I’m not a “shoe” girl but OOOH LOOK! SHINY!!!
I can wear a pair of flats until the soles have fallen off and the uppers have nearly dissolved into a pile of fabric, thread and holey seams. I don’t pick shoes to match my outfit or my mood; I pick shoes to put on my feet that will get me from point A to point B.
I used to have heels, ballet flats, strappy sandals, flip flops, slippers, mules, mary janes, Docs, Crocs, tennis shoes, deck shoes, running shoes, hiking boots and a whole load of “fun” shoes (read: they look really fun, but should be worn for only 12 minutes at a time). When you move from house to house and pack up the vital things first and the “fun” things second, you start to prioritize what you really need to unpack. Needless to say, most of those shoes have gone to die in a box labeled, “Holly’s Shoes”.
This got me thinking about shoes. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Shoes were originally worn to protect the foot from the ground.
As the earliest shoes were made out of organic materials, they would also biodegrade. Hence, the oldest “known” shoes are dated as being 8,000 years old. There could’ve been older ones, but if the T-Rex was sporting tennies, they disappeared a long time ago.
For thousands of years, shoes were still made for the primary purpose of foot protection. Different civilizations had different terrain, weather patterns and a variety of rigors of “necessity” demanded of their design.
Before the 1850’s there were no LEFT or RIGHT shoes. They were just SHOES.
Only in the last 100 years (of all civilizations of humanity) have shoes made the jump from protection to performance. We started seeing not only a variety of activity-specific shoes, but saw revisions and adaptations of those shoes as they were further honed for their specific need.
For basketball players
Did you know that basketball shoes were first thought of in 1907? Converse “Chuck Taylor All Stars” were the first b-ball shoes developed specifically for the courts, in the 1920’s. They were the first to pilot a “high top” or ankle supported sneaker in the 1930’s. For over 50 years, they were THE shoe of basketball. They were the official shoe of the Olympics from 1936 until 1968.
Ask any kid now what is a basketball shoe and they think “Nike”. Nike came along in the 70’s and soon other sneaker companies were jumping on board with the advanced “style” of the modern b-ball shoe.
To this day, only the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars have been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
In fact, it doesn’t matter if you walk, hike, run, sprint, climb, bike, swim, lounge, stroll, garden or dance. There is a shoe for you.
As my closet filled to the brim, I had to ask myself: what do I have all these shoes for? What style of movement am I doing that establishes the shoes I “need” apart from the shoes I “like having”.
Usually it’s two things: What type of activity am I doing? How do those shoes fit for that activity?
When we try on shoes we are usually thinking, “Where would I use these shoes?” and then “Would they be comfortable for where I intend to use them?” Some heels are “OMG! SO, so, so, so, soooooo cute on you!” and you can walk exactly 15 feet in them before you start to question your life choices. Some shoes are so boring and ugly, but they feel like heaven. Unfortunately, my office frowns upon the wearing of bunny slippers to work.
Please keep in mind that your horse's hoof wear has advanced from protection to performance as well. Back in the day they were either unshod or shod. That's like saying you can either be barefoot or wear clogs. Your horse now has a variety of “shoes” to pick from as well. This is what my horse's shoe closet would look like.
Whether you ride bareback, saddled, professionally or for fun, you can gauge what type of “sneaker” support your athlete will prefer best.
Is your horse on a frequent trimming cycle? Does your riding style and terrain dictate a snug fit? Maybe the Easyboot Glove family of boots is right for you. The Glue On shells, the Glove and the Glove Back Country all have the same “sole” and fit.
I have a client in Switzerland who had two foundered horses. All 8 feet were booted to go on their daily walks. She was taking them on 3 walks a day. That’s a lot of booting time. Clean out 8 hooves, boot 8 hooves, walk, unboot 8 hooves and turn the horses out. Do that 3x a day. When we came out with the EasyShoes, it was a hallelujah for her. She didn’t want her horses shod in metal, but she knew the limitations of her sanity in booting and rebooting 3xs a day. That’s 24 boot applications and removals a day! The EasyShoes allowed the function of hoof while being "permanently on" so she had more time for walking.
We have quite a few boot styles and, while I could go into every one of them it's like being asked to “organize” the shoes in your closet: that could go 50 different ways. Should I do them by fashion to function? Should I do them by color? How about by comfort? What about by activity level? Maybe I’ll do them by work and fun. Just like with our boots, there are a variety of ways to “start” thinking with which boots or shoes will work best. If you want to talk to a pro, give us a jingle and they will assess which type of footwear you should be looking at.
Or, just like me, your horse might find that it wants a pair of each in its closet ;)
Director of Sales
Through a lifetime of "horse crazy" and the fortunate experience of riding nearly every shape and size of horse, I got to see a wide array of hoof shapes and sizes. No Hoof, No Horse is very true to me. I want to ensure that horses on every continent have a variety of footwear to pick from, to ensure the best match is found. I want your partner to be happy from the ground up!