Thursday, October 14, 2021

Big Shoes and the Giant Shoe Museum



( Giant Shoe Museum Image via pinterest)


When Danny Eskenazi was growing up in Seattle, USA, he often visited his grandfather's shoe store. For nearly 30 years, Isaac Eskenazi kept a pair of giant boots in the window. The shoes belonged to Robert Wadlow , an 8-foot-11-inch tall man who travelled on the lecture circuit in the 1930s and stopped in Seattle at the Pantages Theater. Wadlow suffered acromegaly and was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as a giant.


( Robert Wadlow Image via pinterest)


Acromegaly is a condition caused by increased secretion of growth hormone after normal growth has been completed and occurs in adults. When excessive secretion of growth hormone occurs in children before normal growth has been completed, it causes gigantism rather than acromegaly. The cause of the increased hormone secretion is usually a benign pituitary tumour.


( Video Courtesy: Osmosis by Youtube Channel)


The pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, controls the production and release of several different hormones. There are no known risk factors other than prior history of a pituitary tumour. Acromegaly occurs in 6 out of 100,000 people.


( Ian Thorpe Image via Wiki Feet Men )


You may recall Ian Thrope , former Australian swimmer and TV personality was accused of taking hormonal supplements which were thought to increase the size of his feet. There was no substance to the accusation and “the Torpedo” just was a big laddie. His tight fitting swim suit made his bits look bigger.


( Robert Wadkow Image via Chicago Tribune)


Back to Robert Wadlow, his life was tragically short and he died very young aged 22. His demise was brought on by an infected foot blister, so there is a warning to us all. Maybe his shoes were too small for him, in any event when Isaac Eskenazi relocated his store in the 1960s; big Wadlow’s boots mysteriously disappeared. Young Danny has spent his life in search of the Holy Grail of Giant Shoes. To this day, he continues to look and there is even a $1,000 (US) reward for the return of Wadlow's boots. Meantime Danny has acquired a collection of giant shoes which in 1997, he generously donated to the new Giant Shoe Museum (Old Seattle Paperworks).


( Giant Shoe Museum Image via Roadside America )


A particular unique feature about this collection is it appears in a coin-op museum. For a dollar's worth of quarters you can see three of the peep shoe exhibits. The museum is sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Oversize Footwear which is one of Seattle's most exclusive clubs. Makes you wonder what these people do for a living. Most of the exhibits are too large for anyone to have worn and likely were made as displays for shoe manufacturers.


( Big Shoe Marikina City Image via pinterest)


In December 2002, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Marikina City in the Philippines for crafting the world's largest pair of shoes. Each shoe measured 5.5 meters (18.2 feet) long, 2.25 meters (7.4 feet) wide and 1.83 meters (six feet) high. The heel measured 41 centimeter (16 inches). The materials for the P2 million pair of shoes could produce 250 pairs of regular shoes. Approximately 30 people could put their feet into the colossal shoes simultaneously and the marikina made shoe broke the old record of 3.12-meter shoes made by Zahit Okurlar of konya, Turkey. In Perth WA, at the Perth Surgical Shoemakers & Wembley Shoes there once was displayed the biggest shoe in Australia.


( Video Courtesy: Emily and Son Travel & Food by Youtube Channel)




Reviewed 15/10/2021

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Does the shoe really fit ?: A brief history



( Expert Shoe Fitting Image via The Active Foot Store )


The concept of shoe fit is largely a subjective one and size alone (length) is not the only determining factor. Research from the Battelle Memorial Institute has shown there are at least 38 individual factors influencing or involved in shoe fit. Many were subjective involving the opinion and attitudes of consumer and fitter alike. In the end it was the customer who determined whether the shoe fitted or not.



Asymmetry and anatomical variation mean many people are challenged when seeking an ideal fit.


( Heel height and toe spring Image via Research gate )


Both style and pattern of a shoe bear influence on sizing and fit is determined by the distribution of foot mass within the shoe. Heel height and toe spring are critical for functionality.


( Foot base Image via The Pharmaceutical Journal )


Shoe types such as work boots may be fitted with a bit more volume allowance than the slightly snugger fit of an elegant fashion or dress shoe.


