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Sunday, August 07, 2022

Shoes:Fantasy and fetish



(Queen Victoria Image via Pinterest )


By the reign of Queen Victoria well bred women could not be acknowledged as possessing anything as potentially carnal as legs. So the term lower limb was used to describe the leg and the term remains a convention in medicine.


(Crinoline and hoops Image via Pinterest)


Ironically, crinoline was incredibly seductive and the steel hoops that buoyed the skirt kept it in a permanent state of motion The slightest pressure at one point raised it correspondingly at the opposite side, often revealing a titillating and tantalising glimpse of the forbidden flesh. Ankles and feet became a focus for sexual allure and anything and everything which covered them all the more attractive.


(Victorian Boots Image via Pinterest )


Simple court pumps disappeared and were replaced with the ankle boot. Partly worn as a fashion in honour of Wellington and Queen Victoria, the boot complemented the crinoline dresses and provided a foot corset enjoyed by men and understood by women.


(The Empress Image via Pinterest)


As trade and travel took on international dimensions in the 19th century, the prized fabrics of the orient joined the French fashion world. The eastern look was dignified and exotic, symbolic of a sophisticated understanding of the world. Shoes styles had names like the Empress. With the cotton trade came delicate gauze or layers of sheer fabrics for dresses. Shoes needed to match and were decorated with pearl buttons, or bead buttons and rhinestones.


(Hidden ankles Image via Pinterest )


Repression and prudery generated new outlets for sexual expression. The fashion to conceal the female leg under floor length skirts and boots was so successful that the mere glimpse of a women's ankle was a cause for arousal. Women's ankles and by extension their shoes and boots became symbols of more hidden body parts, and lusting after their feet or footwear was deemed strictly taboo.


(Baroness Fanny Pistor Image via Pinterest )


Not surprisingly, by 1850 with the introduction of photography an underground market for pornography and shoes with 6 inch heels flourished in London. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, from which the word 'masochism' comes, freely wrote of his experiences where he allowed his mistresses to whip and walk on him. He was delighted to kiss the shoes that performed the action.


(Mini Skirts and go go boot Image via Pinterest )


Well over a century later, shoe fetishism flourishes although it remains a social taboo because of its association with cross dressing and Algolagnia or S&M. The fetish shoe often incorporates locks, chains and high heels. The locks represent the idea the feet are precious and owned by the admirer. Chains restrict movement, which reinforce the power game being played out between "slave and master".


(Chains and heels Image via Pinterest )


According to some biomechanists, wearing high heels changes the distribution of mass around the body and, and according to Rossi, tilts the pelvis into a pre-coital position. Fetish shoes are often black or red, made in patent leather, and fit the foot like a corset. Boots are often extended to knee or thigh and have platform soles to extend the length of the leg. In today's society, cross-dressing is still viewed with great suspicion however many people are specifically attracted to style associated with the opposite sex because of their allure. Naturally they wish to explore the full ensemble. As Rossi so eruditely puts it "fashion is the artisan of mascarade."


(Shoe fetish Image by Marina Diakova)


Erotic symbolism is not expressed in all footwear in the same way and the sex appeal features in shoe design must comply with the psycho-social personality of the individual. Eroticism often infers dominance of one partner over another.


(Susan Wayland Image via S&M Photography)


A popular foreplay with foot fetishists and algophiles is tickling. Tramping describes walking over a partner and although a little more uncomfortable than tickling practised moderately it is still relatively harmless. Crushing describes standing on a partner with stiletto heels. Not for the fainthearted and likely to cause perforation of the skin, this bazaar practice is more for the discerning s&m user.

Footnote


(Video Courtesy: Nicole Rudolph by Youtube Channel)


Reviewed 07/08/2022

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Defensive shoes at a pinch 1955



(Defensive shoes 1955 Image via news.afyc.com)


In The Mid-1950's, Italian Shoemakers sold "Defense Shoes", complete With Spurs On Toes And Heels To Kick Away Offensive Sex Pests.

