A shoe is a type of footwear that covers and protects the feet. Shoes are usually made of sturdy materials such as leather or fabric, and may be decorated with ornamentation or other design elements. Shoes can be worn as a fashion item or for practical reasons, such as protecting the feet from rough surfaces or inclement weather. Shoes are also a necessity for many occupations, and may be designed to improve performance or safety.
Historically, the shoemaking industry was a handicraft. By the 19th century, shoemaking had largely migrated to factories and was increasingly mechanized. Early factory shoes largely followed the same general design as one another, and were manufactured using a last, a general model of a human foot. The most common lasts are straight or curved, with the latter being more rounded overall. Shoemakers often kept secret the exact measurements of their clients’ feet, to help assure continued business.
When choosing a shoe, it is important to choose a style that suits your lifestyle and clothing. Stylish sneakers can be worn with casual outfits while loafers are appropriate for office wear. Shoes that are too narrow can cause discomfort and may contribute to hammertoes, bunions, and calluses. Shoes that are too large can also be uncomfortable, causing blisters and friction and making it difficult to walk properly.
There are many types of shoes available, with the most popular being sneakers and oxfords. Each style has its own unique features, but all are designed to provide support and comfort for the feet. Shoes can also keep the feet warm, especially in colder climates, and can help prevent a variety of health issues including frostbite and circulatory problems.