A brief history of women’s footwear

Today, the right pair of shoes can really make us feel comfortable in our skin. From cool sandals to classy heels or elegant sneakers, the choices that allow us to assert our own individual take on femininity are virtually limitless.


But, going back a couple thousand years, that wasn't always the case. In fact, civilizations like ancient Greece or Rome didn't divide their widely popular sandals into men's and women's. So when did women's footwear actually took off? And how did it end up in the variety of shoes, boots and sneakers we can wear today? 


The chopines

Even though high-heels can be traced back to ancient Egypt, feminine-centered designs only started taking shape in the 1400s. Chopines had dramatic 20+ inches platforms and were first worn in Venice to maintain the "good" shoes away from muddy Venetian streets. 


Ballet flats

It might be hard to believe, but until the 1700s, ballerinas danced in high heels. Pointe shoes became the norm in stages during the latter half of the century, but ballet flats would only expand into the masses in 1956 when French icon Brigitte Bardot asked shoemaker Rose Repetto to craft her a pair of red ballet flats for the upcoming movie "And God Created Woman."


Mary Janes

A mostly unisex design throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Mary Jane shoes rose into a second wave of popularity during the swinging 60s, with an elegant but comfortable design, perfect for dancing. And the 60s were all about dancing!



While the 80s witnessed the explosion of countless fresh designs that are still present in various subcultures, no shoe grew in popularity like the sneaker. The combination of comfort, practicality and aesthetic versatility has turned sneakers into the "must-have" shoe in every wardrobe.