Footwear may have begun as an essential tool for traversing our environment, but more recently, they have become one of our most artistic and stylish mediums. It was in the beginning of the 20th century that shoes truly took off as highly comfortable and attractive items of clothing.
With the turn of the 1900s came new developments in technology that took our entire collective civilization to new heights. The manufacturing of shoes could now become far easier and more convenient.
People could now afford durable and comfortable shoes at lower prices with the advent of the factory. The 1920s are known for their opulence and desirable living standards, and shoes became a big focus of the amazing fashion standards. Shoes like the T-Strap and Mary Jane were all the rage.
Then the great depression struck, and most people had to trade in their fancy designer heels for drab, utilitarian designs, and black and brown, blocky footwear became the staple of a desperate workforce.
Once the world got back on its feet, the Oxfords became hugely popular among men in the late 1930s and 1940s. These were shoes that were both stylish, comfortable, and very durable, and were as striking as the newfound economic prowess of the new working man. Women began wearing pumps, and platform shoes, and the cork sole became a standard.
Men were happy with their Oxfords and the like for quite some time following the Second World War, and innovations in male shoes seemingly ground to a halt. Women’s shoes, on the other hand, really began taking off during this period.
The late 1940s and 1950s saw an incredible level of change in women’s shoes. Shoes were now being designed to accentuate the shape and elegance of the foot, with pronounced arches and slenderness.
Our modern understanding of the heel began to develop, as heeled shoes began thinning. As women were now beginning to have a proper impact on the workplace, they would need shoes that would promote confidence, and the heel began sharpening through the 1960s.
The disco era of the 70s saw the introduction of all manner of quirky designs to compliment this flowery and colorful style. Massive soles were high in demand, and wedges and platform shoes were all the rage, making a huge entrance on the dancefloor.
From the 80s onwards, the designs that you see today were founded. Shoes that were once labelled as anti-fashion, such as Doc Martens, were suddenly in demand. Sneakers were promoted by athletes and Hip Hop artists. Today individual tastes are being catered to, and there is something for every kind of foot.