(Shoelast design Image via ScienceDirect.com )


The type of shoe construction can bare an influence. e.g. welts, cements, slip lasted, stitchdown, injection-moulded etc, will show slight differences in fit on the foot. Some manufacturers or brands apply their own particular specifications of dimensions on their lasts e.g. backpart, forepart, tread, etc. and this makes a difference in fit among different brands on a given size.


( Toe fit Image via Clevland Clinic Health Essentials )


Toe shape of the shoe may influence the fit. Shoes with narrower toes may need to be worn a half size longer (when available).


(Silvia Fado image via 3D natives )


Customer demand has seen shoe manufacturers explore computer-aided design (CAD) systems to produce bespoke shoe lasts based on the chosen shoe style and customer’s foot features. Although still in its infancy 3 D laser-scanners have been used to scan customer’s feet and with pre-specified foot features (often undisclosed) the software allows a designer to customize a base shoe last to specific customer’s requirements CAD systems, use 3D digitizers to capture the geometry of existing lasts and store it in digital format. Using tools specifically developed the designer can design a shoe over the modified last in virtual reality. To date most of the preliminary CAD systems have been restricted to mainstream casual footwear or componant parts of the shoe is midsole and foot orthoses. CAD bespoke footwear is an exciting prospect especially when combined with 3 D Printing. Indeed, 3D printing helps shoe fit and already brand leaders are making partnerships with major Additive Manufacturing developers in production of some of their models.


(Video Courtesy: Additive Manufacturing Media by Youtube Channel)


Footnote
The foot fitted in the morning will have less volume (smaller) than the foot fitted in the afternoon.

Further Reading
Azariadis P, Vasilis Moulianitis V , Alemany S, González J C, de Jong P, van der Zande M and Brands D Virtual Shoe Test Bed: A Computer-Aided Engineering Tool for Supporting Shoe Design
Belanger R 1997 Big black boots: how to pick the right size
Butdee S, and Tangchaidee K 2008 Formulation of 3D shoe sizes using scanning camera and CAD modelling Journal of Achievements of Materials and Manufacturing Engineering 31(2)
Byrne M Curran MJ 1998 The development and use of a footwear assessment score in comparing the fit of children's shoes The Foot 8 215-218.
Ceeny E The form of the foot in relation to footwear The Chiropodist 304-311.
Gardener R 1856 The illustrated handbook of the foot London
Ledger FE 1985 Put your foot down: A treatise on the history of shoes Melksham: Coin Velton.
Manning JR 1966 Size standardisation: Europoint The Chiropodist 21:6 187-200.
Mondopoint: A metric system of shoe sizing and marking Australian Podiatrist August 1976 102-103.
Xiong S. Zhao J, Jiang Z and Dong M 2009. A computer-aided design system for foot-feature-based shoe last customization The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 46(1):11-19

Reviewed 11/10/2021

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

From foot adornment to footwear



( samurai art Image via pinterest )


According to Frugal (1930) clothing has important social significance which tells much about the personality of the wearer. With the exception of hands and faces, humans see and react to the visual signals emitted by clothing. This provides the safest distance to judge a stranger, the more intimate relationship then the more important finer features and speech play. Clothes serve three main purposes: decoration, modesty and protection. Whilst the latter may appear the most logical it is not supported by history (both ancient and modern). Fig leaf mentality may explain why we have covered up, but by far the major reason for clothing is decoration. The essential purpose of decoration was to beautify bodily appearance, so as to attract admiring glances from others and fortify self-esteem. Modesty, on the other hand, makes us hide bodily attributes in an attempt to refrain from drawing attention of others. When decoration and modesty are pitted together this can provide a psychological conflict or neurosis. The degree of harmony or compromise between conflicting interests may be clearly seen in shoes.

Are feet sex organs?


( Sexy Feet Image via Flickr)


Sadly no, but they do exhibit unique features which separate us from all other beings. We have a weight bearing heel, and inside arch, and big toe. Their significance is we developed an upright stance and no other species can do that. The two million years of evolution between Homo rectus and Homo sapian meant the human brain became far more complex. Freud, concurred the importance of the foot in our evolution was convinced upright stance led to the frontal display of both primary and secondary sex organs. He argued humans had no need to develop other senses when greatest benefit was gained by perfecting sight.

