History of Footwear in India

Slippers in India

001_COVER history of footwear in india

In human history, one of the oldest innovations of man was footwear. During the time of early man, survival was key, which meant protecting their bodies from extreme weather, harsh conditions, and predators is one of their main priorities. Because of this, man created and developed clothing and weaponry. Along with developing clothing, footwear was also developed.

Over the years, clothing and footwear have drastically improved and developed through numerous innovations discovered and created by man. Other than the various improvements that have been done, clothing and footwear became an important element in human culture. Various human cultures and civilizations use clothing as a way of expression and giving them their identity.

As each century passes, the quality of clothing and footwear also improved. Through curiosity and discovery, they have found and used different materials to create countless kinds of clothing and footwear.

01_Early Footwear

Early Footwear

For shoes, the earliest known forms of footwear were created around 40,000 years ago in China. While it may still not be completely clear on exactly when footwear became a norm, historians suggest that early man began to occasionally use them during the Paleolithic period. Evidence of early man using footwear can be found on their feet, as wearing footwear can alter the shape of the feet, which produces physical changes in its overall structure.

These early forms of footwear would eventually turn into shoes and sandals. The oldest shoes that have been found by archaeologists are around 12,000 to 9,000 years old, which was found in North America. In Europe, some of the oldest forms of footwear were found in Russia, which is around 27,500 years old.

02_Ancient Civilizations

Footwear in Ancient Civilizations

As man developed human civilization, new technologies and innovations have also been discovered. In the field of footwear, ways of making shoes and sandals have improved as well. In Mesopotamia, which is considered to be the world’s oldest civilization, shoes were made out of straw or leather. Wearing leather shoes in Mesopotamia indicates that you are a person of a high stature. In Ancient Egypt, people who wear sandals are either noblemen or pharaohs. Their sandals are made out of straw, papyrus, or palm fiber. Leather shoes were also present in Ancient Egypt, with some of them adorned with gold decorations.

In ancient Greece, sandals made out of straw and leather were common, and a new fashion during their time was creating different models of footwear for the left and right foot. In ancient Rome, footwear is a way of indicating social class. Members of the Roman Legions wore short boots with open toes, Roman senators wore brown shoes that have four leather tapes and two knots, while Roman consuls wore white shoes. Roman sandals are some of the more well-preserved examples of ancient footwear, with archaeologists discovering different styles of footwear. These include the caliga or the military sandal, the calceus, and the gallica. For both Greece and Rome, Buskin shoes became common among actors, soldiers, and hunters. Another common shoe that was created during ancient times was the moccasin, which was a shoe created from a single piece of leather.

In the Americas, tribes like the Anasazi created woven and braided sandals, which have a V-shaped strap. In Japan, they have a wool sandal called the geta, which was worn with socks called tabi. The geta is a platform style sandal, meaning that it is elevated, which keeps the foot away from mud and wet areas.


Footwear during the Middle Ages

With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and the rise of monarchies, different kinds of shoes and sandals became more common across Europe. Despite being common, the shoes and sandals during this time were crude and uncomfortable, which makes it difficult to wear during long periods of time.

For the members of royalty in medieval Europe footwear was once again an indicator of one’s status. For them, the length of one’s toe is a major indicator of their status, which meant that the kings and royal court members (women did not wear this style of footwear) had the largest and longest toes. Another popular style was the ankle shoe, which was created in Britain during the 9th century.

04_1500 to 1800

Footwear during the 1500s-1800s

The end of the middle ages also saw the end of long-toed shoes for royalty, while also seeing the rise of footwear as part of popular fashion. Round and square shaped toes on shoes became a popular style. Despite the disappearance of long pointed-toes on footwear, the emergence of large-toed shoes became a normal style, which were called foot bags.

Another footwear innovation during the 1500s was the high heels. High heels were introduced by Catherine de Medici of the powerful Medici family from Italy. They became a popular style for both men and women, especially for members of royalty. Royals such as Elizabeth I wore heels as high as 2-3 inches. By the end of the French Revolution in 1789, men no longer wore high heels, with simpler designs becoming more ideal. A year later, shoelaces were introduced by the English for the first time.

By the 19th century, shoes made specifically for the left and right foot were introduced, which made straight shoes a past trend. In 1883, an American named Jan Ernst Matzeliger invented a machine that would automate the production of shoes. This invention allowed the mass production of shoes, which changed the shoe industry for the long term. By 1899, American Humphrey O’Sullivan patented the rubber heel.

Footwear in the modern period

The 20th century saw a rise in the popularity of sneakers and rubber shoes. The first sneakers were introduced in 1917, and became a hit among young people and athletes. The 1950s saw the use of synthetic and industrial materials in shoe manufacturing, which made footwear much more durable. Flip-flops have also become popular during the latter half of the 20th century, being the top choice during the summer seasons. By the 1980s and the 2000s, athletic shoes became the most popular form of footwear available, with almost every person in the world having at least one pair of rubber shoes at home.

