Universal Shoe Wear
Some countries have customs regarding shoe removal when entering a house. Sometimes it is done to avoid bringing dirt and foreign materials into the house and sometimes it is done out of respect for the house. It is customary to remove shoes when entering a home in Asia, Easter Europe, and part of the Middle East, Africa, Northern Europe, Canada and Alaska. Other matters of shoe etiquette include not showing the soles of your shoes in the Middle East, Africa, Korean or Thailand. If member of different countries all entered a room and removed their shoes, depending on the time period, you may be able to tell what countries are represented just by looking at the footwear.
Shoes have come in many different shapes and sizes, from many different countries and many different times. There are drawings in a cave in Spain that date back to more than 15,000 years ago. In these drawings, human are depicted wearing animal skins and furs wrapped around their feet. We have covered our feet with leather, wood and straw over the years and as we discover more materials the shoes grow more interesting and advanced. Sandals are the oldest kind of shoe and they still exist today. Furthermore moccasins, the traditional shoe of Native Americans look not unlike the loafer that any business man might wear on a weekend. Even platform soles, which seemed so outlandish when they were first introduced have a relative in the chopine, a shoe from the 16th century with a raised sole, made of wood, and reaching up to 30 inches high. Also similar to the platform shoe was the Japanese geta. So, the basic shape of shoes has not changed that drastically over time. We have changed the materials but not the general idea of what a shoe is.
A shoe is made up of several basic parts, regardless of the time period or culture it emerges from. The only difference is that some of these parts are skipped when making certain kinds of shoes. First and most well know the shoe has a sole; this is defined only as the part of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. In addition to the sole, most shoes have some kind of shank, a piece of material that is placed between the sole and the insole. The basic shoe also has other less know parts: the breast, the cap, the counter, the feather, the puff, the quarter, the seat, the stiffener, the throat, the top piece, the topline, the upper, the vamp and the waist.