Cheek to cheek


( homunculus Image via Science News for Students )


Anthropologists believe humans became seeing beings as weight bearing feet influenced the form and function of buttocks, bosoms; the legs and thighs, tummies, hips and even genitalia. The pedal extremities are well supplied by nerve pathways which transmit messages to multiple and diverse areas of the brain, including the sensory parietal lobe. By coincidence the sensory centre for feet lies in close proximity to sensory nerves of the genitalia. This may explain why for some people neural print-through causes their feet to become sexually expressive. However for the vast majority feet remain sensual objects. In any event we are the only beings on the planet to be able to make love standing up, face to face.

Why did we wear clothes?


( Nude Image via pinterest)


Without doubt, in the minds of experts, the greatest motive for wearing clothes is sexual. Not in the fig leaf sense (sinful) but to further enhance the attractiveness of the wearer. Human decoration has from the beginning of time celebrated appropriation and always demonstratively directed attention to the genital organs of the body. The theory of Displacement of Effect would support shoes have become symbols of the primary sexual organs. As socialisation took place shoes became part of ritual for ceremonial purposes before eventually becoming costume for all (Harrold & Legg, 1986). Fashionable footwear was always the prerogative of the ruling classes and up until the Middle Ages, the preserve of men. Only very much later did shoes become associated with protection from the elements and alien terrain. This was principally due to the lack of knowledge on how to construct robust, hard wearing footwear.

Symbolism


( Celtic Warriors Image via pinterest )


Another common use of decoration was display of trophies although the practicalities of survival might suggest clothing such as shoes were made from edible proteins. The romantic impression strength and courage of animals was so admired by the early hunters and gatherers that they wore their skins to harness these qualities, may hide the real reason but in the absence of evidence, we can never be sure. From cave paintings prehistoric people decorated and scarified their skins presumably to protect themselves from imaginary evil spirits. Later these patterns were incorporated into clothing designs as talisman with significant social and spiritual meaning. Such designs are clearly visible today in the brogue patterns worn in shoes. Victors also kept mementos of the vanquished, such as their testicles. These curios are seen in tassels on loafers. Lucky tokens were also a feature of primal decoration to which the penny loafer and Mukluk boots are two good examples. Rank, occupation and wealth were also encoded into types of clothing. Unshod feet in Roman times were the mark of slaves, male citizens had the right to wear sandals, and military station was depicted by the height of boot worn by the soldier. From early biblical times elevated sandals were worn by sex workers.

Shoes and personality


(Heels Image via pinterest )


The word shoe (scoe) is Anglo-Saxon, meaning 'to cover'. According to Rossi (1993) this is not in a protective sense but rather to hide an erogenous zone. Body parts play a key role in non verbal communication and may be decoded as cortically meaningful (Givens, 2002). Simply put shoes outwardly represent a non-verbal sign of gender, presence, and personality. According to Sonja Bata (founder of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto) "Shoes hold the key to human identity." They appear unparalleled in their ability to reveal the personality of the wearer. Many believe this is due to the encoded messages they contain which are recognised by our primal subconscious. Where this is most obvious perhaps is related to shoe choice and our psychosexual make up and personality. Pond, reminds us shoes are totems of disembodied lust, in some cases so strong as to magically transform us into beautiful, handsome, confident, or heroic persons. They appear true talisman and worthy of a fetishism. Today footwear communicates general values, personality traits, roles and goals. Our psychological, cultural and expression of our spirit are all well served by our footwear. They influence the way we think, feel, act as well as react to others.

Gender equity


(Wooden Clogs Image via pinterest)


According to Belk (2001) as consumers we appear to have an innate preference for products that not only function well, but also express themselves. Males are often more daring and naughty than their female counterparts in what they choose to wear. One theory why men use heavier apparel to create illusionary effects of masculinity and virility is because they have fewer erogenous qualities. Women on the other hand use less to highlight their natural erogenous features. Female footwear shows personality and uniqueness (I am someone special). Male Footwear is part of a uniform to mark membership in a group (I am a cowboy). Footwear suggests connection with terra firma "both feet on the ground". An elevated heel implies the ability to defy the Earth's gravity whereas four wheel drive shoes send quite a different message.

