Chinese Casual Wear of Shoes and Socks (Ⅲ)

In addition to shoes, boots were also popular with ancient Chinese. Boots were mainly made of leather with the length above ankles. It was time-honored for ancient people to wear leather-made shoes. It was dated back to pre-Qin period when northern ethnic minorities wore leather shoes to keep warm. In Han Dynasty (206B.C.-220A.D.), the majority of soldiers wore boots when they matched. Boots became popular from Sui and Tang Dynasties (581-907) which were used as officials’ informal wear. Except on the certain occasions such as sacrificial offering ceremonies, celebrations and major events at the court, form the emperor down to the officials all wore boots in accordance with the current fashion. Boots of Tang Dynasty (618-907) were made of dyed black leather and sewn the varied sizes together. From Song to Ming Dynasties (960-1644), boots kept the design of previous dynasties and they were used as formal wear or court costume. It lasted to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when all officials wore boots while it’s rare to see among ordinary people.

Socks were referred to as “clothes for feet” or “bag for feet”. Socks were made of animal skins in early times. Later socks were mainly woven by various cloth or silk thread. Wearing socks was not common in ancient times. Only those who came from wealthy families or official families wore socks, thus wearing socks was a sort of status symbol.

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Gauze-woven socks
Gauze-woven socks are soft and light so they are mainly used in spring and summer. They have been popular since Han Dynasty (206B.C.-A.D.).

Leather boots
They are made of oxhide. Upper of the boots reaches to crus with an opening, tying it with strips of leather. After Warring States Period, both men and women can wear the boots, prevailing in the ethnic minorities of the western regions.

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