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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:13 AM   #1

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Shoes and History


A bit of interest in shoes has been expressed, so I thought maybe we could discuss the odd history of footwear, not just as foot protection but also of fashion and cultural anomalies.
These are King Tut's burial sandals.
Click the image to open in full size.
Naturally, shoes are much more than utilitarian, but can have status and social taboos attached to them.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:14 AM   #2

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Re: Shoes and History


As the son of a shoemaker, i'll follow this thread with heightened interest. BTW, Stalin was also son of a shoemaker...
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:37 AM   #3

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Re: Shoes and History


Cool...Shoe-making is a wonderful craft. The last cobbler I met was in Zutphen, The Netherlands. Nice town and nice craftsman.

Hans Christian Andersen and William Sturgeon, the pioneering English electrical engineer of the early 19th century.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:40 AM   #4

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Re: Shoes and History


Quote:
Originally Posted by crossroadclarence View Post
Cool...Shoe-making is a wonderful craft. The last cobbler I met was in Zutphen, The Netherlands. Nice town and nice craftsman.

Hans Christian Andersen and William Sturgeon, the pioneering English electrical engineer of the early 19th century.
It is. I think it is also one of those professions that will always be needed. However, i remember in the late 80's early 90's bussiness went very bad for my dad, as the sports shoe became more prevalent, and it was cheaper to buy a new pair, than to have the old one repaired.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:43 AM   #5
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Re: Shoes and History


"Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out."

-- Iris Murdoch
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:47 AM   #6

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Re: Shoes and History


The body of a well-preserved “ice-man”, Ítzi, mummified in a glacier since the Halstatt era, wore leather foot coverings stuffed with straw, that looked much like this:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:49 AM   #7

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Re: Shoes and History


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeno View Post
It is. I think it is also one of those professions that will always be needed. However, i remember in the late 80's early 90's bussiness went very bad for my dad, as the sports shoe became more prevalent, and it was cheaper to buy a new pair, than to have the old one repaired.
Yes...mass production has a tendency to do that with skilled crafts. But sooner or later, the pendulum swings back to quality and classic form, IMO.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 06:00 AM   #8

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Re: Shoes and History


Quote:
Originally Posted by crossroadclarence View Post
Yes...mass production has a tendency to do that with skilled crafts. But sooner or later, the pendulum swings back to quality and classic form, IMO.
The difference is in the service you offer, i guess. He now has a pick-up & delivery attached to his shoemaking bussiness.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 06:05 AM   #9

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Re: Shoes and History


Wise move. Nobody does that much anymore, although it was common in olden days.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 06:20 AM   #10

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Re: Shoes and History


In the Americas we have moccasins and mukluks.

Moccasins are soft shoes of leather or grass. Persons of status would have elaborate, colourful designs, made using beads or dye. Some of these designs were meant to offer spiritual protection. In the Eastern Woodlands, they are soft-soled, so that the wearer can feel the ground; in the west they had hard soles.

Click the image to open in full size.

A more common sort of moccasin would have been undecorated and made of grass or other fibres, like so:

Click the image to open in full size.


In Northern parts, such as among the Cree, they have mukluks as well. Mukluks are boots for winter. They are traditionally made of sealskin (for waterproofing) and reindeer, beaver, and moose hide/furs (for warmth). Supposedly they are very, very warm and dry. Some people still swear by them as being better than modern designs, which stands to reason, as they'd have to have boots that could withstand days in Arctic conditions, rather than just a few hours in temperate winter conditions.
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