Iron Age Shoes



( Iron Age Tools Image via iStock)


The Iron Age started between 1200 B.C. and 600 B.C. It is defined by archaeological convention and begins locally when the production of iron or steel had advanced to the point where iron tools and weapons replaced bronze equivalents in common use. During the Iron Age, people began making tools and weapons from iron and steel. In Central and Western Europe, the Roman conquests of the 1st century BC serve as marking for the end of the Iron Age.


( Iron Age Warrior Image via bensozia blogger)


The Iron Age did not happen at the same time all around Europe; local cultural developments played a major role in the transition to working with iron. Experts believe Iron working was introduced to Europe in the late 11th century BC probably from the Caucasus , a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, located on the peripheries of Turkey, Iran, and Russia. The Region witnessed a series of remarkable transformations in the social, cultural, and political traditions. Iron working slowly spread northwards and westwards over the next 500 years. Weapons were no longer cast but hammered into shape, and decoration is elaborate and curvilinear rather than simple rectilinear.


( Sanskrit Image via wikipedia )


The Iron Age was significant to human history because it helped lead civilizations to more permanent settlements and forever revolutionized human tools, weaponry, and innovation. Art and agricultural practices developed with changing religious beliefs, and more advanced systems of writing using alphabetic characters thrived during this time.


(Iron Age Clothes Image via Study.com)


Clothes had until this time been pretty basic, but in the Iron Age, they improved and began to mark out your station in society. Outside of the Mediterranean, Iron Age cultures of Europe developed their own fashions and traditions. While the traditions of Central Europe, Northern Europe, and Britain were diverse there were some common trends . Clothes in these parts of Europe were generally made of local organic materials like wool, linen and animal skins and created with better looms and more efficient techniques that display an exchange of ideas around the continent.


(Iron Age Man Image via pinterest)


Fur capes and heavy boots were among the most important clothing items worn by both men and women, which made life a little better in the colder north. Women's clothing generally included wool skirts, blouses, and dresses, while men wore wool tunics. Germanic and Nordic men also wore something that the Romans saw as very unusual: pants. Pants were so strange to Romans that this clothing item became a symbol of non-Roman culture in Roman art. Germanic peoples tended to wear baggy pants, while British pants were tighter.


( dressed for Iron Age wedding Image via Balken Celts)


Although few Iron Age clothes have survived occasionally bog bodies and other archeological finds reveal much about the costume and culture. Tools used to make clothing have been discovered and Iron Age people had upright warp-weighted looms to weave cloth using thread with drop spindles weighted at one end with a stone or clay whorl to provide tension and momentum. The resulting rectangle of fabric was sewn together to make a tube-like garment. The worn garment might be gathered at the waist and brooches were used as fasteners.


( Iron Age Spindle Whorls Image via kcl-antiquities.co.uk)


Shoemaking in the Iron Age was still done by individuals rather than craftspeople and varied in complexity by region and status. Iron Age shoes were simple pumps typically constructed from a single piece of leather.


(Iron Age Shoes Image via pinterest)


Experts believe after tanning leather it was cut to size for individual feet with a section left to wrap around the ankle. A set of tabs were cut to allow the shoe to be laced around the foot. A row of tongues gathered around the toes made the size adjustable, and there was an inverted Y-shaped seam at the heel. The back of the shoe was sewn to close and the leather wetted and laced onto the foot before being allowed to dry in situ to conform to the shape of the owner’s foot. Cut-out ornamentation around the instep could also be quite complex and adjusting the basic pattern and lacings allowed a variety of aesthetics.


