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It’s hard to imagine a
life without shoes.
For many of us,
yes I mean women, life
would not be worth living without that
final decision of which pair to wear
before stepping out into the world. After
all, a perfect pair of shoes can change
your life, Cinderella. But women haven’t
always had the comfort and luxury of that
closet full of footwear to make our
ensemble complete. It seems that until
four thousand years ago, everyone went
barefoot.
The first shoes
were made of a single
piece of rawhide and enveloped the
entire foot. Many women may
currently have that same shoe in their
closet. They were worn for both warmth
and protection.
Today,
women rarely consider warmth
and protection when making a shoe
purchase. Sandals originated in warm
climates where the soles of the feet
needed protection, but the top of the
foot needed to be cool. Did they have
sandals in eighteen different colors back
then? I think not.
In Europe
pointed toes on shoes were
fashionable from the 11th to the 15th
century. Ah, the pointed toe, which brings
us to another fact, that many people
already know; sixty-two percent of shoe
wearers say their feet hurt. The other
forty-four percent must be men.
In the Middle East
heels were added to
shoes to lift the foot from the burning
sand, which is how the love/hate
relationship with high heels began. We
thought this next trend started with the
new millenium, but in Europe in the 16th
and 17th centuries heels on shoes were
always red.
Throughout the world,
each pair of shoes
were made identical for both feet, until
left and right footed shoes where first
made in Philadelphia. In Europe, it wasn’t
until the 18th century that women’s shoes
were different from men’s.
Six-inch-high heels
were worn by the
upper classes in seventeenth-century
Europe. Two servants, one on either side,
were needed to hold up the person
wearing the high heels.
Boots were first worn
in cold,
mountainous regions and hot, sandy
deserts where horse-riding communities
lived. Now we wear our boots with
short-shorts and tank tops. Heels on
boots kept feet secure in the stirrups.
In the Middle Ages
a father passed his
authority over his daughter to her
husband in a shoe ceremony. At the
wedding, the groom handed the bride a
shoe, which she put on to show she was
then his subject.
Today, in the U.S.,
shoes are tied to the
bumper of the bridal couple’s car. This
is a reminder of the days when a father
gave the groom one of his daughter’s
shoes as a symbol of a changing
caretaker.
In China,
one of the bride’s red shoes is
tossed from the roof to ensure happiness
for the bridal couple.
In Hungary
the groom drinks a toast to
his bride out of her wedding slipper. It is a
possibility that this is allowed only
because the bride knows she will never
wear that pair of shoes again.
Fifteen percent of the female population
has over thirty pairs currently in their
closets, a statistic that could be contested
as too low, and a fact well hidden from
the significant other. Also, thirty-three
percent of women have trouble finding
the room to store all of their shoes.
On average,
women purchase four pairs
of shoes per year, at an average cost of
$277 per year. This could be another point
to be contested. This leads us to another
absolute fact. Ninety-seven percent of
women say that their shoe shopping has
never created any financial problems.
However, one survey indicates that 13%
have hidden at least one shoe purchase
from their significant other.
Close to half of the female population
(43%) has been injured, by their shoes.
Eight percent of women have
experienced severe injuries such as
sprains or breaks, and it is believed that
100% of these women state that it was all
worth it. Unlike clothing, which is the
most frequent online purchase by women,
online shoe shopping has not yet caught
on. Only fourteen percent of women
make any of their shoe purchases online.
The average American adult woman
shoe
size is 8. In 1986, 12% of American women
had shoe sizes 9.5 and higher, but in 1998,
30.4% of all women’s shoes sold were size
9 and above.
Current statistics may be depressing.
Either womens’ feet are getting larger,
or their feet hurt so bad that they finally
have to buy the correct size.
The average increase
in the protrusion of a
woman’s buttocks is
25% when she wears
high heels.
“The perfect shoe
can change your life.”
-Cinderella
S
hoes