were the most common footwear in most early civilizations, however, a few
early cultures had shoes. In Mesopotamia, (c. 1600–1200 BC) a type of soft
shoes were worn by the mountain people who lived on the border of Iran.
The soft shoe was made of wraparound leather, similiar to a moccasin. "As
late as 1850 most shoes were made on absolutely straight lasts, there being
no difference between the right and the left shoe."
General History of Shoes
The Century in Shoes You can do some
soul searching decade by decade using this site.
Manufacturing Machine Jan Ernst Matzeliger
developed an automatic method for lasting shoes and made the mass production
of affordable shoes possible.
Reed Blake Lyman Reed Blake was an
American inventor who invented a sewing
machine for sewing the soles of shoes to the uppers. In 1858, he received
a patent for his special sewing machine.
Goodyear Welt - Patented on January
24, 1871, was Charles Goodyear Jr's Goodyear Welt, a machine for sewing
boots and shoes.
Shoelaces An aglet is the small plastic or
fiber tube that binds the end of a shoelace (or similar cord) to prevent
fraying and to allow the lace to be passed through an eyelet or other opening.
This comes from the Latin word for "needle." The shoestring (string and
shoe holes) was first invented in England in 1790 (first recorded date
March 27). Before shoestrings, shoes were commonly fastened with buckles.
Heel The firt rubber heel for shoes was
patented on January 24, 1899 by Irish-American Humphrey O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan
patented the rubber heel which outlasted the leather heel then in use.
McCoy invented an improvement to the rubber heel.
Rubber Soled Shoes/Sneakers The first rubber soled shoes called
plimsolls were developed and manufactured in the United States in the late
1800s. In 1892, nine small rubber manufacturing companies consolidated
to form the U.S. Rubber Company. Among them was the Goodyear Metallic Rubber
Shoe Company, organized in the 1840s in Naugatuck, Connecticut. This company
was the first licensee of a new manufacturing process called vulcanization,
discovered and patented by Charles Goodyear.
Vulcanization uses heat to meld rubber to cloth or other rubber components
for a sturdier, more permanent bond.
On January 24, 1899, Humphrey O'Sullivan
received the first patent for a rubber heel for shoes.
From 1892 to 1913, the rubber footwear
divisions of U.S. Rubber were manufacturing their products under 30 different
brand names. The company consolidated these brands under one name.When
choosing a name, the initial favorite was Peds, from the Latin meaning
foot, but someone else held that trademark. By 1916, the two final alternatives
were Veds or Keds, with the stronger sounding Keds being the final choice.
Keds® were first mass-marketed
as canvas-top "sneakers" in 1917. These were the first sneakers. The word
"sneaker" was coined by Henry Nelson McKinney, an advertising agent for
N. W. Ayer & Son, because the rubber sole made the shoe stealthy or
quiet, all other shoes, with the exception of moccasins, made noise when
you walked. In 1979, the Stride Rite Corporation acquired the Keds®
Sneaker Page includes the history of sneakers along with facts, descriptions,
pictures, a glossary, and advice on how to dry wet sneakers.
Demon The inventor of the "Smart Shoe" - an athletic shoe
whose cushion support automatically adjusts to suit the shape of the wearer's
Sport Sandals The
term "sport sandals" was first coined by Ken Young. Young's sandal patent
(with nylon webbing) was issued on April 2, 1974 - U.S. Patent #
® Sandals: Mark Thatcher Mark Thatcher invented Teva ®
Flops The history of flip flops.
Odor-eaters Herbert Lapidus of Westchester,
New York, invented the odor-eater insole in the early 1970s. Lapidus claims
he invented the product because his wife had very smelly feet. Odor-eaters
are latex inner soles for shoes that contain activated charcoal to neutralize