Before you go surfing in search of a new pair of leather boots for the coming autumn and winter, did you ever stop to think about their history? There is evidence that primitive northern races began using foot protection over 50,000 years ago. However, this footwear was fairly rudimentary and was designed purely to form a barrier between feet and snow. A case in point of necessity being the mother of invention. Perhaps because of the sunnier climes involved, sandals turned up in the Middle East around 20,000 years later and the oldest intact footwear on record is a pair of sandals originating from California.
By comparison, boots are a positively modern innovation and they have been protecting our feet for around five thousand years or so. When they originated in the early days, they were fairly basic and most likely comprised a separate sole, upper and leg covering in order to afford more effective warmth and protection. They would have been tied or strapped to the foot in a fairly primitive fashion.
Boots as we know them turned up around a thousand years ago, worn by nomadic tribes and the native Inuit and Aleut people of Alaska. These were a much more sophisticated mode of footwear and were made from the skins of caribou and seal, adorned with fur of wolf and hair of dog.
As the centuries wore on, leather boots became rather more refined, sporting lace ups and separate heels. In addition, they became more fashionable and new styles began to emerge, although these styles had their roots firmly in practicality. Many military styles developed and the Russian Army continues to wear knee-length boots. Long boots were worn in the American Revolution and these became the forerunners of today’s modern cowboy boots.
There are hundreds of versions of boots available today, including Dealers (also often known as Chelsea boots). These originated in Victorian England and were often worn for riding. They remain a popular choice as they are stylish, comfortable and easy to pull off and on. The new UGG Mens Leather boots collection includes the Herrick which is a more rugged version that combines style, comfort and protection.
Many boots today owe more than a passing nod to the Inuit footwear from centuries ago. Vintage styling fused with the best of modern technology for breathability and protection against water damage is at the forefront of men’s style and is seen across many big designers, both high fashion and high street.
Combat, jump or paratrooper boots are a popular look with steel toe-caps, and hook and eye lacings. It is possible to get hold of original vintage boots from army surplus stores. But if you prefer your footwear to be modern and new, brands such as UGG boots combine the classic military look with high-tech materials to ensure good-looking boots that are hard working too.
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