Women's shoes


( Shoe Organiser Image via pinterest)


Women's shoes can be classified into three general groups. Revealing shoes are 'bare all' shoes with the toes, heel, ankle and top of the foot all visible and calling attention to the frailty of the small delicate foot. Concealing shoes transmit a suggestive erotic message of tight containment. Both proclaim femininity, individuality and sexual allure. High heels make the frame appear more curvatious with bosoms and buttocks protruding and less accentuation on the waist. Increased height. This may appeal to the height challenged as well as giving an outward appearance of a smaller foot. To the less well endowed, added height from heels encourages an attractive boyish appearance, so enjoyed by the ancient Egyptians. Masking shoes, the third category, down plays personality by discouraging its notice. Often worn with socks, sensible shoes tend to be boxy, sturdy and squared off.

Mens' shoes


( Teddy Boy Image via pinterest)


Gender specific footgear for men fall into three categories: dominant, submissive or neutral. Dominant shoes are robust, wide, thick soled and heavy. Submissive shoes are narrow, lightweight thin soles, with tapering toes. Gracile to suggest vulnerability with a deliberate down play of foot's size and bluntness. The neutral shoe is fashionably bland and introverted. It is neither wide nor narrow, neither pointed nor blunt. The sole is neither thick nor thin, nor is the shoe obviously masculine or feminine. Neutral shoes project non-rebellious non-dominant anti-corporate mood in the work place.

Fashion line


(High heeled pumps Image via pinterest )


Shoes can be divided into different design lines, which suit certain types of feet. The Classic line caters for the average foot with its emphasis on refinement, elegance and high fashion. These shoes are sleek, slightly chunky with smooth circle or geometric shapes but no angles. The Dramatic line is more suited to the narrow foot with its trim sleek and elegant lines and emphasis on angular shapes. Small feet are highlighted in the Romantic line with soft flowing lines that showcase foot contours. Detailed but lavish footwear. Moderate to large feet are often best in natural lines which are shoes sometimes chunky and always funky. The Gamin line favours moderate to narrow feet. Sharp, straight and crisp footwear designed in geometric and asymmetrical shapes, worn in colourful leathers and often with dark hosiery (sheer)

Shoe styles
According to Rossi (1993), there are eight basic styles i.e. the sandal, the monk, the moccasin, the mule, the clog, the pump, the boot and the lacing shoe.

Sandals


( Strappy Sandal Image via Milanoo.com )


One of the oldest and simplest forms of foot covering which date back many thousands of years. Stone Age sandals were a spontaneous invention, which helped protect vulnerable feet from alien environments. Later the spread of trade among Mediterranean countries accounts why sandals became associated with affluence but it took until the Romans before they became robust footwear, worn by the army. The trade of sandal making was almost lost after the Fall of the Roman Empire and only rediscovered in the early twentieth century when the heeled sandal was associated with Hollywood’s sirens. Now considered the sexiest shoe women can wear, the 'venez y voir' or come hither look is further enhanced with backless or slings back designs. All in an endeavour to catch 'back interest', that is admiring glances from suitable suitors whose eyes are transfixed on the beauty even after she has passed by. Sexy sandals are subtly erotic whereas bitchy sandals are flagrantly sexual (Jayne Mansfield). Women wearing the former are trying to convey a message, which says they want to be noticed and admired as feminine and sensuous women. According to Eisman (2002), today's male thong wearers may appear crude but beneath this veneer lurks a gentle, wounded soul. Dreamers and hopeless romantics choose Jesus sandals to represent their soulful and gentle personalities. Rough and ready types wear sport sandals similar in the way suburban dwellers drive four wheel vehicles. New Age self assured types exude their inner comfort by choosing reflexology sandals.

The Monk


( Double Monk Image via Amazon)


The monk refers to the wide strap across the instep, which is attached to a buckle. The shoe was worn originally by Alpine monks in the 15th century and later caught a fashion following when ornate buckles took on the guise of shoe jewelry. Wearing them was a mark of prosperity and once again the prerogative of men. After the French Revolution, highly decorated shoes indicated social status and buckles soon became passé as the fashion for boots took over. Buckles meantime became popular with women's shoes. Today they survive in the most mundane form as fastenings for sandals and casual shoes worn by men and children. The monk style of shoe remains a male preserve and is worn by non conventional types assured in their mind their alternative retaining medium is an able match to the more predicable lacing persona. Men who wear peacock buckles are less sexually aggressive, more flamboyant, brazen, and ostentatious. Insecure types with a driving need for personality identity. However don't be fooled the flash exterior is superficial and under the surface lies a soft caring side to their nature, according to Eisman (2002).

