Be it for reasons of necessity or vanity, we can pretty much assume that shoes have been around for as long as there have been sharp, rocky terrain, extreme temperatures, and human ingenuity. Still, here are some of the documented events that make up our rich, colorful (oh, and shapely) history of shoes.
Native Americans in Missouri leave evidence of the earliest remaining shoes.
The 'Ice Man' dies in the French Alps and leaves behind a pair of primitive shoes stuffed with grass.
Egyptians paint murals of shoes and shoe makers on temple walls.
Greek slaves are distinguished from free citizens by their deliberately bare feet.
Roman emperor Aurelius proclaims that only he and his successors might wear red sandals.
Knights adopt long-toed shoes, called crackows, with toes up to 24 inches long. Sumptuary laws dictated the allowed length of the toes.
The high heel is invented, possibly by the great inventor himself, Leonardo da Vinci.
Chopines, platform shoes rising up to 30 inches, become all the rage in southern Europe.
Shoelaces emerge as the latest shoe fad.
Louis XIV, a short man, starts a whole new movement in platform shoes. Some are 5 inches high and decorated with miniature battle scenes.
A mistranslation from the original French fairy tale turns Cinderella's fur (vair) slipper into a glass one (verre).
The shoe production line is devised; workers can now concentrate on specfic tasks, rather than making an entire shoe.
The first shoe factories appear, though it will take another 100 years before factories replace custom shoe-making. The first retail shoe store is opened in Boston.
Flat shoes and Grecian sandals become popular.
The first sneakers, called plimsolls, are invented. Elias Howe invents the sewing machine.
A buttonhook becomes an essential part of every woman's wardrobe, as high-buttoned shoes become the fashion norm.