(Video Courtesy: Wild Woman Bushcraft by Youtube Channel)


Bibliography
Iron Age in Europe: Fashion, Footwear & Clothing Study.com
Gobb K (2022) A Brief History of Iron Age Shoes leatherconservation.org

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Magical Shoes: A brief history



( The Glass Slipper Image via Empty Mirror )


Shoes are the stuff legends are made from. They feature in sacred scriptures and secular mythologies and from antiquity shoes have also been a central component of fairy tales and folk stories. Cinderella is likely to be the most well-known. According to folk historians, Iona and Peter Opie, there are at least 700 versions of the story, worldwide. One can be traced to ancient Greece whilst others are known in China (9thc), where the Cinderella was known as Yeah Shen. In Korea, she is Kongjee and in Vietnam, Tam. The best known version comes from France and was written by Charles Perrault, published in 1697 in his Tales of Mother Goose.


(Little Glass Slipper Image via YouTube)


In the original version the slippers were made from fur, in the most famous version from Walt Disney, the heroine wears glass slippers. No one is sure why this was the case but a strong argument was a mistranslation took place. The French noun "vait" means a white fur, and " verre" is the French word for glass.


(Puss in Boots Image via pinterest )


Boots were important in Perrault's tales not only in the story of Puss in Boots but also in the lesser known Hop o'my thumb. The former may refer to the common habit for poorer people to bequeath expensive footwear. The other belief that shoes and boots could carry within them the persona of the original owner was just too alluring for the story teller not to grab hold of. In Hop o’my thumb, the hero steals the ogre's boots and takes with them, his strength. The idea that footwear can change an individual is a common theme. The moral many fairy tales stress is “Clothes maketh the man.” Once divested of the symbols of power, individuals no longer function.


( Twelth Night Image via theglobeandmail.com )


The idea clothes were linked to status (power) was recognised by the Greeks who legislated for what could be worn by individuals lest they rise above their station. Women for example were allowed to wear three garments only and this is thought to be one reason why Greek women went barefoot. In Shakespeare’s King Lear: II, ii, reference is made to “a tailor make a man?” Fear of ’upward mobility’ in the Middle Ages again called into play sumptuary laws to prevent the rising middle classes from appearing outwardly more affluent that their position in society permitted. To the human brain perception is more important than reality and clothing provides a quick means of "sizing someone up" without having to engage them in direct conflict. In that sense clothing aka shoes, function as "displaying" behaviour.”


(Michael Powell's Red Shoes Image via moma.org )


Fabulous dancing shoes were also a common theme in many fairy tales. Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Red Shoes' is a tale of vanity punished. The heroine falls in love with her shoes till eventually they take over her whole life and near end it prematurely. Eventually she has to cut off her feet to save her from death by dancing. The moral to this tale was not to become too taken with self-image. Death by dancing was not uncommon in the Middle Ages and frenzied physical movements (chorea) were often the cause of terrible physical exhaustion with tragic circumstances.


( St Vitus Image via catholictradtion.com )


In the 13th century a group of 200 people in Germany were dancing so spiritedly on the bridge over the Mass River that it collapsed, killing many participants. The injured survivors were treated in a nearby chapel dedicated to St. Vitus. It is recorded many made miraculously recoveries. Involuntary movements became known as the dancing disease or Saint Vitus' chorea . (choros is the Greek word for dance). A chorea is an abnormal involuntary movement that occurs without purpose. Saint Vitus' dance later became a term synonymous with Sydenham's chorea, a childhood condition associated with rheumatic fever.


(Dancing Plague Image via smithsonianmag.org )


Around about the same time in Italy there were reports of mass hysteria dancing with many deaths. These strange phenomena persisted on a widespread scale in southern Europe for 400 years, reaching a peak in the seventeenth century, after which it virtually disappeared. It is now thought the disorder was not hysteria but an abnormal neurological reaction to tarantula spider bites. Researchers think music and dancing were the only effective remedies available and people were known to have died within a very short time of an attack because music was not available. Tarantism was mainly confined to southern Italy, and the term Tarantella became common among musicians. One theory is the Tarantella was the first example of music therapy.