Moccasins


( Penny Loafers Image via pinterest )


By far the oldest shoe, dating back 15,000 years. Mongol tribes who migrated across the Bearing Straight 9 (circa 30,000 BCE) probably wore a simple wrap around hide held on with rawhide thongs. More associated with tribes of North American Indians who lived on the Ottawa River near the northern tributaries of the St. Lawrence River moccasins were stylised with fringes and coloured beads. Each tribe had their own distinctive style and decoration, much of which would depict rank and occupation. Today moccasin shoes usually describe imitation moccasins, which had their origins in Norway. The Norwegian Peasant Slip-on (or weejun) was first imported to the US by tourists in the 1930s. When Gucci made leather loafers in refined calfskin with a metal snaffle across the instep this had instant appeal. Slick, successful sophisticates flocked to wear them. The Rolls Royce of shoes celebrated craftsmanship, grooming and conformity but with just a hint of excitement. This was often expressed latently in the snaffle design. A two tassel ornamentation was common and is thought the represent symbolic testicles found in many native customs. A gold chain had obvious sado masochistic association and would be worn by domineering types. Soon loafers were available in spectator style (two colours) and by the 50s, Penny Loafers became all the rage with the campus based Ivy Leaguers of the US. Here the testicles were replaced with a lucky penny, which was incorporated in the snaffle. Popular with Hooray Henries of the time, the shoes were full of potential and excitement, in truth of course the shoe style represented no change and security rather than adventure, hence the lucky penny. When low vamp loafers were designed for females and made in soft kid leather they guaranteed successful cross over. College kids wore suede loafers, which was the source of inspiration for blue suede shoes. Imitation moccasins are sensuous shoes, typified by the stylised flair, slightly feminine but overtly masculine, these shoes are preferred by the lounge lizard who is both vain and domineering. Charmers with intoxicating personality the shoe's exaggerated proportions and adornments give a clue to the wearer's true persona. On the positive side moccasin wearers value quality over trends and exude a relaxed elegance that is timeless and very alluring. These people are confident and comfortable to be with. They enjoy looking cool and revel in the good life. Beware bad lots who are attracted to square toed loafers these fellows suffer illusions of grandeur are often brash and certainly preoccupied with cash. Loafers for women are conservative or neuter shoes i.e. neither sex-attractive nor sex-distractive. Neuter shoes reflect a quiescent or semi-active libido preferred by middle aged married women.

Clogs


( Wooden Clogs Image via Amazon )


Clogs describe wooden soled shoes traditionally worn by peasants and more recently associated with Scandinavia. Two basic types are the sabot (or wooden shoe) and the more fashionable clog (wooden soled shoe with a leather upper). Clog wearers are considered complex and intriguing characters usually cool types with a strange and difficult past that will leave you better for knowing him. One clog devotee is Brian May of Queen. Once a cloggie then always a cloggie, or so it seems. Many men are turned onto clogs by seeing well turned ladies wearing them. Some are even attracted to the noise the clog makes. Hence there are a lot of closet clog wearers out there.

Boots


( Shoe boots Image via pinterest)


