Monthly Archives: April 2017

Sandal

Sandals are an open type of footwear, consisting of a sole held to the wearer’s foot by straps going over the instep and, sometimes, around the ankle. Sandals can also have a heel. While the distinction between sandals and other types of footwear can sometimes be blurry (as in the case of huaraches—the woven leather footwear seen in Mexico, and peep-toe pumps), the common understanding is that a sandal leaves most of the foot exposed. People may choose to wear sandals for several reasons, among them comfort in warm weather, economy (sandals tend to require less material than shoes and are usually easier to construct), and as a fashion choice.

Usually, people wear sandals in warmer climates or during warmer parts of the year in order to keep their feet cool and dry. The risk of developing athlete’s foot is lower than with enclosed shoes, and the wearing of sandals may be part of the treatment regimen for such an infection.A sandal may have a sole made from rubber, leather, wood, tatami or rope. It may be held to the foot by a narrow thong that generally passes between the first and second toe, or by a strap or lace, variously called a latchet, sabot strap or sandal, that passes over the arch of the foot or around the ankle. A sandal may or may not have a heel (either low or high) or heel strap.

Among the many kinds of sandals are:

  • Caligae, a heavy-soled classical Roman military shoe or sandal for marching, worn by all ranks up to and including centurion
  • Clog can be formed as a heavy sandal, having a thick, typically wooden sole.
  • Crochet sandals
  • Fisherman sandal is a type of T-bar sandal originally for men and boys. The toes are enclosed by a number of leather bands interwoven with the central length-wise strap that lies along the instep. An adjustable cross strap or bar is fastened with a buckle. The heel may be fully enclosed or secured by a single strap joined to the cross strap. The style appears to have originated in France.
  • Flip-flops are typically cheap and suitable for beach, pool, or locker room wear
  • geta, a classical Japanese form of elevated thong, traditionally of cryptomeria wood; the crosspiece is referred to as a ha, which translates to tooth
  • Grecian sandal, sandals from Greece and Salento (Italy), a (generally flat or low) sole attached to the foot by interlaced straps crossing the toes and instep, and fastening around the ankle. A similar style is sometimes called gladiator sandal
  • High-heeled sandal, a type of sandal with an elevated heel. They allow the wearer to have an open shoe while being less casual or more formal, depending on the style of the sandal.
  • Hiking and trekking sandals are designed for hiking or trekking in hot and tropical climates, usually using robust rubber outsole, suitable for any terrain, and softer EVA or Super EVA foam insole. These sandals are usually shaped to support the arched contour of the foot. The straps are usually made of polyester or nylon webbing for quick drying after exposure to acid and to minimize perspiration. Also suitable for many other adventure sports and activities where quick drying and reduced perspiration is required, including rafting, traveling, paragliding, skydiving.
  • Ho Chi Minh sandals is one name for a homemade or cottage industry footwear, the soles cut from an old automobile tire and the straps cut from an inner tube. Made and worn in many countries, they became wider known in the US as worn by the rural people of Indochina during the Vietnam War, leading to the name.

Sneakers

Sneakers (also known as athletic shoes, tennis shoes, gym shoes, runners, takkies, or trainers) are shoes primarily designed for sportsor other forms of physical exercise, but which are now also often used for everyday wear. The term generally describes a type of footwear with a flexible sole made of rubber or synthetic material and an upper part made of leather or synthetic materials. Examples of such shoes include athletic footwear such as: basketball shoes, tennis shoes, cross trainers and other shoes worn for specific sports.

The term ‘athletic shoes’ is typically used for shoes utilized for running in a marathon or half marathon, basketball, and tennis (among others), but tends to exclude shoes for sports played on grass such as association football and rugby football, which are generally known as ‘studs’ or in North America as ‘cleats’.

Attributes of an athletic shoe include a flexible sole, appropriate tread for the function, and ability to absorb impact. As the industry and designs have expanded, the term “athletic shoes” is based more on the design of the bottom of the shoe than the aesthetics of the top of the shoe. Today’s designs include sandals, Mary Janes, and even elevated styles suitable for running, dancing, and jumping. The shoes themselves are made of flexible compounds, typically featuring a sole made of dense rubber. While the original design was basic, manufacturers have since tailored athletic shoes for their specific purposes. An example of this is the spiked shoe developed for track running. Many of these shoes are made up to very large sizes for athletes with large feet.

Running shoes come in a range of shapes suited to different running styles/abilities. Generally, they are divided by running style: the majority are for heel-toe joggers/runners which are further subdivided into ‘neutral’, ‘overpronation’ and ‘underpronation’. These are constructed with a complex structure of “rubber” with plastic/metal stiffeners to restrict foot movement. More advanced runners tend to wear flatter and flexible shoes, which allow them to run more quickly with greater comfort. Sneakers have become an important part of hip hop (primarily Pumas, Nike, and Adidas) and rock ‘n roll (Converse, Macbeth) cultures since the 1970s. Hip hop artists sign million dollar deals with major brands such as Nike, Adidas, or Puma to promote their shoes. Sneaker collectors, called “sneakerheads”, use sneakers as fashionable items. Artistically-modified sneakers can sell for upwards of $1000 at exclusive establishments like Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2005, a documentary, Just for Kicks, about the sneaker phenomenon and history was released.

