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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Take care of your pair

Marc Jacobs has given the world its first back-to-front shoe and I like it! Seen in New York this week as part of Marc Jacobs’ 2008 collection, the shoe attracted mixed reviews. The elevation of the rear foot is achieved by a horizontal wedge projecting backwards from the ball of the foot. Needless to say the new style has met with condemnation from the foot police with the same old same old criticism of heeled shoes. In truth, an elementary understanding of shoe history would see the similarities in design to the pre-stiletto era when shoe heels in fashionable women’s shoes were positioned away from the heel to support the arch of the foot. The fashionable shoes are designed to be worn for short periods and over flat surfaces, and as such would present no more challenges to the human body than any elevated footwear. Condemnation of shoes and particularly those which challenge the perfect concept of a shoe (only it does not exist in reality, nor has it ever) are filling copy and the internet with increscent innuendo about the dangers of certain shoe choices. The latest to meet this woeful wailing is Crocs and reports of injuries caused on moving stairways. Choice of shoe is important and particularly in urban settings where there are potential hazards such as walking stairways. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission over the last five years, there have been 53 reports filed concerning escalator-footwear incidents and Crocs were named in four, with one resulting in an injury. Lamentable as these incidents are there appears to be no logical reason why Crocs alone are being marginalised in this way when the real problem is escalator safety. Manufacturers do claim walking stairways are safe but remind all care is required when riding them.

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