Washington, June 6 : The first time humans put their feet inside shoes was 40,000years ago, a new anthropological research suggests.
Erik Trinkaus and Hong Shang, from Washington University in Missouri made the discovery while examining toe bones from a 40,000-year-old skeleton in a Tianyuan cave near Beijing in China.
The researchers measured the shape and density of the bones. They then compared them with those from a modern urban Americans' feet and late-prehistoric Native Americans and Inuits.
The pair could make assumptions about their footwear because shoes alter the way a person walks, reports LiveScience.
A rigid sole will mean the toes curl far less than when barefoot and less force is passed through the bones.
This meant that there were obvious differences in the three recent populations.
Trinkaus said that modern shoe-wearing Americans have wimpy little toes, barefoot native Americans have strong, large toes and shoe-wearing Inuits lie somewhere in between.
The scientists found that the Tianyuan toe bones were most similar to the Inuits', indicating that the person regularly wore shoes.
The study is first published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.