The Ancient Greeks excelled at shoemaking; their shoes were elegant. By 400 BC people were quite obsessed. So much so that ‘rules’ were made about who could wear what and when. Shoes were only allowed to be worn outdoors and depending on your job and status you had to wear a certain type. The shoes of Ancient Rome were more durable and sturdy and less beautiful but again, people were distinguished according to class. Red for the emperor only.For some reason there was then a lull on the shoe front for about a thousand years before the emergence of the pointed shoe. They became increasingly exaggerated with the toe becoming longer and longer like Pinocchio’s nose. Eventually it became impossible to walk in them so it is safe to assume they were merely a fashion and a status symbol. Bells were added to the end ….
The pointed shoe fortunately disappeared around 1460-70 when it was replaced by ‘Duck’s Bill’ or ‘Bear’s Claw’ shoes (when bears still existed in Europe). Duck’s Bill shoes were made of luscious fabrics such as silk, brocade and velvet and were then heavily padded, and embroidered. The shoes became broader and broader and eventually fashionable shoe wearers waddled (hence the name Duck’s Bill).During the C16th there was a new fad for women that took the form of a high heeled show known as the chopine. This was a type of over shoe with a raised platform sole designed to give the wearer height. The soles became higher and higher – some were up to thirty inches! Women could hardly walk in them. They were eventually outlawed after a number of women miscarried after falling off their shoes.
The C17th saw a fashion for shoes and stockings for men, and boots! Hooray! Buckles and beading were added to leather and taffeta during the C18th. However the C19th was more austere and there were really only three types of shoes to choose from: the boot, the clog and the dress slipper. The boot became every day wear, strong and durable although they took a long time to break in.The C20th and C21st have seen the modern love affair with shoes continue. In fact according to recent figures while sales of many items have plummeted because of the economic downturn, footwear sales have increased. So why might this be?
• Buying a new pair of shoes can instantly update an outfit and change your whole look. This is something that women instinctively understand.
• Shoe buying is also a serious mood booster for many women. Buying shoes is supposed to release the mood enhancing hormone dopamine.
• Buying shoes is practical and therefore you can feel guilt free.
• People ‘collect’ shoes – so it’s an investment for the future or something to show off right now!
One tip: if you are listing on eBay, make sure you go into loving detail about colour, texture, heel height etc. Make your women customers feel as though they are really there and try and convey the excitement of this particular style/colour etc.
Good sales? They’re a shoe in 😉