Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Perfect shoe fit: Curiouser and curiouser !

According to a large survey of women's feet in California, most wear shoes too small for their feet, have discomfort and deformity, and have increased in shoe size from the age of 20 onwards. Ladies without symptoms were also found to wear shoes too small for their feet but to a lesser degree. The correlation between poorly fitting shoes and foot deformity is considered by many experts, as direct. In this study researchers measured the forefoot and heel widths and found as the forefoot increased in width, so did the heel. When foot length increased during standing, the width of forefoot increased to a greater extent than heel width. A person with a broad forefoot needs to shop around to get a shoe that will accommodate both wide forefoot and narrow heel fittings. Traditionally only quality shoes made from combination lasts will provide this type of fit, and of course because these are not mass produced, the shoes are costlier. Many imported shoes provide excellent width at the forefoot but have insufficient breadth at the heel. Furthermore, as shoe length increases, manufacturers typically enlarge all key internal dimensions in fixed proportions (a process called “scaling “). These in combination with the preference for court type style means the footwear available to most women, at a price they can afford, are inadequate to fit their feet.

In the thousands of years’ humanity has worn shoes, we still have only eight basic designs with the rest variations on the theme. Shoes appear to have been designed for men but at times when the foot and shoe were sexualised, the female style was a smaller replica of male footwear. Could this be men's ultimate control over woman kind, with the added insult of ensuring injury and therefore dependence. Let’s take this argument a little further and ask ourselves sociologically why most orthopaedic surgeons (bearing in mind the argument foot operations are in the main designed to get women back in women's shoes) are men; and podiatrists, there to empower females often with information they do not wish to comply with, are women.

“Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); `now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!' (for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off). `Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I'm sure I shan't be able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you must manage the best way you can; - but I must be kind to them,' thought Alice, `or perhaps they won't walk the way I want to go! Let me see: I'll give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.'

And she went on planning to herself how she would manage it. `They must go by the carrier,' she thought; ` and how funny it'll seem, sending presents to one's own feet! And how odd the directions will look!

Alice's Right Foot, Esq.
Near the Fender,
(with Alice's love).

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 2
Lewis Carol

Oh dear, what nonsense I'm talking! Or am I?

When buying dress shoes always try to get the proper length (this is referred to as the heel to ball measurement), suitable width at the forefoot and adequate room in the toe box. There should be a snug grip of the counter about the heel, if the foot is to be supported within the shoe. Lacing and strap shoes are preferred with a Cuban heel. Most people have one foot longer than the other so always accommodate the longer foot. Shoe fitters are experts in this area, but if you cannot afford to spend the money trace an outline of your feet onto paper, cut them out, and take them with you to the shop. Slip them into the shoes of your choice if the paper shape fits without crumpling, then the length and breadth should be adequate. Remember there is no substitute for trying the shoes. Never tell the assistant what size you are always get them to measure your feet. The reason for this is shoe sizes vary from shop to shop. At all costs avoid, taking the shoes if you feel you have to break them in. If the proper fit is not available, frustrating as it may be, it is better to continue your search than to buy inadequately fitting shoes which may result in painful foot deformities.

Interesting link
The Literature Network

Reviewed 20/06/2018

1 comment:

Markus Kittner said...

Hello, I really enjoy your footwear posts. Please could you write one about the "8 basic footwear designs" you mention in this post. I wonder if a clearer understanding of the footwear landscape could help us define new kinds of footwear and opportunities. Possibly by tracing the evolution. Thanks again, Markus Kittner