One of the first things Eve must have said to Adam as they trudged wearily out of Eden was, “Ouch, my feet hurt!” Adam’s probably started to carry his wife, but he would soon weary and suggest wrap-around footwear using nearby heavy palm leaves. “No,” Eve would say. “That shade of green would clash with my fig leaf outfit. We’ll keep looking. And I think you should cut down that apple tree over there and carve out some heels. Watch out for the serpent.”
Historians tell us we humans have been wearing some kind of shoes for about 7,000 years. I think it must have been farther back than that. Sure, archaeologists are finding remnants of pottery, weapons and other hardware in ancient ruins, but discarded worn out shoes would have turned to dust long before they started to dig. There’s an old pair of loafers in the back of my closet now that are beginning to resemble decomposing chipmunks.
I still have my very first pair of shoes and must admit they’re in perfect condition after more than 80 years, but that’s because my mother had them bronzed in 1940. I don’t think a Bronze Age mother in 3000 BC would have gone to that kind of expense and trouble even if bronze workers then were into the shoe-coating thing.
Many of us have an innate resentment of shoes. They’re often the first articles of clothing removed at the end of a work day and always with a sigh of relief. If you have a keen sense of smell, you’ve probably noticed a lot of shoes are removed by theater-goers as soon as the lights are dimmed even though their liberated tootsies might swell up during the show and no longer fit back into their wingtips and wedgies.
Little boys are probably the largest anti-shoe group. On the last day of school they look forward to a couple of carefree shoeless months. I know I did, but back in those nicotine days we boys had to be wary of discarded smoldering butts that turned sidewalks and park grounds into minefields for the barefooted. A cast-off glowing ten-cent corona once put me on Unguentine rehab for a month.