Introduction to Sneakers

April 12th, 2011

Footwear in it’s most basic form has existed since the Paleolithic era, approximately 40,000 years ago. Archaeologists have uncovered preserved shoe prints from this period that mark it as the era when early man began to adapt his feet to his environment. The evolution of footwear from then to now has seen many strange, unique and adaptive forms of foot protection. From the papyrus sandals of the Egyptians, to European pointed toed monstrosities known as Poullions, and finally to the extravagant and advanced tennis shoes of today, footwear has constantly evolved to suit the needs and tastes of the times. Footwear was used as a sign of status, as Egyptian rulers would adorn their sandals with jewels and gold leaf, while 16th century European peasants would wear wooden sabots, a sign of their meager lifestyle. Footwear was rarely comfortable and often more cumbersome than useful, but without an alternative to turn to, people lived for thousands of years without knowing the kind of footwear utopia that exists today. Along with the ability to vulcanize rubber, the rise of spectator sports and a more active society in America opened the door for a new kind of shoe, one that would revolutionize the way we walk, feel and sport; the Sneaker.

-Will Devlin