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10 interesting facts about shoes!

Shoes, they come in all sizes and weights. Some shoes stand out more than others. We've collected 10 interesting shoe facts that everyone should know! What was the most expensive pair ever? Where does the name sneaker come from? You'll find it here!

1. Sneakers were made to sneak!

In 1917, Henry Nelson McKinney - advertising executive at the company NW Ayer & Sons - coined the word sneaker. He came up with the idea because the rubber sole made no sound. So you could sneak in or sneak out unnoticed!

Brussels Interior Event

2. Heels were for men only

Today, heels are primarily worn by women. This has not always been the case. Heels were worn by the nobility in the Ancien Regime. It is still unclear when women adopted this trend.

3. The original Dr. Martens boots were intended as reliable work shoes

In 1945, Dr. Klaus Marten - then a 25-year-old soldier - broke his foot. In response, he designed a prototype shoe with air cushioned soles instead of the traditional leather ones. In the 1970s, the iconic boot was incorporated into the punk subculture. Today, the boots are known as the sign of self-expression.

    Dr. Marten Laarzen

    4. Most expensive pair of shoes ever: $660 000

    A pair of ruby slippers from the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz - worn by actress Judy Garland - sold for a whopping $660 000 in 2000!

    Duurste paar schoenen ooit

    5. Measuring shoes began with a grain of barley

    It is historically known that during the Roman civilization, shoe masters used a pellet to measure the foot when making sandals. In the early Middle Ages, the British adopted this custom. Thus, the grain measuring system began to spread throughout the world. Today, this method is more commonly known as the Barleycorn! It is still an official unit of measurement in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    Gerstkorrels als schoenmaat

    6. The average woman owns 21 pairs of shoes

    This is much more than the average man, who owns "only" 12 pairs of shoes. Although many women in the world are shoe addicts, the ones who break the record are Danielle Steels with her 6000 pairs of shoes, Imelda Marcos with 3400 shoes in her collection and the famous singer Celine Dion with 3000 pairs of shoes.


    Gemiddelde vrouw

    7. The first women's boots were worn by Queen Victoria

    Joseph Sparkles designed the first women's boots for Queen Victoria. He introduced the boots without buttons, laces or heels. The idea of making this simple patent was to introduce comfort into shoes in 1840. After that, boots became so popular that you often see them even in retro photos.

    Eerste dameslaarzen

    8. Neil Armstrong's boots are still on the moon

    "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" is one of the most famous statements in the history of mankind. The pair of shoes used to take this famous step is still on the moon! Why? To keep the weight down!

    Neil Armstrong boots

    9. Before the 19 century, we didn't have left and right shoes

    Children still sometimes mistake left or right shoes. Did you know that shoes have only had a left and a right version since the 19th century? Before that time, shoes were made to fit each foot. So making a mistake was impossible!

    Left shoe right shoe

    10. The biggest worn shoe ever? Size 71 please!

    The largest shoe size ever belonged to Robert Wadlow. At 2.72 m, he was the largest human ever to walk our planet. He had no less than shoe size 71!

    Robert Wadlow schoenen

    11. An extra fact: Shoes & Bags Open Days is the place to be for all your shoes & bags inspiration!

    Indeed, this is perhaps the truest fact of all! That's why we'd love to see you at our shoes & bags open days!

    During the shoes & bags Open Days you can purchase your collections for spring-summer 2022 from well-known and new brands. You will also discover a range of pop-up exhibitors. So don't miss this voyage of inspiration with about 550 brands.

    Discover Shoes & Bags Open Days here!
    Shoes & Bags Open Days