By Chinwe Uzoechi
The rains are on its peak once more and you might be pondering on how to look trendy and manageable in your shoes in the weather. It’s time to give your leather shoes a break and go for rubber-suede shoes. Interestingly, they are in vogue and you can get them at little or no cost.
Early rubber shoes
Early rubber sandals
Almost 3,000 years ago, Meso Americans, specifically the Aztec, Olmec and Maya people, were producing rubber from the sap of rubber trees and juice from morning glory vines. In addition to samples of the rubber material, archaeologists have found pictures of sandals with detachable soles and evidence that the Aztecs had a compound word that combined “rubber” and “sandals.”
However, Wait Webster created rubber soles and attached them to shoe and boot uppers in 1832. These were the first athletic shoes. But, the soles were so quiet; they were quickly adopted by burglars, earning them the name “sneakers.”
In 1839, Charles Goodyear developed the process of vulcanisation. By combining rubber and sulfur, Goodyear was able to keep the flexible properties of rubber that kept its shape in the presence of heat. This discovery allowed shoes to be made that would stand up to heat and pressure, making them more durable.
More so, while rubber shoes are generally thought of as athletic shoes, they are used in a variety of areas. Rubber boots have been keeping feet dry since 1856. The preferred footwear of electricians has been rubber since it is a non-conductive material.
Consequently, the importance of rubbers cannot be over-emphasized.
According to market study on synthetic rubber, global revenues are forecast to rise to US$56 billion in 2020.
Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, commonly used for jackets, shoes, shirts, purses, furniture and other items. The term comes from the French “gants de Suède”, which literally means “Swedish gloves.”
Suede leather is made from the underside of the skin, primarily lamb, although goat, calf and deer are commonly used. Splits from thick hides of cow and deer are also sueded, but, due to the fact that the fibre content, have a shaggy nap. Because suede does not include the tough exterior skin layer, suede is less durable but softer than standard (“full-grain”) leather. Its softness, thinness, and pliability make it suitable for clothing and delicate uses; suede was originally used for women’s gloves. Suede leather is also popular in upholstery, shoes, bags, and other accessories, and as a lining for other leather products. Due to its textured nature and open pores, suede may become dirty and quickly absorb liquids.
From a distance, you would mistaken it for a suede-leather shoe but a closer look at it would leave you fascinated on how man was able to re-model rubber and suede to such a beautiful piece.
Imagine a mixture of the two. It means one is left to savour all the goodness in it, like a case of using a stone to kill two birds. The shoes also come in different styles and are available for people of various sex and sizes men and women alike. Nneoma, a shoe dealer at the retail market in Berger area of Lagos, said that rubber-suede shoes are a mixture of rubber and suede. “It lasts very well,” he said. “You will wear it and get tired of it.” He said that it came into the market early this year and when it came, a pair of the shoes were sold for N1,800. He also noted that the he records more sales on rubber-suede shoes than on the leather shoes.
One of his customers, who gave her name as Blessing, confirmed the durability and the fashion-ability of the shoes. “I like it and it lasts,” she said. The woman also had a chat with some ladies to ascertain the durability and some other things about it.
Gift-it is comfortable to walk with and the good thing about rubber shoes is that it has many beautiful designs just like every other shoe; most times hardly can you differentiate it from leather shoes which make it unique. I like it sha.
Chika-Rubber shoes and flip flops are now in vogue. They make your feet look gorgeous as they come in funky colours, various patterns and different shapes. And to top it all, they are made of natural rubber which makes them environmentally friendly!
Roseline-It was amazing when I first met someone wearing rubber footwear. It was glittering/shining and sparkling; and it looked comfortable on any outfit. TBH, I never knew it was rubber at first sight, but a closer look and touch made me realise what fashion has turned the world into.
At celebrity occasions and hang-outs, that is what you see them put on presently because it’s currently in fashion,
In my own view, rubber footwear diminishes the quality of your outfit regardless of whatever you are wearing. Some rubber footwear ache peoples legs because the rubber material is thicker than the accustomed leather footwear we are used to.
Regardless of how sparkling it looks when we wear them for different occasions, I believe the rubber footwear should be relegated to house wears and be used mainly for house chores.
Linda-The rubber shoes are everywhere and it’s one of the reasons I don’t like them and would never wear them. I think it’s more appropriate indoor than outdoor though it might serve some purpose during rainy season and for those that like to wear flats to work and change to heels at the gate.
Ozii-It is better and safer to wear them on Nigerian streets and roads, especially in the floods. The funny thing is you will see many Nigerians removing them and walking barefoot in the rains. Rubber footwear should be good for the beaches, but you will also see many Nigerians going to the beach fully dressed.
FUNNY COUNTRY, FUNNY PEOPLE.
Kelechi-The good thing about this rubber shoes is that it’s very cheap and affordable and it comes in heels also so hardly can you not find your taste, I have like four different designs and I cherish them a lot, because rain bows to it (laughs).