From discovery.com: Earliest Shoe-Wearers Revealed by Toe Bones.
People started wearing shoes around 40,000 years ago, according to a study on recently excavated small toe bones that belonged to an individual from China who apparently loved shoes.
Most footwear erodes over time. The earliest known shoes, rope sandals that attached to the feet with string, date to only around 10,000 B.C. For the new study, the clues were in middle toe bones that change during an individual’s lifetime if the person wears shoes a lot.
“When you walk barefoot, your middle toes curl into the ground to give you traction as you push off,” explained co-author Erik Trinkaus, who worked on the study with Hong Shang.
“If you regularly wear Nikes, moccasins or any other type of shoe, you actually wind up pushing off with your big toe, with less force going through the middle toes,” added Trinkaus, a Washington University anthropologist who is one of the world’s leading experts on early human evolution.
Small toe bones are [continue]