(the Dancing Procession of Metternich Image via wikiwand.com )


When in the 14th century plague was rife and no cure was available, Christians and pagans danced to seek protection from the illness. These dances had their origins on religious fervour, pagan tradition or superstition and may have led to epidemics of mass hysteria. According to legend, the Dancing Procession of Metternich (Luxemburg) originated in the late eighth century after people with tremor and paralysis were miraculously healed at the grave of the missionary Willibrord. News of the miracles spread and people began to dance at Willibrord's grave seeking protection and cures from neurological disorders. With music and dancing so closely linked to disease and cure then shoe makers took on an important role in society.


(Quality Image via learning-living.com )


In 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses' a 19th century tale written by the Brothers Grimm, a shoe maker prominently features and in 'Elves and the Shoemaker', the shoemaker and his wife meet with the help from the little people. Elves and goblins as shoe makers demonstrated Puckarian characteristics which may have reflected a quite distrust of the trade. When shoe makers were good they were good, but when they were bad, that was uncomfortable. Shoemakers were articulate and capable of intelligent opposition to social injustice and in Roman times, many of the early converts to Christianity became clandestine sandal makers. In the Middle Ages they were also thought to disguise the evil foot by supporting the flat arch which was thought to be a sign of Satan. So as a well-known trade, shoemakers provided an attractive occupation for story tellers to include into folk lore and fairy tales.


( Roy of the Rovers Image via Independent.co.uk)


Shoes could also have a life of their own and in the well know Asian folk tale, Abu Qasim a miser, merchant is haunted with is tattered magical shoes which got him into all kinds of trouble. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wears ruby red shoes (studded with diamonds) for good luck and more recently comic hero “Roy of the Rovers ” has magical soccer boots. All in all, shoes matter to human beings whether they are lucky or unlucky, comfortable or uncomfortable.

More information
Kippen C (2022) Comic Football Heroes : From Roy of the Rovers to The Kangaroo Kid foot talk blog


References
McDowell C (1989) Shoes: Fashion and fantasy Thames and Hudson
Rogers J (1985) The dictionary of cliches NY: Balantine Books.

Reviewed 28/07/2022

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Is there a cure for corns?



(Interdigital corn Image via zfootdoc.com/portfolio/)


If you ever wanted to embarrass your foot physician (podiatrist) , then ask them if they have a cure for corns. In the twenty-first century we may be able to walk on the moon, move faster than a speeding bullet, but when it comes to cure corns, we are still struggling in the dark. That doesn’t stop podiatrists from making a good living making our corns more palatable, but the plain fact is there is nothing in a bottle or tube, so far anyway, that can cure them. That day may be light years away, so what is so difficult about the eradication of a corn?



Corns are organised concentrations of skin cells (keratinocytes) associated with intermitted and external, mechanical stresses. These are usually complex combinations of friction, pressure, and shearing sometimes caused by ill-fitting shoes, but conditions, apply. Prolonged mechanical stresses caused by walking are thought to damage skin cells which release chemicals into the blood stream. These activate enzymes like compounds, responsible for skin growth, which either start to over produce skin cells forming callous, or maintain regular replacement with no obvious hard skin. Biochemical control varies with individuals which helps explain why some people seems to suffer from the painful blighters, and others not.


(Corns and callus Image via Brisbane Foot Clinic)


Callus describes general thickened skins whereas corns are reserved for inverted cones pushed into the skin by external means and surround by callus.


(Roots Image via Slideshare)


Do corns have roots? An emphatic NO! The concentrated mass, or 'nucleus', which is associated with discomfort, inflammation and pain are forged by external twisting forces acting intermittently on the skin. When met with resistance from hard surfaces beneath the skin, such as bone then a corn is likely to appear. Corns represent permanent change in local skin formation and hence no matter what treatment is given they will return in some form or other.


( Ancient Greece Image via pinterest )


People have suffered from corns since the beginning of time and no surprise to discover the ancient Greeks invented the first skin scrapers. These also represent the first surgical scalpels.


