Who Invented Shoes: History & Evolution Of Shoes

A question may arise in your mind, who invented shoes?  Jan Ernst Matzeliger was an inventor of shoes but he actually the inventor of the shoe machine.

A shoe is a footwear that provides protection and comfort to human’ feet and back pain.  Shoes are also a sign of fashion, which changes over time. Nowadays, you can get various kinds of shoes in multiple colors. You can enjoy numerous shoes according to occasions. The shoe originated in the early 13th century in the Catalonian region of Spain. At that time, only a farmer could wear shoes.

In this article, we will discuss the history of your shoes. You will see the various revolution in the history of shoes.

1. Prehistory (2.5 million BC-1250 BC)

who invented shoes

Forty thousand years ago, humans felt the need for shoes. Necessity drove them to create a useful thing to protect their feet. Our ancestors had to walk on rock, bumpy, and uneven paths. The studies show that the old shoes were made up of animals’ skin and hides.

2. Antiquity (1250 BC- 475)

The history of human development proves that the ancient people were aware of these things that protecting foot from outer things is necessary. The study demonstrates that the Egyptians, Romans, and Greece were the inventors of shoes. After 1200 BC, people were creating Pharaoh’s Sandal that had long, peaked toe; King or Prince wore such shoes.

who invented shoes

Such shoes were invented from papyrus fiber and raw leather. These shoes were stretched and tied at the end of the foot. In ancient times, there were few regulations to wear footwear.   In ancient Rome, clothes and shoes were considered as the image of advancement. So people wear shoes according to their status in society.

While in Geeks, the Sandals could be wear by only free citizens to distinguish them from slaves. Despite all these, Roman soldiers wore sandals. The higher the number of laces in the sandals, the higher the rank of the soldier is.

3. Middle Ages (476- 1453)

Although the middle age was considered as a dark age, there were many shoes invented in that era.  The heel was developed in that era, and only men could wear heels at that time.

At the start of middle age, the espadrilles reached Central Europe from the Pyrenees and became popular in the market. These shoes were lightweight and can wear in warmer weather, so that’s why they didn’t reach Northern Europe.

who invented shoes

Northern and Central Europe produced leather shoes that were turned inside out and sewed up with shoe soles. It was a seamless structure in which the seamless shoes remain inside the shoe. For such a design, lightweight leather is required. The benefit of these shoes was that you could wear them in tough times.

During the Gothic period, pointed shoes were invented. The tip of the shoes represented the status of the person. Such shoes were made of velvet and fancy things.

4. Early modern Times (1453- 1918)

Before this era, only men could wear the heel. Men’s legs were considered a symbol of beauty. In early modern times, both men and women wore fancy footwear.

In an earlier time, the development of shoes changes so rapidly in developing countries as compared to other countries. For example, Spain and Italy played an essential role in the development of shoes. Shoes were there first then in other countries of Europe. They had the finest and fanciest shoes as compared to other countries.

Jan Ernst Matzeliger

During the Renaissance period, the King wore high heels to represent supremacy. King Louis XIV of France is known as Sun King, who played an essential role in spreading the popularity of high heels.  During this period, the pointed shoes were swapped with squared nose shoes (duck-billed).

Despite all these, fancy and expensive shoes were made in this era.  Usually, those shoes were made up of velvet, satin, and silk.

5. Modern Times(1918-Present)

best shoes for nurses

In this era, American culture was introduced in the development of shoes such as shoes for concrete floors, shoes for back pain, shoes for nurses, shoes for jogging & shoes for a workout. In this period, the material of the boots was cheap and new. Fancy and high-quality footwear was introduced in the mid of the 20th century. Hollywood actors and singers have a great impact on the development of the shoe industry. For example, Band Beatles popularized Chelsea, and actress Audrey Hepburn popularized kitten heels, and schoolgirls wore Mary Jane shoes.

Sports shoes have a great influence on the industry. The first sports shoe was invented in the middle of 19 century named Converse. Later on, sneakers came into the market and created a significant impact. Both men and women can wear these sneakers.


The history of footwear is very captivating and revealing. Now, you can wear anything without any restrictions. While in the past, women were not allowed to wear heels. You can follow various trends and get different footwear of your choice.  You can also enjoy numerous shoes according to occasions. The latest technology of the 21st century allows us to enjoy the latest and comfortable footwear.

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