Maybe not made for walking…

From the days of Alexander the Great to those of the Hanoverian Kings of England and beyond, shoes have been just as much a player in the culture game as religion and law. The shoe department of fashion, like many other things, has adapted to trends throughout history as culture-trade, religion, values, beliefs, art, etc.-continually work to mold a civilization. Shoes, symbolic of either authority or sexuality, are a rare but valuable study in the efforts to piece together history as they truly represent the journey that has brought us where we are today.

A timeline of the history (below) of symbolism touches on sequential eras of political empires throughout European history, but shoes as symbols do not stop there. Shoes, serving as a visual symbol, augment ensembles, putting the final touches on a personal representation for eras to follow. This extends to political times of now, considering the coverage of Michelle Obama’s fashion choices, displaying her collection of high-status Jimmy Choo styles. As for sexuality found in today’s shoes, Christian Louboutin is a leading designer of high-status shoes with a vivid red sole. King Louis XIV started a red-heel-as-status trend and we draw connections between this and Louboutin’s frenchness. This red exhibits beautiful sexuality, emanated by elegant women. Although red has symbolized a plethora of ideas throughout history, especially pertaining to shoes, it has not always been beautiful. In 1845, Hans Christian Anderson wrote a fairy-tale, The Red Shoes, displaying feminine vanity through these named red shoes. This sort of symbolism is not as prominent in Western culture today. However, shoes still have the ability to purport a great deal of sexuality and this has been noted by a 2003, R-rated lyrical production by Amy Winehouse.

Giving credit where credit is due: 

 Macedonia

National Archeological Museum, Athens, Greece.

Musée du Lourve. Paris, France.

Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers. 1st ed. Vol. 1. New York: Berg, 2006.
439.

Rome
Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers. 1st ed. Vol. 1. New York: Berg, 2006.
439.

Sebesta, Judith Lynn. The World of Roman Costume. Madison, Wis.: U of
Wisconsin, 1994. Print

Jackson, James W. “Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii.” Art and Archaeology. Web.
3 Dec. 2014. .

Bologna
Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers. 1st ed. Vol. 1. New York: Berg, 2006.
439.

Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York.

Venice
Vecellio, Cesare. Vecellio’s Renaissance Costume Book: All 500 Woodcut
Illustrations from the Famous Sixteenth-century Compendium of
World Costume. New York: Dover Publications, 1977. Print.

Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada.

Toledo
Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada.

Versailles
Interview of Louis XIV of France and Philip IV of Spain at the Pheasant Island.

Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers. 1st ed. Vol. 1. New York: Berg, 2006.
439.

Wales
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York.

Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada.