Shoes Guide - An Introduction
Shoes were first designed to protect our feet, and while this is still one of their most important functions, shoes also serve a decorative purpose. Shoe design has varied greatly throughout time and across culture. For example, fashion trends will dictate whether or not fashionable shoes have high heels.
The earliest shoes date back to about 8000 BC; however, archaeologists believe shoes were used long before this period. There is evidence that shoes were actually used as much as 40,000 years ago. Early shoes were simple, often merely a bag of leather to protect against rocks and cold. In the Middle Ages, shoes were developed that had drawstrings or flaps that could tighten the leather for a better fit. Decorative shoes became a status symbol, with artisans creating unique shoes for their rich patrons. Around 1800, shoes began to differentiate between the right and left foot.
Modern shoes vary in style and cost, ranging from inexpensive flip-flops to high fashion shoes which can cost thousands of dollars. There are athletic shoes designed for specific sports, including highly engineered boots for hiking, skiing, or mountaineering. Traditional shoe materials include leather, wood, and canvas. More modern materials include rubber or plastics.
If you are shopping for shoes, Price Inspector will help. Our buying guide will give you tips to choose the right shoe for your needs, and then we help you find the best price. Our Inspectors compare prices at all the UK shops to make sure you always get the cheapest prices.
Athletic shoes usually emphasise function over style, although looks certainly play a part in these shoes. Trainers may be designed for a specific sport, or you can buy a cross trainer that will work for multiple training sports. Running shoes emphasise cushioning and foot support, while walking shoes have more flexible soles are and lighter weight. Skate shoes used for skateboarding have a flat sole to provide a better grip. Golf shoes have spikes to provide traction on wet grass, while cleats have either moulded or removable studs for playing sports like football.
- Adidas is one of the top names in trainers, making several different shoes for different sports. The Adidas Samba is a classic football shoe, one of the most popular models for indoor football. The shoe has a leather upper, EVA mid-soles, and non-marking soles.
- The Converse All-Star shoes date back to 1917, and they are still a popular, classic shoe. They come in either high-top or low-top, in leather or canvas, and in a wide variety of colours.
- Puma makes high-end athletic shoes for a variety of sport, including football, track, and basketball.
- K Swiss is known for their tennis shoes, endorsed by several top tennis stars.
- Nike Air Max The 2009 Air Max shoe has been designed to provide cushioned comfort for runners. The shoe is ideal for runners with either a neutral or an underpronated gait. The sole is designed to provide both flexibility and traction.
- Nike football boots are made for any condition, whether turf, grass, muddy or snowy fields, or indoor football. One of their most famous is the Nike Ronaldinho, which is part of their Nike Air Legend line. The shoe features a soft kangaroo leather upper, low-to-ground feeling, and increased arch support.
- Asics makes a popular line of shoes for football, cricket, volleyball, triathlons, and more. The Asics 2130 is a running shoe designed to enhance your natural gait, with improved cushioning.
Boots may be designed for fashion, protection from weather, or sport. Hiking boots have a stiff upper for ankle support and extra traction on the soles. Boots for weather protection may be waterproof or lined for warmth.
- Doc Martens: This line of footwear is distinctive for its air-cushioned sole. The work boots have been adopted for fashion purposes by youth cultures such as punks and grungers. Due to the cushioned sole, they have been popular with workers like postmen, police officers, or factory workers, anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet.
- Timberland boots, available in both men’s and women’s styles, are designed for hiking and mountaineering. They have become just as popular, however, as a fashion statement. The boots are known for the rugged, waterproof or water-resistant designs.
- Hunter Wellington, also known as Wellies or Wellingtons, are rubber boots based on leather Hessian boots. They were made fashionable in the 19th century by the 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. They are usually made of rubber or PVC plastic, and they are waterproof for use on wet or muddy ground or in rain showers. They are also used in industrial settings, such as in industry, mines, chemical plants, and food processing. Some are made with reinforced toes for industrial settings.
- Ugg boots, also known as Uggs, are unisex boots made from sheepskin and lined with wool. Some have a synthetic sole. The boots range from ankle height to above the knee. Ugg boots come in a variety of colours, and you can find either slip-on or lace-up styles. The boots are designed to let the air circulate, keeping your feet at body temperature.