Thursday, October 13, 2005

When the shoe fits, wear it

According to the Guinness World Records the biggest female feet currently known are those of Svetlana Pankratova. She is not the world's tallest woman but her legs are 132 centimetres (4 ft 4 in) long and her feet measure size 13 (US) / 46 (EU).

Females with larger than average feet can experience shoe stress because with fewer shopping options, the shelves designated for outsized footwear are not exactly brimming with pedic treats. Small consolation but you may share the piede gross image with film stars like Melanie Griffith, Elizabeth Taylor and even Big Foot herself, Greta Garbo. All these fashionistas however have the wherewithal to employ their personal shoemakers to overtake the challenge. Many women less affluent are faced with the ultimate humiliation of wearing men's shoes, just because there are no alternatives. No problem you might think whilst unisex styles are fashionable but why should women with big feet be singled out at all. Although there are specialists who supply shoes for the larger foot these are more expensive and often has a narrower range of fashionable options. Women with small feet at least seem to have the consolation of children’s shoes which, from a fashion perspective, are difficult to tell from adult styles. Most stores refuse to carry stocks of larger sizes even when they are available from the manufacturer in fear they will not be able to sell them within the season. With only an estimated 5% of women wearing size ten or above it does not make good economic sense to cater for this minority say the shopping mall retailers.

Recent studies have shown there is a shift within population and because we eat a more well balanced diet both men and women are getting taller and their feet are getting bigger. Calls to the shoe industry to wake up and meet the demands of these physical changes are falling on deaf ears. Another complication which besets the pedic innocent is when people have odd sized feet. Body asymmetry is a common occurrence but usually the differences are so small as to make no difference when buying clothes and footwear. However, for some this can be very irritating with many having considerable size difference from one foot to another.

Mary Jane's shoes have not been popular since the 1960's when they replaced the long toed shoe or winkle picker. For the price of one pound the ladies of Perth could have their sharp toed shoes, guillotined by shoe makers to turn them into the new chisel-toe fashion. The only other time in history when broad toed shoes were fashionable was in the sixteenth century Europe. By implication fashions which display excess occur at times in history when there is affluence and economic growth. The global economy was never been as favourable as it was when the Mary Jane‘s were in fashion.

Another aspect which is common to the three phases of history is the presence of powerful women. During the 16th century, Elizabeth I and Catherine di Medici made their presence felt in a man's world.

During the second Elizabethan period a young Australian lady rocked her generation with thoughts of feminism (Germain Greer) as the pointed shoe and stiletto ruled. As for today well take a look at political correctness and you cannot fail to notice the amount of effort gone into promoting girl power. Of course what have the girls done since, reinvented the winkle picker, Venus it seems, is rightfully back on her thrown and kicking ass.


Anonymous said...

I have it's cool too.

mike soler said...

Actually Svetlana Panktratova does not have the biggest female feet in the world, that would probably go to U─╝jana Larionovna Semjonova who wears size 58 EU (21 US)!