05_history of footwear

History of footwear in India

Being one of the oldest civilizations in the world, India has a rich and diverse history which spans thousands of years. And with that culture lie a rich history when it comes to their fashion and footwear. In the country’s culture, the foot is regarded as an object of veneration, and plays an important part in traditional rituals and ceremonies. Examples include the removing of footwear before entering a house to signify respect and humility, the ceremonial washing of the feet to pay respect and obeisance to elders, religious heads, and idols, and falling on your feet to ask for forgiveness for wrongdoers.

The feet are also seen as a symbol of eroticism and romanticism, and are highly admired. They are also seen as an object of love, and are one of the main reasons why women decorate them with jewelry, anklets and scented oil as well as put tattoos onto their feet. One of the commonly painted symbols on a woman’s feet is the red alta, which is in anticipation for a tryst with their lover. With the high importance of feet in Indian culture, it is no surprise that their footwear has a deep history.

Early footwear and slippers from India trace back its history to traditional scriptures from religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism. It can also be seen on coins, murals, paintings, and sculptures. The usage of footwear in the country is well-documented, and is seen as both a luxury and a practical item. There are also numerous evidences of ancient Indian footwear, which have been uncovered by archaeologists.

One of the earliest kinds of Indian footwear is the paduka. The paduka is a type of sandal that is worn by ascetics and mendicants, and is known to have elaborate designs and decorations carved in. Some of these sandals are made out of wood, ivory, metal, silver, and brass.

Another early type of footwear in India was sandals made out of wood, some of which were dated to be from 200 B.C. Some of these sandals are decorated with jewels, and are used by royalty. Iron and stone were also known to have been used as footwear materials during the 13th century, with some of the insteps decorated with rubies and diamonds.

In the 17th century, sandals with upturned toes called mojiris were introduced. They are known to be a colorful type of footwear, with illustrations depicting them to be highly decorated. With the arrival of the English during the 18th century, their style was also integrated into their footwear. Some regions in India also have their own signature style, like the marhattis, which came from the Maharashta region, and the jutti from the Northern regions.

As the country reached the modern age, traditional styles of Indian footwear remained, as they are still popular and a part of the country’s culture. With the advent of industrialization and modernization, footwear became one of the world’s largest industries, with India having a large share. With this, modern designs of Indian footwear are highly influenced by their western counterparts, yet still have traces of traditional culture which reminds them of its roots. As the footwear industry grows in the country, companies are looking to penetrate into the international market, and prove their quality. One of these companies looking to expand their business overseas is Minal Footwear.

Indian footwear can trace back its roots from the very beginning of their history. It has remained an important part of their past, with different styles attributed to different regions in the country. The elaborate and beautiful designs of these sandals and shoes show the rich and colorful tradition and culture of the country, and shows how important and revered the feet are in their culture.


What is Minal Footwear?

Minal Footwear is an Indian manufacturing company, which produces quality footwear. With our success in India, we aim to provide stylish and quality footwear to the Philippines.

Slippers from Minal Footwear are made out of polyurethane, which is a material that is both light and durable. This ensures that the slippers are non-slip, and remain, classy, fashionable, and trendy. Minal Footwear aims to provide our customers with the most stylish, affordable, and durable footwear that is worth your money.

What are the products that Minal Footwear offers?

Minal Footwear offers a wide selection of slippers with diverse styles and designs. The different styles available are under three distinct categories, which are Aeroblu, Aerowalk, and Inblu. To look at the complete catalogue of products available, you can look into this page. If you are looking into buying wholesale, you can go to this page. Keep in mind that buying a single product and in bulk would not affect the quality of the product that you are going to purchase.

How can you be a distributor of Minal Footwear?

By becoming a distributor of Minal Footwear, you can be assured that you are providing Filipinos with quality footwear, and that you are promoting a product that is successful and trusted by many. For inquiries about distributing Minal Footwear products, or setting up your own store, you can check this page for further inquiries.

How can you know that you are purchasing a quality product?

Minal Footwear uses quality materials and ensures that these products pass the company’s standards. If you are curious as to what customers are saying about our products, you can check the testimonials page here.

Minal Footwear Charity

Other than providing the country with quality footwear, Minal Footwear is also donating a portion of its earnings to a selected number of charities as a way of giving back to the community. One of the goals of Minal Footwear is to be a company known for its Integrity, which is why charity is one of the company’s duties. To learn more about the charity efforts of Minal Footwear, visit this page.
If you have any further questions and inquiries regarding Minal Footwear, you can look into our FAQS page, or contact us through email or mobile. (Contact details are on this page)