Footwear consists of garments worn on the feet, for fashion, protection against the environment, and adornment. Being barefoot is commonly associated with poverty, but some cultures chose not to wear footwear at least in some situations.
Socks and other hosiery are usually worn between the feet and other footwear, less often with sandals and flip flops (thongs). Footwear is sometimes associated with fetishism, particularly in some fashions in shoes, including boots.
Durable shoes are a relatively recent invention, though many ancient civilizations wore ornamental footwear. Many ancient civilizations saw no need for footwear. The Romans saw clothing and footwear as signs of power and status in society, and most Romans wore footwear, while slaves and peasants remained barefoot. The Middle Ages saw the rise of high-heeled shoes, also associated with power, and the desire to look larger than life, and artwork often depicted someone barefoot as a symbol of poverty. Bare feet are also seen as a sign of humility and respect, and adherents of many religions worship or mourn barefoot, or remove their shoes as a sign of respect towards someone of higher standing.
In some cultures, it is customary for people to remove their shoes before entering a home, and some religious communities require shoes to be removed before entering a building which they regard as holy, such as a temple.
Practitioners of the craft of shoemaking are called shoemakers, cobblers or cordwainers.
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