( Cow dung Image via hindi.lifeberrys.com/)


Corn cures have also been around from antiquity but it took to the sixteenth century and the introduction of the Quack Act in England before corn cutters purveyed a weird and wonderful array of corn curing elixir. These varied from pastes made from cow dung, soaps made with brass filings and oil, to alcohol solutions of lavender brandy. All had their day and none of them worked. Today most corn cures contain salicylic acid, which helps soften the corn. The acid also irritates tissues causing the corn to separate from the rest of the skin. In normal healthy individuals the resulting breakdown may heal quickly but for people living with compromised immune response systems this can become infected. Hence manufactures recommend caution and do not encourage self-care by diabetics and people with compromised circulations.



Perhaps the most bazaar corn treatment comes from India where in the 1930s the Indian Army had Corn Cutter Wallahs. They worked freelance and served the local garrison. To treat a corn, the wallahs pared away the overlying skin before using a piece of horn tubing in a straw fashion to suck on the skin. They created a vacuum with their tongue before replacing it with wax or plasticine. The horn was left to hang freely for approximately hour as they tended to other clients. The vacuum put the harden mass of the corn under intense pressure and literally liquefied it. Over sixty minutes the once solid corn was drawn painlessly drawn out until it appeared as an exude of blood and tissue under the seal.



Depending on the skill of the corn cutter wallahs, some would amaze curious onlookers by using glass tubes, which clearly demonstrated the sucking out of the corn process. Fascinating stuff and would have to say, I have seen it done.


(Cupping Image via physicalsolutionsli.com/ )


This method was later adapted to orthodox medicine and became known as Bier’s Cupping Process and was used to induce a passive hyperaemia (increased blood supply) to encourage the body to use natural healing processes. Still back to ground zero, if you suffer painful corns or persistent painful feet then consult your podiatrist, they may not have a miracle cure, but they do know what they are doing, are highly skilled, and can give you, hours of happy walking.

More Information
Kippen C (2021) Callus or callous? Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2018) Corns and Cow Dung Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2018) Corns and Calluses: In days of old Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2022) Corns -What to do : Cut them off and what? Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2019) Do corns have roots and what is the root of corn cutting? Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2019) Hyperkeratosis: Corns and Callus Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2021) Icthyotherapy (fish pedicure) Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2019) 19th century home remedies for sore feet: (Please do not try these at home). Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2028) Old Corn Cures Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2019) Podiatry: The ten plus one most frequently asked questions Foot talk blog
Kippen C (2018) Street criers and corn cutters Foot talk blog


Reviewed 26/07/2022

Monday, July 25, 2022

It's Ok not to run


The love of high heels: Altocalciphilia





The allure of high heels to the altocalciphile is overpowering. Subconsciously this may relate to a primal instinct to identify lame prey. Throughout recorded history limping has been seen both as a physical weakness as well as a sexually attractive impediment. Wearing high heeled shoes can accentuate the limping characteristics in a very tantalising way, such as a Trendelenberg gait(i.e. one hip hiked higher than the other). Actress Marilyn Monroe used this to exquisite effect in the 50s with her stiletto heels (reputedly with one shoe heel higher than the other).


(Video Courtesy: JAMES Kai by Youtube Channel)


Wearing very high heels affects deportment by moving forward the position of the body’s centre of mass. In women the resulting spinal postural curvature pushes the breasts out, pulls in the buttocks, and gives a gluteal swing during walking as the hips move up and down. Wearing heels elongates the legs giving the outward appearance of shapelier calves, ankles and foot arches. High heels are also thought to place the female pelvis in a precoital position.



Whether or not this is true, the idea by itself, may cause arousal. Long legs are thought to give a strong arousal signal (Lloyd-Elliott, 2006). Men may be attracted to women in heels because it appeals to their superior nature seeing a member of the opposite sex vulnerable. This may present them with the driving need to act as a protector or predator.



High heeled shoes for women are however a comparatively recent costume innovation and prior to these men wore heeled shoes and dressed as peacocks. In European courts during the Middle Ages it was normal for only the high aristocracy to be fashion doyennes. The King and immediate family were particularly the focus for fashion and hence it may be seeing the male Regent dressed in heels had the same effect.



