Cardboard Shoes

I am old enough to remember when cardboard was the core of almost all shoes. Shoes before about 1981 might be leather or canvas or something that looked impressive on top, and rubber or another durable material on the bottom, but there was cardboard hidden inside. The piece that held it all together, the midsole, was a heavy, stiff piece of cardboard. Needless to say, those shoes didn’t last very long by today’s standards. Taking the cardboard out of shoes was Nike’s claim to fame in 1978, and within ten years, the entire industry had switched to more durable materials. Now most people would think it strange to use cardboard as one of the building blocks of a shoe — though secretly, there are still shoes made with cordboard at the core.

I think it’s time for cardboard to make a comeback in shoes, but this time, without the use of other materials to make the shoe look more impressive than it is. Paper fiber technology has improved enough that you could now make an entire fair-weather shoe out of cardboard.

Shoes made from cardboard might not be the most comfortable, practical, or durable, and they still wouldn’t stand up to a puddle very well, but they could be pretty cheap. I’m not sure exactly when you’d use them, but there is a place for cardboard shoes, I feel sure of that.

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