* Stone Age * Until about 3000 B.C.
In the earliest times people went barefoot, a custom that continued for centuries, especially in warm regions and indoors. The first foot coverings were probably animal skins, which people of the Stone Age tied around their ankles in cold weather. Cave paintings dated between 15000 and 12000 B.C., found in Spain and France, show that cave dwellers tied animal skin around their feet for protection during hunting, in battle and in cold weather. Animal skins were soaked in streaming water for several days. Remaining fat and scraps of meat were scraped off and the hide was airdried in cool wind. Fresh animal brains were used to rub fat in the non-hair side to supple it. The hide was cut with sharp stones or the horn of deer antlers and tied with ropes of animal hair, grass or strands of animal hide.