Velcro, the first fabric-based hook-and-loop fastener ever to breach the public market was invented by an Electrical Engineer George do Mestral, of Switzerland, in 1948. It took him seven years to patent his technology as he continued to refine and development the uniquely practical manufacturing of the product until it became available in the commercial market in the late 1950’s. The name is taken from the French word velour and crochet. The first sample was made of cotton, which of course was quickly found to be quite impractical and soon replaced by a Nylon and polyester which are far more resilient.
There are, obviously, many practical ways that you could use Velcro. In fact, it is very common among military garments and equipment because of the expediency by which it operates. It is this expediency that was probably responsible for the development of Velcro footwear. By adding the fabric fastener to shoes, Velcro alters the experience of wearing them.
First of all, it is very common to find Velcro footwear for children. This is an obvious choice, as young children often take a while to learn how to tie their shoes. They have still yet to develop the manual dexterity needed to perform the task efficiently. Alternately, though, it is not difficult for anyway to pull the top strap of a Velcro fastener tightly and then press down. Because the Velcro fastener is so easy for children to use, it is very common to find children’s shoes sporting not only the hook-an-loop fasteners but also a variety of the most popular child icons from television programs.
It is also somewhat common to see Velcro footwear on shelves next to other athletic shoes. While the Velcro fabric alone is not necessarily good enough to withstand the demands placed on athletic equipment, it seems to be quite effective in helping shoelaces remain tied tightly. Together, then, both types of fasteners ensure that shoes fit properly and comfortably so an athlete can perform their job effectively.
Finally, it is also common to find Velcro footwear in places like retirement homes. Perhaps people in the retired community prefer to not tie their shoes, or the reason for their popularity might be due to things like arthritis and osteoporosis. Older people may have trouble tying laces with fingers that are not as agile as they once were. On the other hand, it could just be a matter of comfort, as Velcro offers a more simple, relaxed style of shoe.