Free your feet, free your soul!

Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 05:00 am
Yeah! Very Happy

Free your feet, free your soul
Juliette Hughes
August 26, 2007/the AGE

I'M QUITE angry about shoes this season: the style dictators are finally "allowing" women to wear low heels and rounded toes. It's even whispered that Doc Martens may once more be brought in from the outer darkness of the outre. For me, these new shapes underscore the fact that for well over a decade the woman who has wanted to be fashionable has had to wear high heels and pointed toes that seriously harm her feet. And something in me always wants to rebel against dictatorship of any kind.

A foot is a miracle of complexity: 33 joints and more than 100 muscles. Add to that the crucial neurological and mechanical interplay between the feet and the legs, the pelvis and the spine, and what you wear on your feet says a great deal about how you treat yourself. On eHow.com, there are instructions on how to walk in high heels. These include the suggestion "consider shortening your stride a bit". Any podiatrist could tell you that in high heels you can't consider anything BUT shortening your stride. When people shorten their stride, they're limiting themselves: think of the many Chinese women kept in subservience with footbinding until the middle of the 20th century.

..........why didn't we just refuse to buy the foot-deformers? Every time we drooled over daft bunion-makers and wore them in the workplace, we massaged the fragile egos of the kind of stupid, threatened kiddy-men that we should have been replacing on boards and in government. We are supposed to be intelligent women: how on earth did we find ourselves still being bossed around?

................Incredibly, we've allowed stylists to team those old oppression shoes with the clothes of liberation: trousers, jeans, shorts, minis. The rise of compulsory high heels has been part of a leaching away of women's hard-won status. When Sex and the City stopped being about women living lives of utter freedom and started really going for the fashion sponsors, it was as though a virus took over the program and spammed us.

.........How long this foot-holiday will last is moot: soon the fashionistas will crack the whip to herd us yet again into tottering docility. Already the fashion columns are telling us what we can and can't wear the new flat shoes with. As I flip through the store catalogues and look up the latest styles on the net, I notice that high heels haven't gone away. There's a rounder toe at the moment, but what happens when, inevitably, the dictators decree pointy toes again? The shops will fill with foot-destroyers, new walkable shoes will be as rare as consciences at a cabinet meeting.

So let's not buy the bloody things: go to work in runners, to the Cup in Uggs, to weddings, funerals and job interviews in Docs, Crocs and Birkenstocks. The shoe-bullies will cave if free women stare them down and say, "Never again will we be downtrodden by our own shoes".

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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 16,360 • Replies: 85
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 06:51 am
I have a genetic quirk. Every so often the femur in my left leg spontaneously fractures and I have to spend three or four years growing bone.

The femur in my right leg is much hardier--unless I fall.

When the Family Curse erupted twenty-five years ago, I went from medium-high fashion to old lady shoes overnight.

I still have occasional regrets for a frivolous pair of heeled sandals which set my feet dancing, dancing, but as for the rest of my slave-to-fashion footery--poof!
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 06:58 am
I refused to succumb this go round...though many of my work colleagues are teeter tottering around in a manner that looks most painful.

Anyway, there's been a strong counter fashion around of quirky shoes, without the stilettos and killer toes.

I love the quirks!
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 07:04 am
The other day I channel surfed past an old black and white movie about submarines/WWII. The scene: the sub had to suface to pick up some guys in a life raft.
Out of the hatch comes some sub-mariners (men) and one woman (who I'm assuming was the "nurse' although I don't have a clue as to why she was on board the sub.)
Anyway....she had on a skirt and high heels! She was standing on the top of a submarine, in the ocean....in a skirt and high heels.

So see, this kind of shoe brainwashing has been going on for decades.

I gave up mine 18 years ago. My toes are free! FREE I tell ya!!
Very Happy
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 07:32 am
It amazes me how many people pay attention to fashion before comfort, and safety.
High heels damage a persons back and pelvis.
But yet, people wear them because it is popular to do so.

People dont wear what is comfortable for them or their bodies because they dont want to look 'silly' or out of style.
Yet, the vast majority of people ( when I start paying attention) DONT wear the fashion trends. They wear sensible , comfortable shoes.
Only a few people wear high heels, or toes pointed so sharp, they leave chips in the concrete.

