The History of Shoes

 

Sandals were the most common footwear in most early civilizations, however, a few early cultures had shoes. In Mesopotamia, (c. 1600-1200 BC) a type of soft shoes were worn by the mountain people who lived on the border of Iran. The soft shoe was made of wraparound leather, similar to a moccasin. As late as 1850 most shoes were made on absolutely straight lasts, there being no difference between the right and the left shoe.

Shoe Making Machinery

Jan Ernst Matzeliger developed an automatic method for lasting shoes and made the mass production of affordable shoes possible.

Lyman Reed Blake was an American inventor who invented a sewing machine for sewing the soles of shoes to the uppers. In 1858, he received a patent for his specialized sewing machine.

Patented on January 24, 1871, was Charles Goodyear Jr’s Goodyear Welt, a machine for sewing boots and shoes.

Shoelaces

An aglet is the tiny plastic or fiber tube that binds the finish of a shoelace (or similar cord) to prevent fraying & to allow the lace to be passed through an eyelet or other opening. This comes from the Latin word for “needle.” The modern shoestring (string & shoe holes) was first invented in England in 1790 (first recorded date March 27). Before shoestrings, shoes were often fastened with buckles.

Rubber Heel

The first rubber heel for shoes was patented on January 24, 1899 by Irish-American Humphrey O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan patented the rubber heel which outlasted the leather heel then in use. Elijah McCoy invented an improvement to the rubber heel