Reading, 23

You are going to read a magazine article about shoes. Choose from the list A-I the heading which best summarises each part (1-7) of the article. There is one extra heading which you do not need to use. There is an example at the beginning (0).

A Shoe designs are simple

B Right and left

C Some feet are bigger than others

D Function turns to fashion

E Expensive shoes are not always the best

F Women like to look taller

G Shoes sheltered the feet

H Factories take over production

I Know your history



0:    I 

If you perform pedicures on your clients’ feet, they will probably ask you about shoes. By understanding the history of shoes, the basics of shoe fitting, and the mechanics of shoe wear, you will be able knowledgeably to counsel your clients on how to choose the right footwear.


It is thought that the first shoes were worn more than 12,000 years ago by our ancestors who lived in a colder climate. These first shoes were probably an early version of moccasin made of leather and lined with fur or grass for insulation. They were to protect the foot more from the cold than from the harsh terrain.

2: ______

Sandals appear to be the next development in foot coverings. Drawings dating back to 6000-9000 BC show craftsmen constructing this type of ‘shoe’. The earliest existing example is an Egyptian sandal dating back to 2000 BC From this simple design the Egyptians and Mesopotamians introduced fashion by adding colour ornamentation, and different shapes to their sandals.

3: ______

All footwear fashions come from only seven basic designs. The newest of these designs, the laced oxford, dates back 300 years! And not one of these basic designs was created by or for women. Up until about 70 years ago, when shoes became more affordable and available to the masses because of mass production, only about 10 per cent of the population even wore shoes.

4: ____

In the 16th century the ‘high heel’ shoe was introduced into women’s fashion. It is recorded that Catherine de Medici, a 17-year-old Italian, was sent to marry King Henry II of France. Because of her short stature, she wore shoes with 2- to 3-inch heels. High heels became the rage of Europe, to the point that the church clergy branded them ‘devices of Satan to stir the lusts of men’.

5: ______

Early 19th-century America gave the world three great innovations in footwear construction and fit. Until then, all shoes were made from straight moulds, which meant the shoe could be worn on either foot. The idea of a left shoe and a right shoe was first introduced in 1824 but was rejected by the public because the shoes looked ‘crooked’. It was not until around 1900 that left and right shoes gained a firm foothold in the commercial marketplace.

6: _______

The second thing that revolutionised shoe manufacturing was Elias Howe’s invention of the sewing machine in 1845. This allowed the upper pieces of the shoe to be sewn by machine instead of by hand. The McKay sewing machine was then developed to stitch the sole to the upper pieces. This allowed mass production of footwear, making shoes affordable to the general population.

7: ______

The third innovation was the first common-sense system of shoe sizing, put forth by Edwin B. Simpson of New York in 1886. Until this time, shoes were generally available in only two sizes: large and small, fat and slim, or men’s and women’s. Simpson’s system of progressive measurements applied separately to men’s, women’s, children’s, and infants’ shoes. By the turn of the century this system finally gave the world uniformity in shoe sizing.

Check your answers here


2 Responses to “Reading, 23”

  1. FlekIroffror Says:

    Tahnks for posting

  2. Reen Says:

    hi, is this reading (23) in some books for fce??? thanks

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