I dont get it.... I really dont..
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 09:12 am
When you hover between size 11 and size 12 shoe size (yep, I do, and have done so no matter what I weighed farther up), they don't make a lotta high heeled styles. Problem solved, or rather, never arose in the first place. So, everyone, get big feet. I have several inches to spare and will gladly donate.
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 09:38 am
i like moderate heels. but that's because i have flat feet, flat as a pancake, and flat shoes make my back hurt severely. a bit of a heel, but with a thick, comfortable, arch-supported sole, that's what i'm after.
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 09:41 am
The logic behind high heels is to give an illusion of longer legs and the reality of a come-hither wiggle for the backside.

High heels also resulted in a woman being physically vulnerable--off balance and unable to flee.
Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 10:08 am
Thanks to genetics, I have inherited bunions (thanks Mom!)

And through poor shoe choices growing up (that had practically nothing to do with heels and had more to do with no arch support)
and the work I do (standing, ladder balancing, walking, etc.),
They hurt on a regular basis.

Orthopedic insoles give me only a little relief.
Danskos rock. Fashion be damned.

And I've found in the arch world of shoes some very cute and un-old-lady-like but still supportive shoes.
There's a new fashion trend for people like me.

Happy feet is what I'm looking for, despite the cost.

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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 11:41 am
this is the heel height and sole thickness that's ultimately most comfortable for me.

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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 01:07 pm
I can't wear pointy toes. Physically can't. My big toes won't allow it.

Good thing I find them ugly to begin with.
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 01:13 pm
I'm with you, mushy. Even if I could cram my feet into them, they're incredibly ugly to me.
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 01:28 pm
You know these? Not bridal only, but the general styles.


I see some of the girls at work wearing similar styles. Ok, these have been around forever!

I don't get it. Their veins are popping out all over, we're on our feet most of the time.

Yet they'll change to these for meetings and sitting at the desk. Going for coffee.

I don't find it very attractive.

I remember my grandma always, always wearing shoes like these. Always. Even in her 60's, 70's, and even now at 80. With pantyhose. What she calls slacks, and these damn shoes.

Sometimes I wish I had the courage to tell her it isn't doing anything for her varicose veins. Her hip that she is in so much pain for.
But she wouldn't understand....

Was the previous generations even more brutal about shoes and what was appropriate for "a lady" or what.
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Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2007 01:34 pm
couldn't help peeking in here .
i think what you ladies need is a british shoe :
Enter Sheilas' Wheels, a car insurer for women in the UK that has developed the Sheila Driving Heel. Quite a little marvel of design, the Sheila Driving Heel features a tall heel that folds forward into the shoe's sole at the touch of a button (we couldn't find the button in the pic above, though). This turns the pump into a flat that's much better suited to the rigors of driving. In addition to hiding the heel, Sheila's shoes feature discrete tread on their soles that gives a woman's heel some grip, which we suppose is helpful when performing a double-clutch shift and the like. We're not sure how attractive the patent leather black with hot pink trim will be to the Sheila Driving Heel's intended market, but we've also never claimed to know anything about its intended market, so who knows?


link :
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Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 02:26 am
I inherited short, wide little duck's feet & small ankles. I stuffed my feet up up (or one of them) as a trendy adolescent, wearing what fashion dictated. Forcing my feet into shoes which were totally unsympathetic to my foot shape. I developed this strange little toe which sits on (instead of next to) my big toe. But hey, I was a giddy young thing & didn't question the dictates of fashion & I didn't know what I know now. It has caused me a few problems, this toe which doesn't quite fit properly, but choosing shoes which relieve the problem rather than worsen it has been the way to go! And barefoot in summer, or my trusty Birkenstocks (eight pairs to choose from!)! I love shoes. I have heaps of them in different colurs & styles.

But what I can't understand is women who have stuffed up their feet twice (so far!) in their lives! The second time around when their feet (& their backs!) were clearly telling them that it was a huge mistake. I have known women who have had bunions surgically removed, only to force their feet back into the very same style of shoes which caused the problem straight after the operation! Last year I worked with E, who lived with very serious back problems & was often heavily medicated for the pain. But did that stop her from forcing her feet into alarmingly high stilettos? No. It was important to be "fashionable". Honestly, I don't get it. Confused

Like the author of this article, for me the issue is not just comfort or health ... it's political. Why should we choose to be oppressed & in acute discomfort (even crippling ourselves) because style authorities dictate that this is what is required this season? I mean, do men put themselves through such agony to be considered attractive? Of course not. And, of course, fashion is simply marketing. Which is all to do with making big bucks. I would love to see a backlash from women to fashion that actually harms them.
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Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 03:40 am
no, I can't understand doing as fashion dictates.

