12 Facts About Shoes You Didn't Know—Until Now

If you’ve ever learned about the high heels that Louis XIV donned in the halls of Versailles or how the iconic red sole of Christian Louboutin’s shoes came to be, then you already know that shoes have a long, vast (and surprising) history. To show you just what we mean, we rounded up some of the most interesting facts about shoes that were simply too good not to share.

From what it means when you dream about a stylish set of pumps (and really, who doesn't?) and the cost of the most expensive shoes ever sold to the origin of wedges and shoe sizes, this particular fashion category comes with tons of fun facts worth keeping in your back pocket. Whether they come up at your next trivia night or you’re looking for a unique conversation starter, you won’t regret having these top of mind.

Scroll down to see 12 intriguing facts about shoes below, and then, while you’re at it, shop for your next favorite pair, too.

1. Sneaking around and sneakers go hand in hand.

According to The New York Times, in the late 1800s, people started using the word sneakers because the rubber sole allowed you to “sneak” around without making a sound. 

2. Shoe sizes began with barleycorn.

White ankle boots



In the early 1300s, Britain established the first means to measure shoe size. King Edward II declared barleycorn as the basis for shoe measurement. He ruled that the length of three barleycorns were equivalent to one inch, making this the standard for sizing. 

3. Men were the first to wear heels.

Black boots



For centuries, heels signified a high social standing rather than gender. It was also crucial for men riding horses to have a heel on their boot in order to stay in their stirrups. 

4. U.S. women own an average of 19 pairs of shoes.

White T-strap sandals



According to this study, the average American woman has at least 19 pairs of shoes in their closet. How many do you own?

5. The most expensive shoes ever sold for $660,000.

Dorothy’s iconic ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz naturally and rightfully so earn this top spot. The original pair sold at an auction in 2000. 

6. The first pair of right- and left-footed shoes was made in Philadelphia.

Ouch—can you image the pain before this brilliant modification? 

7. Through an experiment, wedge shoes were invented.

Rhinestone pumps



Due to the trade close Italy experienced in the 1940s, steel was no longer available, so designer Salvatore Ferragamo experimented with new materials, thus creating wedge shoes. 

8. Your shoe addiction can be explained by science.

Yes, buying those heels is totally justified. According to Suzanne Ferriss, Ph.D., editor of the book Footnotes: On Shoes, shoes are a collector's item, which means that buying a new pair stimulates a specific area in your brain's prefrontal cortex.

9. Shoe dreams can represent your approach to life.

Bright orange shoes



Apparently, dreaming about shoes can signify whether you’re feeling well-grounded, or may indicate your level of self-esteem. Interesting, right? For more details about shoe dreams, head here

10. The first women's boots were created for Queen Victoria in 1837.

According to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, shoemaker Joseph Sparkes-Hall created elastic-sided boots for the queen to slip on and off. The style evolved into what is known today as Chelsea boots. More than a century later, women still love the versatile style

11. Jimmy Choo constructed his first pair of shoes at age 11.

Gold Jimmy Choo heels



Talk about a go-getter! Head here to shop Jimmy Choo’s best sellers! 

12. Carrie Bradshaw's infamous shoe collection is estimated to cost more than $40,000.

Strappy white sandals



If we had to ballpark it, we would have guessed way higher, but this article reveals the real cost of Bradshaw’s beloved shoe collection. 

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