Today, heeled shoes are very much part of the bondage ritual (Rossi,1997) and sado-masochists maybe attracted to the perceived pain associated with wearing high-heeled shoes.



Footnote


(Video Courtesy: Nicole Rudolph by Youtube Channel)


Reviewed 25/07/2022

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Comic Football Heroes : From Roy of the Rovers to The Kangaroo Kid



(Roy of the Rovers Image via dundeecomicscreativespace.com )


Football-themed stories have been a staple favourite in British comics since the 50s with Roy of the Rovers the most popular. Roy Race appeared in the " Tiger (The Sport and Adventure Picture Story Weekly)" which was launched in the UK in 1954.


(Billy's Boots Image via 2000ad.com)


My personal favourite was a spin on the old fairytale Puss in Boots and was called Billy's Boots which appeared in Scorcher, Tiger, the Valiant and Eagle before finding a home in Roy of the Rovers (RotR). Billy Dane was a mediocre schoolboy player who suddenly develops an amazing skill and intuition whenever he wears the old boots of legendary striker "Dead Shot" Keen. The stories were remarkably moral with the hero often at odds with himself as he relied more and more on the wearing the old boots. The boots were a metaphor for cheating.


( Kangaroo Kid Image via The Scorcher)


Another favourite was the Kangaroo Kid from the Scorcher comic . During Redstone Rovers successful summer tour of Australia the team are marred by an injury to their centre forward in the last game. With only two weeks left to the start of the English soccer season, Redstone's centre forward, "Striker" Short is out with a broken leg. On the way back to the airport, the Redstone team stop for a kick around in the outback. Suddenly, the captain spots a jeep coming towards them chasing kangaroos and trying to catch them. As the convoy moves closer they notice a boy running with the kangaroos. Suddenly the boy came across a loose football and launched it like a rocket at the driver of the jeep. With the driver knocked clear out of the jeep the kangaroos escape.


(Kangaroo Kid Image via YouTube )


Impressed with the kids ball delivery the Kangaroo Kid is signed as a replacement for the injured striker. Back in Britain he becomes a star.



(Video Courtesy: RoyRace73 by Youtube Channel)


Interesting read
Baker F and Gillatt J 2020 Billy's Boots: The Legacy of Dead-Shot Keen Graphic Novels

Reviewed 24/07/22

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Chiropody Felt: A brief history




One of the most enduring footcare accessories to be found in your friendly pharmacy is Chiropody Felt. Felt is a fabric made from wool but unlike weaving and knitting there is no yarn involved. To make felt you need wool fleece, water and agitation. The fibres on the wool have small scales on the outside surface. When the wool is watered down the scales open up. When the fibres are rubbed together, the opened scales close and get interlocked. The wool fibers are made up of a protein called keratin. The keratin in the fibers becomes chemically bound to the protein of the other fibres thereby resulting in a permanent bond between them, making the felting process irreversible.


(merino sheep Image via pinterest)


Originally Chiropody felt was made from quality merino wool and consisted of thousands of fibres compressed one on top of each other with air trapped in the structure. It is available in compressed and semi-compressed forms and is easy to cut and shape with scissors.The impacted fibres offer resistance to compression where the foot makes ground contact or toes rub against each other. Cavities cut in the material help reduce shear and peak pressures, which can relieve pain and discomfort. The trapped air heats up and acts as insulation to the surrounding tissues, and the constant temperature can have a direct sedative action to superficial nerve endings.


(vintage zinc oxide plaster Image via ebay )


In late Victorian Times adhesive backing made from soap plasters was introduced but proved somewhat messy in use. Later the adhesive industry introduced new and improved rubber adhesives which soon became popular, especially when Zinc Oxide was added to prevent rashes. Over the last half century hypo-allergic adhesives have replaced zinc oxide rubber adhesives and these prevent allergies and pseudo-allergies when chiropody felt is used regularly next to the skin. Adhesive backed chiropody felt traps microscopic drops of water in the keratin layers of the skin, hydrating them and making them softer and in the case of corns, less painful. These are temporary functions but all add to the comfort of Chiropody Felt.


