10 Legendary Shoes That Made History

Published on March 21, 2024

Credit: Martin Adams

Literally anchoring us firmly to the ground, footwear has always been important in shaping culture and society. From ancient civilizations to modern fashion runways, shoes not only helped humanity reach further horizons but also became symbols of wealth, empowerment, or hipness.

Join us as we walk through the annals of time to explore 10 pairs of shoes that made a lasting imprint on the world.


The Oldest Shoe Ever Found

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In 2008, archaeologists made a remarkable discovery in a cave in Armenia—the Areni-1 shoe, dating back to around 3500 BCE. Crafted from only one piece of leather hide and laced on the top with leather straps, this ancient footwear provides a window into the lives of our distant ancestors. Even more surprisingly, its manufacture is very similar to that of the traditional shoes used today in the Balkans in some festivities!


The Converse All-Stars

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Also known as the Chuck Taylor All-Stars, the iconic sneakers were first introduced in 1917, intended as a basketball shoe that would provide more flexibility and prevent blisters. In 1922, American basketball legend Chuck Taylor approached Converse and offered to redesign the shoe to improve its support and flexibility for professional players. The gamble turned out great, and by the 1960s, the company had captured almost 80% of the basketball shoe market.


The Stiletto Heel

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Named after an Italian dagger for their thin high heels, stilettos took the fashion world by storm after being popularized by French designers Roger Vivier and André Perugia in the 1950s. Afterward, their popularity endured, standing the test of time. With its slender design, the stiletto became synonymous with power, sophistication, and high fashion, coveted by celebrities and fashion icons worldwide.


Air Jordans

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Nike's Air Jordan sneakers were initially made for basketball legend Michael Jordan in 1984, during his time with the Chicago Bulls. Released to the public a year later, they forever changed the landscape of athletic footwear. Combining cutting-edge technology with street-style aesthetics, Air Jordans became a cultural phenomenon, even luring collectors worldwide into acquiring special editions of the sneakers.

The league's rules stated that shoes had to be at least 51% white, so the NBA fined Michael Jordan $5,000 every time he wore his Air Jordan shoes during their debut year. Nike capitalized on this, allegedly paying the fines for Mike and using the ban as the basis for a marketing campaign. The rest, as they say, is history.


The Dr. Martens Boot

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Originally designed for workers in the late 1940s, Dr. Martens boots surprisingly evolved into a symbol of counterculture and rebellion, becoming strongly associated with the punk subculture. Over the years, the sturdy boots have garnered a cult following that transcends genres and fashion styles, with some notable customers including Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama.


The Platform Shoe

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Present in many cultures since ancient times, platform shoes were often designed simply to keep wearers’ feet dry in soggy ground or mud. In some cases, they were used by performers to stand out better during plays. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that this type of footwear reached worldwide popularity, when they were embraced by disco culture and worn by both men and women.


Wooden Clogs

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Originally worn by workers in rural Europe, clogs have evolved from humble footwear to cultural icons. Built from a single piece of wood, these sturdy yet functional shoes are as good for farm work as they are for making bold fashion statements. Many makers continue to use the same traditions and craftsmanship of countless past generations, linking past and present through their iconic frame.


The Pointe Shoe

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A staple of classical ballet, the pointe shoe symbolizes grace, strength, and discipline. Designed to support dancers when performing pointe work (standing on the tips of their toes), these iconic shoes have been perfected over centuries, allowing ballerinas to defy gravity for longer and effortlessly move with elegance in complex choreographies.


The Espadrille

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Originating from the Pyrenees in the 14th century, espadrilles have stood the test of time as a versatile and comfortable footwear option. With their distinctive jute soles and canvas upper, espadrilles are not only functional but can also be quite sophisticated. This deceptively simple footwear was loved by the likes of Picasso, John F. Kennedy, and Yves Saint Laurent.



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Whether you love them or not, Crocs have become a popular choice in casual footwear since their introduction in 2002. Inspired by traditional wooden clogs and known for their lightweight design and iconic perforated holes, Crocs are made with comfort and practicality in mind. Though most people disliked their appearance at first, they eventually garnered a dedicated following, even drawing many celebrities to the fandom.


Sing Along These 10 Expressions With Musical Origins!

Published on March 21, 2024

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Music is truly an essential part of our daily lives. Think about that amazing playlist that helps you get to work, or that soundtrack that gives you goosebumps when you watch your favorite movie. You don’t really need to go far to find a way in which music impacts your life. In fact, can you do the exact opposite? Can you think back to a time when music wasn’t there for you? Probably not.

