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History of the Combat Boot

words | Jennifer O'Bannon

From battlefields to runways, the combat boot has made quite the journey throughout history. The first known to wear combat boots were the foot soldiers of the Assyrians, who wore hobnail boots called Caligae. The boot was originally known as “hobnail combat boot” because it was made with hobnails, which were short nails with thick heads. The durable hobnail was incorporated into the boot’s design so that it would be easier for soldiers to travel through any type of environment. Interesting note, these boots had no left or right shoe! They were expected to conform to the soldier’s feet. Bad idea.During World War II, the US combat boots was double buckled until 1948. Then the Vietnam War, 1955-1975, found the need for the lace up combat boots which were made specifically for jungle warfare. Combat boots had not only become common place among military, but also were slowly becoming a staple shoe with fashionistas throughout the world.

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Fast forward to the ‘80s, combat boots had a new group of people looking to buy the outside of the military. With the invasion of the goth, punk, and industrial kids, combat boots became much more mainstream. They became a fashion statement for a large population of American youth. By the late 1980s, the more famously noted Dr. Martens (Doc Martens) boots were popular with punk rockers, new wave musicians, and urban street styles.

Today, almost every fashion conscious individual has a pair of these edgy boots in her stash. The combat boot trend has managed to be successful in capturing the attention of all walks of style - with denim and flannel for the tomboy, leather jacket and lace pencil skirt for the chic and a floral cotton maxi dress for the boho festival goer. Some hard core lovers of combat boots want the real deal which creates an authentic and vintage vibe and can only find their fix at military surplus stores. But fret not, many designers have adopted the combat boot in their fashion lines. Whether straight from military surplus stores or designer showrooms, the combat boot seems to be here to stay!


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History of the Mary Jane

words | Jennifer O'Bannon

The Mary Jane shoe is a closed-toe, low-cut shoe with a strap that runs across the bridge of the foot. The shoe was made popular by a comic strip called Buster Brown, and was featured in ads for the Brown Shoe Company. A majority of dolls still sport the Mary Jane shoe to this day! Although historically this style of shoe was worn by children, today a Mary Jane can be worn by women of all ages. Throughout the years, the timeless shoe has remained true to the original design.


Designer Mary Quant pushed the look in her fashion during the Sixties with model Twiggy’s big-eyed young girl appearance. Courreges, Yves Saint Laurent and Dior featured the style in their collections, often in patent leather with low, solid heels and tapering toes.

Fast forward to the Nineties as worn by Courtney Love. To date, Narciso Rodriguez, Marc Jacobs and Comme Des Garcons, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo have introduced the classic Mary Jane in their design collections. 



History of the Oxford Shoe

words | Jennifer O'Bannon

photography | Isaac Bailey

Women's oxford shoes are back in trend! This classic shoe dates all the way back to the early nineteenth century. Originally a men's footwear style, women's oxfords have gained immense popularity since the 1920's, especially in the 1940's through 1950's.

Oxford Shoe

The first time oxfords appeared was in Scotland and Ireland. They were first called Balmorals after Balmoral Castle. Later the name was changed to oxfords after many students started wearing the practical shoe at Oxford University. This shoe style didn't start showing up in the United States until the 1800's.

Oxfords were derived from the Oxonian, a half-boot with side slits. The half-boots were shortened into a more practical shoe for a good reason. Students at Oxford University mainly wore boots at the time. This new shoe style gave students versatility and comfort. The old style boots were very constricting, not to mention boring. Women's oxfords were a step in the right direction in fashion for more choices in women's shoes.


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The Gladiator Sandal

photography |  Isaac Bailey

styling | Jennifer O’Bannon

This stylish sandal has been trend heavy, but is hanging on into each summer season. Introduced as an accessory accent to Paco Rabanne’s futuristic fashion in 1968. The real beginning was to protect the feet of the Roman Gladiators in competition. Sandals were commonly worn in the warm weather areas around the Mediterranean. Mostly made of leather, this is believed to be the first structured shoe. It was originally made by attaching a stiff leather sole to the foot, then lacing up the calf.

Gladiator Sandal.jpeg

Gladiator Sandal.jpeg

The History of the Flip-Flop

words | Jennifer O'Bannon

Thong-style sandals - flip-flops as we call them now - have existed for thousands of years. Pictures of them are found in ancient Egyptian murals dating back to 4,000 BC, and a pair was discovered in Europe made of papyrus leaves and estimated to be about 1,500 years old! The first flip-flop "off the line" designs were made from a wild array of materials. Ancient Egyptian sandals were fabricated from papyrus and palm leaves, the Masai of Africa made them out of rawhide, Indea saw them made of wood, and China and Japan constructed them from rice straw. The leaves of the sisal plant were used to make twine for the sandals in South America, and the natives of Medico used the convenient yucca plant.

 39643552 - row of multicolor flip flops on beach against blue sky

By the 1950s, pop culture was flipping out (lol, pun intended) for these sandals. A rubber redesign evolved, as well as the usage of bright colors to reflect trending design at the time. Flip-flops became wildly popular due to their simplicity and comfort factor.

The actual name flip-flop has been going strong in British and American English since the 70’s. Needless to say, this name comes from the funky (or annoying) sound made when walking while wearing. However, found on beaches throughout the world, this famous footwear is also referred to by a variety of names. They are called thongs in Australia, jandals in New Zealand, slops in South Africa, chinelos in Brazil and slippers in Hawaii. In parts of India, flip-flops are commonly known as hawai chappal because they allow for quick removal upon entry to home and temples. The Japanese wear their flip-flops traditionally designed as straw sandals called zori. While popular in Poland as japonki, and interestingly infradito in Italy. Can we say 'peace out' in 20 languages?

We can clearly see why they are popular in seaside stores and as basic summer shoes. In for the long-run, we find these sandals propped up and flopped out by some of our fave designers including Tory Birch, Michael Kors as well as Mui Mei and even Chanel for fancier affairs! Legit mass global love. 



 39643552 - row of multicolor flip flops on beach against blue sky