(Bronze Age Image via pinterest)


No one is quite sure when felt was first discovered but it is considered to be one of the oldest textile forms and thought to have originated in Asia about 5000 years old. Archaeological evidence indicates from very early on people had discovered the tendency for fibres to mat together when warm and damp long before they learned to spin or weave. It is believed the nomadic people of Central Asia were the first to learn the techniques for making felt. Caps of thick solid felt from the early Bronze Age are preserved at the National Museum in Copenhagen. These date back some 3500 years and were found in the pre-historic burial mounds of Jutland and North Slesvig. The oldest archaeological finds containing evidence of the use of felt are in Turkey. Wall paintings that date from 6500 to 3000 B.C. have been found which have the motif of felt appliqué. At Pazyryk in Southern Siberia archeological evidence of felt was found inside a frozen tomb of a nomadic tribal chief that dates from the fifth century B.C. The evidence from this find shows a highly developed technology of felt making. (These felts are in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia).



The Romans and Greeks both used felt and the Roman soldiers were equiped with felt breastplates (Linothorax) for protection from arrows.. The earliest felt found in Scandinavia dates back to the Iron Age. Felt sheets believed to be from about 500 A.D. were found covering a body in a tomb in Hordaland, Norway. Felt was used for many things including hats, wall coverings, blankets and boots.


(Valenki Image via wikipedia)


Felt boots can be traced to Siberia and was called the Valenki. Archaeological finds include dainty low riding boots of a Scythian woman of high rank which also contained a pair of felt socks of the same cut and sewn from two pieces of thin white felt. The remains of travelers caught in ice glaciers also support felting in shoes was used to keep the feet warm. Not only was felt used for clothing but also for saddles, curtains, rugs, coffin coverings, bottle cases, mattresses, shelter and for ceremonial purposes as well. In pre-history properties of felt, were greatly appreciated and exploited with felt relics found dating back to 1500-1000 B.C. in Mongolia, Scandinavia, Germany, Turkey and Siberia. Excavations at Antinoe in Upper Egypt revealed clothing items of wool felt in graves of the Coptic period. These goods may have reached the Nile valley through trade from Persia.


(Terracota Warriors Image via pinterest )


Ancient Chinese historical records refer to felt as early as 2300 B.C. China's warriors equipped themselves with shields, clothes, and hats made of felt, for protection; they also used felt boats. At public functions, the Chinese emperor was carried into the presence of his subjects sitting on a large felt mat.


(Noah's Arc Image via alamy)


By the Middle Ages many legends existed as to the origins of felting including the claim Noah discovered it. According to the legend when he built an ark he covered the floor with sheep's wool and loaded it with his family, their household belongings, and livestock for food. However, the weather suddenly turned bad and rainwater came pouring in. Inside were many people and animals moving about; the heat produced from this was almost overwhelming. The water and heat combined with repeated trampling on the wool made become a flat sheet of felt. Another variation on the theological theme described a barefoot holy man walking through the desert, leading his camel. With the mid-day sun the sand became too hot and he could no longer walk. Almost by divine guidance he suddenly tore off clumps of the camel's hair and wrapped them around his feet. Finally sunset came and the heat subsided. Removing the clumps of camel hair, he noticed that the camel hair on the soles of his feet had become flat and solid. His sweat had added moisture, the sand had added heat, and the action of walking on the camel hair had entangled it, turning it into flat sheets of felt.


( fearless fitness Image via pinterest )


When a Pope during the Middle Ages was troubled with sore feet, he decided to use some animal wool to pad his shoes. Bliss resulted and felt “tootsie rolls” were given the Papal Pedal Seal of Approval.



More Information
Kippen C 2022 Physical Therapy: Principles of Pad Making Foot Talk blog
Kippen C 2022 Physical Therapy: Introduction to foot padding and taping 101 Foot Talk blog

Reviewed 20/07/2022