Music influences almost every single aspect of our modern world, and our language is no exception. We have gathered ten of our favorite musical terms that have found their way into becoming everyday words.

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We are starting this list with a rather well-known word. The word "gig" refers to a job, usually a single-time event for which a musician or performer receives payment. Nowadays, the word is not only limited to the world of music: the phrase "gig economy" is commonly used by economists to refer to a labor market heavily influenced by freelance and part-time jobs.

The first use of this word comes from the Roaring Twenties and the world of jazz, used to refer to clubs and spots where bands would regularly play. However, should you check in a dictionary, you would find at least three more definitions for "gig", including a two-wheeled carriage, a fast and narrow boat, and a fishing device similar to a harpoon.



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Picture a sappy soap opera that maybe turned into somewhat of a guilty pleasure, or on a throw pillow filled with flowers sewn by your grandma. The word schmaltz, meaning something extremely sentimental or florid, could be used to describe these things.

Curiously, schmaltz comes from shmalts, the Yiddish word for clarified fat, a common ingredient in traditional Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. The word found its way into the English language in the 1930s. It was first used by musicians and journalists to refer to music "thickened" with over-sentimentality.


Toot Your Own Horn

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We have all done this, from the fresh-faced intern trying to impress his unmoving boss, to a five-year-old yelling, "Look how fast I can run!" The idiom "to toot your own horn" speaks about humankind’s need to be liked, which inexplicably drives us to speak boastfully about ourselves.

Before this idiom took the form we know now, it was phrased as "blow your own trumpet", and its first use comes from the King James Bible. Historians believe that the trumpet in the saying was blown to indicate the arrival of royalty with a fanfare of horns. In the United States, the phrase became popular after it was used in the letters between John Adams and James Warren.



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The adjective "far-out" describes something excellent or unconventional. Most of the time, it is used for something truly groundbreaking that encompasses both meanings. The first recorded use of this word comes from the 1950s, in journalistic pieces related to daring jazz musicians. These magazines tried to include the new lexicon used by the jazz world and made words like "cats" and "far-out" available to the general public.

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Fit as a fiddle

We all wish that old age finds us "fit as a fiddle": energetic, robust, and in good health. We marvel at the inexplicable vigor that a senior relative of ours seems to pull out of thin air, but have you ever stopped to consider what that expression actually means?

We all know that fiddle is another word for violin, but what does this four-string instrument have to do with good health? Well, the explanation comes from a change of meaning in the word "fit." Variants of this phrase can be traced back to the 17th century when the word "fit" meant "suitable" or "fit to be used."



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You might be surprised to learn that a word you probably used as a kid to describe how you felt about broccoli comes from jazz music. Used both as an adjective and as a noun, "icky" was used by jazz aficionados to describe sentimental or sappy pieces, while an icky person was someone with controversial taste in music. Over time, the word evolved to include everything that we consider disgusting or offensive.


It Takes Two to Tango

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This idiom might transport you to the warm and dazzling streets of Buenos Aires. You might even hear the music that carries both you and the dance partner of your choosing through the synchronized beauty that is tango. While this is truly a pleasant image, it is worth mentioning that this idiom is used to convey a feeling of responsibility: like in tango, both parties are equally responsible for the outcome of a situation.

The arrival of this idiom to the United States can be traced back to the 1952 song "Takes Two to Tango", made famous by American actress and singer Pearl Bailey. Thirty years later, President Ronald Reagan brought the phrase back into the spotlight after a news conference in which he used the idiom to refer to American-Russian relations.


Face the Music

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Confronted by a broken vase or window while you were a kid, you might have been advised by a sibling to "face the music" and confess to your parents about this mishap. This idiom means accepting the consequences of your actions, and its origins are still disputed. The most accepted theory believes that it comes from the theater, particularly from New England actors during the 19th century. These actors would face the orchestral pit while performing: facing the music (and the audience) could be interpreted as a way to describe stage fright.


Pull Out All the Stops

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This idiom, which means to overdo something or to spare no expense, doesn’t really seem to come from the musical world. The image it brings to mind seems closer to a speeding car and overlooked stop signs, so you might be surprised to learn that this phrase comes from pipe organs. The stops in question are in fact a series of knobs that control the volume of an organ. Therefore, pulling all the stops would raise the instrument to maximum volume, and produce a powerful blast of sound.



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A square person is, to put it simply, someone boring: A square might dress conservatively, and have a conventional taste or demeanor. It was first used in the 1930s, as a derogatory term for those that don’t enjoy jazz music. More recently, the band Huey Lewis and the News brought this term back into fashion with their 1986 hit song "Hip to Be Square."

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