Thursday, 10 March 2011

My Shoes Blues

Medical advice has it that homo sapiens are supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day for optimum health.

You try walking more than 100 steps in most women's shoes and feel those heel and toe blisters start forming, shortly followed by bunions, ankle spurs, aching contracted tendons and hammer toes, depending on what style of high fashion pointy-toed torture implement you have selected purporting to be in your size.

Small wonder then that even Posh Becks discards her six-inch heels to live in trainers the moment the camera bulbs cease flashing and she steps off the red carpet. Despite this, her feet are now clearly deformed with her toes trying to point inwards as unphotoshopped photographs demonstrate.

Even 'flats' are little more than 'toe covers' nowadays, providing little or no foot support, but just enough coverage to still ensure blisters.
Kitten heels are the highest I can personally tolerate, and even taking those off is akin to walking on velvet after a few hours.
Luckily I am naturally 5'10", so don't need shoes to give me height, but I do sympathise with those women who do.

My distant cousin Margaret-Doreen was similarly tall and a size 7 back in WWII. A combination of shame at being a size women weren't supposed to be in those dainty days, plus the sheer paucity of female shoes in that size led her to cram her feet into size 5's and even 4's.

In her 70s and 80s, she enjoyed near-perfect health compared to her multi-ailing contemporaries, except for her feet, which became so crippled, she could scarcely walk and she spent hundreds of pounds on both chiropodists and various orthopaedic shoes trying to find a wearable pair, preferably offering some relief.

I look at young women these days and wonder if they have a clue what trouble they are storing up for themselves by insisting on the Western equivalent of foot-binding in their determination to suffer for fashion. Or is it for the scruffy young men who wouldn't go to nearly those sartorial lengths for them?

And let's not mention the stars who have started having bits of bone shaved off their feet to fit their shoes - despite having the money to have shoes made to fit them!

Now call me strange, but I've always taken the radical view that shoes should be made to fit feet, not our feet forged to fit shoes.
The irony is that most female shoes are not even as glamorous as they used to be, lacking in both originality and wow factor and looking like a mere three designers probably design them all.

Then again, any shoes requiring the multitude of 'foot rescue' gel pad inserts which have sprung up in order to be tolerated are asking for trouble and should remain firmly on the shelf until someone comes up with the revolutionary concept of both sexy and sensible in the same shoe.
I was recently amused to see disposable 'Rollasole' shoes in pink and silver appear in my local Superdrug for that party girl, who can't walk a step further in her foot griddles, but is still far from home, and even more amused to hear they had won a Design award for coming up with a solution to a problem that shouldn’t by rights exist.

My own shoe blues continue, bar a pair of bright Red microfibre early 'footglove' Mary Janes circa 1995 M&S, which continue to attract admiring comments and glances on the rare occasions I get them out, for fear of wearing them out, (the worn through companion pairs in sensible Navy and Black having being consigned to the bin long ago).

Before fashion goes any further leaving us needing blacksmiths to shoe us rather than shoe shops, I therefore throw down the gauntlet to any shoe designers, manufacturers and orthopaedic specialists who may be reading - let's work together and come up with the perfect female shoes. I have lots of ideas and am willing to split any profits we make.

Meantime how to walk 10,000 steps a day, even in a pair of Clarks (not as sensible as they used to be), whilst musing why slippers are called 'slippers'.


Nota Bene said...

Not a subject that any man can sensibly comment on...

Owen said...

LOL over the photo ! Guess that is a shoe for lying down in ?

Otherwise, I agree with Nota Bene, so I will quietly whimper in sympathy, and scurry off before anyone throws a shoe at me...

Steve said...

I never notice a woman's shoes (well, unless she happens to be walking all over me at the time) so these kinds of fashion accessories just pass me by and are completely wasted on me. As for me, I've always gone for a decent pair of toe-tector boots. I bet I easily walk twice the recommended distance for home sapiens in a day and my boots sheild me from the worst that life can throw at me. Those toe-tectors are tough on socks though. I get through a helluva lot of them.

Fran said...

Ladies who wear really really high shoes always have very prettily clad feet but a face that looks like it's just received bad news. Not a good look, if you ask me.

Wisewebwoman said...

I got sensible before my feet gave out, Laura, so proudly am host to a serious pair of men's athletic shoes (trainers), a pair of Uggs for winter and Birkenstocks for spring/summer/fall.
What more does any sensible woman need, the shoes on offer today frankly terrify me. Have you see Lady Gaga and ilk trip and fall in these skyscrapers?
Ouch cubed.

The Sagittarian said...

Some shoes were made just for looking at I reckon!

DuchessOmnium said...

Women and their struggle with shoes is a story old and strange enough to make it to the Brothers Grimm. I am surprised you didn't mention the ugly stepsisters who chopped toes and heel to fit into the shoe that would promise them wealth and position married to Prince Charming. It's not a great step to the day to day discomfort most women undergo to be attractive.

As for me, I remember that strange structure called the "earth shoe" where the toe section was higher than the heel. It was neither sexy nor comfortable and it didn't catch on.

The highest heels I ever wore was when I teetered on stilettos to an interview in San Francisco at the British Embassy for a scholarship to Oxford. I won the scholarship, tossed away the shoes, and have worn flats ever since.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Notabene. Not a subject any woman can comfortably walk on either!

Owen, on the contrary, the male view is much welcomed. Since presumably your gender is the reason women feel obliged to squish their feet into such tortuous configurations.

Steve, thanks. Good to know women are wasting their time impressing at least one male through the Western equivalent of foot binding.

Fran, you mean like a cat that's just eaten something rather horrible?

WWW. Wise by name, wise by nature. Good on you.

The Sagittarian. Well I'm quite happy to look at them in a museum of horrors!

Duchess. An interesting anomaly re the Ugly Sisters, but I wasn't allowed to read Fairy Tales growing up, so I guess that slipped my mind. Well done you on using killer heels to get a job only!