High-heeled footwear

High-heeled footwear (often abbreviated as high heels or simply heels) is footwear that raises the heel of the wearer’s foot significantly higher than the toes. When both the heel and the toes are raised equal amounts, as in a platform shoe, it is technically not considered to be a high heel; however, there are also high-heeled platform shoes. High heels tend to give the aesthetic illusion of longer, more slender legs. High heels come in a wide variety of styles, and the heels are found in many different shapes, including stiletto, pump (court shoe), block, tapered, blade, and wedge.

According to high-fashion shoe websites like Jimmy Choo and Gucci, a “low heel” is considered less than 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters), while heels between 2.5 and 3.5 inches (6.4 and 8.9 cm) are considered “mid heels”, and anything over that is considered a “high heel”. The apparel industry would appear to take a simpler view: the term “high heels” covers heels ranging from 2 to 5 inches (5.1 to 12.7 cm) or more. Extremely high-heeled shoes, such as those exceeding 6 inches (15 cm), strictly speaking, are no longer considered apparel but rather something akin to “jewelry for the feet”. They are worn for display or the enjoyment of the wearer.

Negative effects

The case against wearing high heels is based almost exclusively on health and practical reasons, including that they:

  • can cause foot and tendon pain;
  • increase the likelihood of sprains and fractures;
  • make calves look more rigid and sinewy;
  • can create foot deformities, including hammer toes and bunions;
  • can cause an unsteady gait;
  • can shorten the wearer’s stride.
  • can render the wearer unable to run;
  • can exacerbate lower back pain;
  • alter forces at the knee so as to predispose the wearer to degenerative changes in the knee joint;
  • can result after frequent wearing in a higher incidence of degenerative joint disease of the knees. This is because they cause a decrease in the normal rotation of the foot, which puts more rotation stress on the knee.
  • can cause damage to soft floors if they are thin or metal-tipped.

Positive effects

The case for wearing high heels is based almost exclusively on aesthetic reasons, including that they:

  • change the angle of the foot with respect to the lower leg, which accentuates the appearance of calves;
  • change the wearer’s posture, requiring a more upright carriage and altering the gait in what is considered a seductive fashion;
  • make the wearer appear taller;
  • make the legs appear longer;
  • make the foot appear smaller;
  • make the toes appear shorter;
  • make the arches of the feet higher and better defined;
  • according to a single line of research, they may improve the muscle tone of some women’s pelvic floor, thus possibly reducing female incontinence, although these results have been disputed.
  • offer practical benefits for people of short stature in terms of improving access and using items, e.g. sitting upright with feet on floor instead of suspended, reaching items on shelves, etc.

Fashion boot

A fashion boot is a boot worn for reasons of style or fashion. The term is usually applied to women’s boots. Fashion boots come in a wide variety of styles, from ankle to thigh-length, and are used for casual, formal, and business attire. Although boots were a popular style of women’s footwear in the Nineteenth Century, they were not recognized as a high fashion item until the 1960s. They became widely popular in the 1970s and have remained a staple of women’s winter wardrobes since then.  Fashion boots generally employ the same range of soles and heels as are found in shoes. The defining character of the boot is the length of the shaft. Ankle boots generally have a shaft height of less than 8 inches (20 cm), calf-length boots 8–15 inches (20–38 cm), knee-length boots 15–19 inches (38–48 cm), while over-the knee boots have shaft lengths of 19 inches (38 cm) or more; however these divisions are arbitrary and at the boundaries the decision as to whether a boot is, for example, calf-length or knee-length is largely subjective.

The shaft of a fashion boot can be fitted, straight-legged, or loose-fitting. In close-fitting boots, flexibility is achieved by the use of gussets; slits in the material either at the top of the shaft, or wider panels at the sides of the shaft (in ankle boots), which are backed with elasticized fabric. Compression folds around the ankle allow for movement of the foot. In over-the-knee boots, flexion of the knee is usually attained by a vent at the back of the boot, running from the top of the shaft to the back of the knee. This may be closed with laces, elasticized, or left open. Where a vent is not used, freedom of movement is achieved either by having the top of the shaft flare outwards above the knee, or making all or part of the shaft out of a stretchable material.

A variety of fasteners are seen in fashion boots. Laces are commonly used in ankle boots, but are too time-consuming for longer styles. Zip fasteners are widely employed in all styles of boot – they may run the entire length of the shaft, or just the ankle and lower calf – these partial-length zips make it easier to insert the foot into the toe of the boot by relaxing the fit around the ankle. Pull-on boots have no fasteners and tend to have a looser fit than zip or lace-up boots; they sometimes have a loop of leather at the top of the shaft, called a boot-strap, to assist with pulling the boot on. Finally, button-fastened boots were common at the beginning of the last century but are rarely seen today. If present, buttons are usually employed as design accents on boots; other decorative features include straps, buckles, studs, and decorative stitching.