen until later.




Don’t get me wrong, I love a simple, functional and non-distinctive shoe, and moccasins are, well, very cool. I would love to get my hands on a pair of authentic moccasins… adding to my shoe addiction ahem, I mean collection. Real moccasins have been on my “to own” list for many years.

Many different materials have been used to make footwear, but for most of history (and pre-history for that matter) leather was the material of choice. In the late 1800s shoe companies began adding rubber soles to the bottom of the leather shoe. Did you know that one of the first companies to make rubber shoe soles was the Goodyear company using the same technology used to make tires? In 1920 Adolf Dassler created the modern running shoe, causing everyone to want a pair.

I think we would all agree we use different shoes for different activities; if we don’t, we will end up in pain. The most supportive shoes for athletic activities happen to be a running shoe. Currently in history there are so many options. Did you know that a running shoe can support various issues that can plague us? For the flat footed (or a collapsed arch) you need an anti-pronation (meaning that you walk on the inner arch) shoe, it provides a stronger brace and cushioning in the arch area and heel to make sure your feet hit the ground properly when running. It will also help prevent plantar fasciitis. The opposite of anti-pronation is supination, meaning that you walk on the outer arches of your feet. As well, usually you also suffer from high arches. Years ago I went to a store called The Running Room to buy athletic shoes. They watched me walk, looked at my gait and assisted me to find the right running shoe, I am sure other stores also provide this service. Something to look for next time you go shoe shopping.

Before you buy a new pair of shoes, look into the issues you may have with your feet. Be assessed by a footcare specialist (you now know one 😊), get your feet measured and find out where you might need support. This means that pair of shoes will be the best investment for your health. It supports your foundation and it keeps you standing.

Who better to help you out but your friendly neighbourhood footcare nurse, who just so happens to help you choose your footware and measure your feet.

It takes a passion for soles to do this work, and I, my friends, have a passion for footcare, footware and everything that keeps you walking through your journey.



For further study

https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-shoes-1992405

http://www.ilhawaii.net/~stony/lore71.html the story of the first moccasins

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moccasin

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