Originally these were shoes with wrap around leggings and date back approximately 4.5 thousand years. Later when the leather leggings resembled a bucket, the French called then 'butt' meaning water bucket. These evolved in boute and finally boot. Over the centuries boots have undergone many changes and been gendered for their troubles. Boots as a fashion invariably follow war and represent coping with threat. Certainly the most contrived style is cowboy boots which have little to do with real Wild West and more to do with urban macho wannabes. The cowboy boot invokes heroic myth of the west, which promulgates rugged individualism, independence, quiet strength, and alienation from civilisation. They are a sign of authority and suggest strength by adding stature and stability. A boot's snug contact with pressure sensitive Pacinian corpuscles of the lower leg provides tactile reassurance while supporting the long tendons that run to the feet. Boots stabilise the ankle. Research has shown women find men in cowboy boots more attractive. Highly decorated boots express the gentler feminine side of the narcissistic wearer who may be rather superficial but always entertaining, if only for a short time. Boots with pointed toes indicate intense ambition. Whilst the suave and sophisticated sharpie may give out assured confidence and good humour that is as much as you are likely to get from them. The fashion for sharp toes can be traced to the resurgence of paganism and in particular a celebration of Pryapus. Men challenged by the absence of height prefer high heels. Wearers of biker's boots appear control freaks. No surprise there. This who sport elasticised boots may be free spirits who enjoy the simple comforts in life. Modern guys prefer the Yellow Suede, Hiking Boots, suppressed machismo, emaciated by modern day domesticity. Most will lack adventure in their lives but have four wheel boots to show they are ready (if not always willing). Doc Martens lacing boots are the mark of natural loners who may not seek close relationships. Many have leadership qualities with total commitment to passionate causes. The physiological benefits of boots may give the feeling of security on the street. According to Australian journalist, Jane Fraser, ugg boot (sheepskin boot) is to the foot what Vegemite is to the tongue, what maroon is to a Queenslander, what 'haitch' is to a Catholic. What she might be surprised to learn is elsewhere in the global village creative souls designed for success but tired of convention, wear ugg Boots. This makes them a personality, which is both unpredictable and capable of the unexpected. The fashion boot without doubt has given liberated women freedom style and support. Not to mention a lot of pleasure to men.

Pumps (Court Shoes)


( Dress Shoe Image via YouTube)


The plain seamless pump started life as a heel-less shoe worn indoors. It was a slip on which did not extend beyond or above the vamp and quarter top lines, held onto the foot without a fastening, although later a wrap around strap like a ballet slipper was used. In the UK the pump was known as a court shoe. By the nineteenth century the slip on pump had become sophisticated worn by both men and women. A low front pump deliberately tantalised by exposing suggestive toe cleavage. When dandy Count D'Orsay introduced a pump style which was low cut on the sides to expose the curve of the long arch and the sinuous movements of the foot the shoe took on extra sensual components. The sensual trifecta was completed with the addition of higher heels. By the thirties daytime shoes were neat and feminine-looking with oval toes and straight, high heels. The classic court shoe was an everyday basic but the new look slender heeled sandals with ankle and T straps in reptile skins, soft kid, and suede and satin were very much the desire of most. Shoes were immaculately presented matt fabrics were always well brushed and leather buffed to a high gloss. Strappy designs were more evident in the more elegant evening shoes. The straps were sometimes plaited or made of satin ribbon and crossed over like ballet pumps. Other styles were dotted with glitter and fastened with fancy gold, silver or diamante buckles. The sides and heels of the shoes were sometimes decorated with tiny gold flecks or diamante tips. Gold and silver 'Charleston' sandals were very popular and a ready accessory for eveningwear. Other shoes were covered with fabric to match a particular dress; alternatively dresses in plain velvet satin or chiffon were worn with patterned shoes, making pretty high-heeled sandals covered in eye-catching, glittering brocade. Hollywood loved two types of women's shoes i.e. the high heeled pump which always looked glamorous despite its inappropriateness to the many action scenes the heroines were depicted wearing them; and the thin strappy sandal as worn by Hayworth, Garbo and Davis represented a willing partner to seduction. Screen beauties rarely forsook these stereotypical props and when they did it became a memorable event. Being filmed in anything else could only add further charm to their existing persona.The origins of heeled shoes probably came from shepherds tending their flocks on steep mountainous country in Pre Hellenic Times. As trade spread across the Mediterranean the elevated sandal became a fashion vogue for rich and powerful men. Later elevated shoes were worn by actors and streetwalkers. The fashion heel for women ironically came in the sixteenth century after a short fling with platform shoes. Chopines were worn by Venetian women of substance both to celebrate the leg as well as (and probably more importantly) to display the sumptuous clothing of the times. Reported falls (or miscarriage) in pregnant women meant the platform was banned but cleaver shoemakers cored out the section of the platform corresponding to the ball of the foot. Ironically by stabilising the foot they created the first orthopaedic footwear or high-heeled shoe. Despite this the heeled shoe we know today could not have been made in the past, prior to developed lasting techniques used for mass production at the turn of the 19th century. Once heeled shoes became passé for fashionable women the style was still enjoyed by female sex workers, even after the Revolution. So popular was the style for heels among sex workers the French girls that immigrated to the US continued to wear them much to the delight of full blooded all American Males. Soon after the first US heel factory was opened. With the introduction of Hollywood came the need to depict visually heroes and villains, clothing took on a special meaning especially with improved cinema photography and the full body shot. Clothing stereo types included shoes where the heeled sandal represents the modern-day, Jezebel. This image was forever frozen with the introduction of the stiletto in the early fifties, which happened to correspond for many with the beginnings of a post war permissive age. High heels are seen as a rite of passage from girl to women. Blisters and sprains worn with pride in a similar manner to nickel allergies.

