Shoes are an important piece of footwear designed to protect, comfort the feet. Shoes were traditionally used as a functional piece of dress-up and ornament, with original design often being linked to function alone. Modern shoe design has increasingly included fashion as a more important factor in shoe design. But what exactly is behind the design of shoes?
There are five senses that we can use to describe how our feet feel – they are the sense of touch, the sense of sight, the sense of smell and the last is the sense of hearing. The sense of touch is through touch. This is actually the only sense that we can use when we are walking. So, walking or running we are actually doing two things at once, that is, we are simultaneously touching our feet and walking. The reason why shoes are designed to do this is to provide a friction or balance to the movement of the foot and ankle.
To understand why shoes are designed around the soles we need to look at the anatomy of the foot. In the case of humans the five toes of the foot have three bones, which are made up of the metatarsal bone, then the plantar fascia and finally the toe plate, and are connected to the bones by the nerves. The sole of the foot is made up of the heel bone and the toes themselves. There is a band of bone at the end of the foot, which joins the upper and lower parts of the foot, and is called the extensor ligament. All of these parts make up the main structure of the human foot, and all of them need to move in unison in order to make the full range of human movement possible.
Shoe designers usually work within a number of different design limitations. First of all they have to consider the fact that the feet are naturally going to be different sizes to each other. Because of this many shoe manufacturers have adopted a ‘normal’ size for everyone. They also have to make shoes very differently for people with flat feet, or high arches, than they do for those people who have normal foot anatomy. This is why there are many different kinds of insole available, even within the same type of shoe, as the arches in your foot can cause the insole to curve upwards slightly.
The other limitations to shoe design is because human feet are naturally much lighter than they are wide, meaning that footwear needs to be much wider than it would be otherwise. In addition to this human feet are much more complex than a machine’s foot, requiring cushioning along the sides and heel to reduce the shock to the joints and shock absorption along the front. All of these things mean that shoe designers need to think hard about how a shoe can optimally work with the shape and size of a person’s foot. The general consensus is that the best compromise is a flexible yet rigid outsole, which can take the stress of a foot but still allow it to bend and flex without causing any damage.
As, well as the insole there are two other critical parts to a shoe, the upper and the outsoles. The upper is usually made from leather or some similar material and has to provide good rigidity and strength to the upper body. The outcomes, which sit on the bottom of the shoe, need to be able to absorb shock and give the ankle support and stability. All in all the shoes are built to last for many years if they are properly cared for, which is why many professionals prefer to wear SHOES rather than other forms of footwear.