There are particular objects in our homes that, upon closer inspection, reveal all the fraught complexities of our global society. Shoes are among these objects. But while clothing and fashion are now firmly in the spotlight in terms of their ethical impact, shoes have been excused from this scrutiny.

Created 40,000 years ago to aid our passage through wild landscapes, shoes have witnessed the best and worst of humanity. Once a simple foot covering made by village shoemakers, they are now complex industrial objects made primarily on Global South production lines at a rate of 66.3 million ...


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