Lacing Shoe


( Oxford Shoes Image via pinterest )


Lacing shoes were introduced in the seventeenth century in England. At first they were thought to be rather effeminate but later took a fashion hold when fops at Oxford University wore them in the eighteenth century. The Oxford shoe became a foot corset designed to highlight the curves of men's feet. Worn tight to the foot the shoes were smaller than the foot and always with a heel. This meant the man minced which became accepted norm for real me. Corn cutting became a popular service during this time. It took until the nineteenth century before the fashion crossed the Atlantic and came with English invasion. This movement would influence adult costume for the next half a century. To accommodate broader feet Bluchers were adopted and lacing shoes become synonymous with conservative dress attire for both men and women. Patent Leather was developed in the thirties as a waterproof material for shoes. Now solid dependable types, stalwarts of community, wore lacing shoes. Not without its irony and despite their origins lacing shoes are classified as eunuch shoe for men, and sexless or comfortable footwear for women. The later is a euphemism for lesbianism. According to Rossi people who wear lacing shoes wish to voluntarily withdraw from natural concerns of sexual attraction e.g. funeral directors, paramedics, and nurses. Non conformists may wear brogue patterns or two-tone uppers indicating a psychosexual masquerade with the masculine costume smothering the peacock inside. Jack Kennedy was a man who preferred high fashion in footwear but conformed for his public image. Neuter shoes are neither sexy nor sexless neither fashionable nor non-fashionable. They exhibit a glimmer of promise at first inspection, but on a closer look are found wanting, i.e. an eunuch like quality. A conservative fashion with medium to low heel, semi-rounded toe, closed rather than open toe box. The colour subdued, the materials conventional and the ornamentation, if any, minimal. Passive styles for psychosexually passive people (Rossi, 1993). The sandshoe which is a canvas Oxford was an invention of the 19th century and although had humble beginnings without doubt heralded the beginning of the most popular footwear of existence. Middle class preoccupation with sport and recreation meant sport kits included dedicated sports shoes. BY the middle of the 20th century they became the icons of youth. Lacing shoes with attitude have become inseparable from youthful rebellion. Sport shoes are now perceived an essential part of ritual garb associated with both the best of being human as well as its darker side. From the time Jimmy Dean endorsed coolness, when he was photographed wearing tennis sneakers to MC Hammer rapped praise on his Adidas sneakers, the sporting Oxford has ruled supreme. People who wear sneakers are not too concerned with their looks but do prize comfort and security over anything else. Wearers of designer trainers are probably ambitious, motivated and driven in all their endeavours. Their materialistic outlook and competitive nature however puts them under enormous internal pressures. The carefree casual appearance of those wearing bowling shoes (a leather top hybred) belies a passionate conversationalist who is intensely romantic. These people are often well traveled and strongly opinionated. Traditionalists too self-conscious to be really cool, wear running shoes. These people are not part of the 'in crowd' but would dearly love to be. Large size, bold contrasts, and loud colours suggest youth and physical fitness. Often more theoretical than actual. Identification with team sports (especially star players) are preference for informality and comfort.

The Mule


( Wool Mules Image via pinterest)


Mules or slip shoes started as heelless, quarter less slippers worn in Elizabethan times. Later they became associated with the boudoir and are the ancestors of bedroom slippers, and worn by women of distinction. Richly endowed with silk and velvet these were often heavily bejeweled or highly decorated. During the nineteenth century when Manet's painting of Olympia was revealed to the public it caused a riot. The reclining courtesan was seen playfully holding her foot half in and out of her mules. The implications were obvious to all. The shoe has enjoyed a recent renaissance with Ath Leisure and has become more popular in the US, post '11/09'. Realisation the shoe could be a weapon, combined with widely broadcast images of discarded shoes left behind as people tried to escape falling masonry had a major impact. Increased security associated with travel, especially by air, has given the mule a new lease of life. The shoe is worn by pragmatists, people who enjoy comfort as well as fashion.