I'm experienced in the foot pain department, and everything I have ever heard about bunion surgery sounds heinously painful, and the bunion thing happening again is probable.

But to go through all that... just to stuff your feet once again?

No, I have no comprehension.
When your feet hurts -it really hurts, and yes, it screws up the rest of your body.

I know there are people out there who insist on wearing tall pointy things. I cringe when I see them. My feet ache in sympathy to theirs.
Stilettos women are such a different creatures than me. We really have very little in common...

Why do people do as fashion tells them?
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Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 05:38 am
I think it's probably hard to tell, but are high heels necessarily about the male gaze? I think women have had time to reject aspects of fashion that were once de rigueur, like corsets for example. I just read an article somewhere (NYT mag?) about how many men DISlike aspects of fashion that many women like... but the women go on liking it.

Found it!

Anyway, my everyday wear is super-comfortable Teva sandals (in leather, with a buckle, not the velcroey ones) in the summer and super-comfortable Merrell shoes in the winter, then occasionally I wear higher heels of the type Dasha posted (sandals or boots). Those are comfortable for me, too. Very occasionally I wear some round-toed, vintage-looking high heels (about 3.5 inches) that I used to wear regularly for work. They're really not bad, but I still only wear them very occasionally.

By the way the pointy-toe shoes vary by designer. A lot of them greatly elongate the toe, so the pointiness occurs beyond your actual feet. I tried on some expensive ones once that were very comfortable, but I didn't like the elf look (extremely long, pointy toes).
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Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 06:02 am
I've got the ugliest feet in the world after growing up in cowboy boots. Bunions behind big toes that kill, little toes bent under the toe next to them, bumps on heels... No way I'd wear heels or pointy toes now.

When I first moved to NC I managed a ladies shoe store. I was amazed at the heels women would buy when there were great little comfy dress shoes right next to them.

Oh, and we did carry sizes 11-12. Mostly that was the trany purchases, (I had a few regulars that knew the delivery schedule) but a few woman too now and then. They mostly went for comfort, so they didn't mind that their size had been picked over by men.
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Reply Mon 27 Aug, 2007 06:28 am
You know, I'm almost in awe of women who can wear these things all day & go about their business as if it's no effort at all! Not looking strained or pained or anything! How do they manage it? I'd be struggling to even stand for 5 minutes in stilettoes without falling off them. Never did have the knack. But some teach all day in them, go up & down escalators (dangerous!) & venture onto public transport in them! All the time looking as though it's a perfectly normal way to get about. But one thing I have noticed: go home with a stiletto wearer & the very first thing that happens when they get through the front door is that the shoes come off! Phew!
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Reply Sat 27 Oct, 2007 11:25 pm
Don't walk this way
October 28, 2007/the AGE

Kylie Minogue teeters on the red carpet.
Photo: Reuters

Painful heels, pointed toes, patent leather: the big trend in footwear this season is fetishism. But why, asks Hadley Freeman, would you want to dress like a lap dancer?

At the fashion shows in Paris early this month, I saw a woman who looked, to all intents and purposes, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, tilting by at least 45 degrees. Sensing that she was being quizzically watched, she straightened herself up and took tentative baby steps to her seat, barely able to move more than a cobblestone at a time.

It was Dita Von Teese - a burlesque dancer who has achieved a certain level of fame thanks largely to her diligently maintained cartoonish sexiness, which was certainly on display at the Louis Vuitton show - hoiked up on heels higher than the length of my hand.

Three years ago when I interviewed Von Teese, she claimed that she "literally" could not put her feet flat on the floor, having worn such high stilettos for so long. "So you stand on your tiptoes in the shower and stuff?" I asked. "Yes," she replied, with a solemn purse of blood-red lips.

At the time, this seemed like confirmation of Von Teese's strange devotion to extreme footwear and, with the rest of us in the room that day shod to a woman in ballet pumps and trainers, unique. However, when I saw her in Paris, Von Teese's feet, while still defying basic anatomy, did not look quite so unusual. Many journalists at the shows had been complaining about the lack of trends coming from the catwalks, but one look at the journalists themselves revealed quite an obvious one: fetishistic footwear.

This season has been dubbed the one of "extreme footwear", but the prevalence ("dominance" is probably the more accurate if not exactly delicate word here) of shoes that can rightfully be described as fetishistic (defined by the Oxford English Dictionary with typical dryness as "an object . . . which serves as the stimulus to, or the end in itself of, sexual desire") is remarkable. ...<cont>

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