Sensible Footwear


( Flats Image via Beala Florida )


Sensible shoes are considered sexless, stripped of illusion and sexual promise. Neither do they seek sexual communication, nor do they receive any. They are shoes without personality and often worn through necessity. Typically seen in service personnel and orthopaedic footwear.

Barefeet


( Road trip ohotography Image via pinterest)


Before the rebellion of 1745, the Celtic population (of Scotland and Ireland) went barefoot all year round. Either sex, rich or poor prided themselves on going barefoot as if a sense of national pride. Sassenachs were considered less hardy because they wore shoes. Scots and Irish settlers to the colonies continued to go barefoot until the end of the 18th century. It is still very much in living memory that children and adults went barefoot in Australia not because of adversity but because it was second nature. Times are a changing however and intense fear of low socio-economic groups mean going barefoot today is not encouraged by private owners of public spaces. Hence people who continue to do so have made a life style choice which often alienates them from society. Most appear in perfect peace with themselves, refreshingly relaxed and content with the simple pleasures of life.

Bibliography
Anon 1927 A retrospect The Chiropodist 14: 87 170.
Barsis M 1973 The common man through the centuries New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing
Black JA Garland M 1975 A history of fashion London: Orbis Publishing
Boucher F 1988 A history of costume in the west London: Thames & Hudson
Breiner S.J 1992 Sexuality in traditional China: its relationship to child abuse Child Psychiatry Human Development 23:2 53-67.
Broby-Johansen R 1968 Body and clothes: an illustrated history of costume London: Faber and Faber
Burnett EK 1926 Romantic chapters in the history of the shoe: an extrvaganza The Chiropodist 77:13 204-210.
Cunnington C W 1941 Why women wear clothes London: Faber & Faber
Girotti E 1997 Footwear:la calzatura San Francisco: Chronicle Books
Healey T 1977 History of costume London: Macdonald Educational
Hurlock E B 1965 Sumptuary law In Dress, adornment and the social order John Wiley & Sons
Koetzle M & Scheid U 1994 Feu d' amour Koln: Benedikt Taschen
Lake N 1954 The problem with footwear The Chiropodist 9:8 245-250.
Laver J 1988 Costume and fashion :a concise history Thames and Hudson
Masson G 1975 Courtesans of the italian renaissance London: Cox and Wymann Ltd.
Mazza S 1994 Cinderella's Revenge San Francisco: Chronicle Books
McDowell C 1997 The man of fashion :Peacock males and prefect gentlemen London: Thames and Hudson
O'Keeffe L 1996 Shoes: a celebration of pumps, sandals & slippers New York: Workman Publishing
Olliver C W 1996 Handbook of magic and witchcraft London: Senate
Pierre M Antoine Sabbagh M 1988 Europe in the middle ages New Jersey: Silver Burdett Press Inc.
Pitt Rivers G.H.L.F. 1965 Female foot deformation in modern europe and in ancient china Journal of the College of General Parctitioners 9 175-179.
Ploss Bartels 1927 Das Weib 1 286:300
Strutt J 1970 The dress and habits of the people of England Volume I London: Rewoord Press Ltd.
Tuick C 1999 Dressed (or undressed) for success University of Southern California Chronicle
Wright T 1922 The romance of the shoe being the history of shoemaking London: Farncombe & Sons

References
Belk RS 2001 Shoes and self Conference presentation 8th Interdisciplinary Conference on Research in Consumption La Sorbonne Paris 25-29 July.
Crontz G (ed) 1986 Historic dress of the old west Poole: Blandford Press
Eisman K 2002 How to tell a man by his shoes Sydney:Pan Macmillan Australia.
Flugel JC 1930 The psychology of clothes London: Internatioanl Universities Press
Givens DB 2001 Centre for Nonverbal Studies Harrold R Legg P 1986 Folk costumes of the world London: Blandford Press
Rossi WA 1993 The sex life of the foot and shoe Malabar: Kreiger Press.

Reviewed 30/09/2021

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The history of high heels Nightlife ABC



(Nidra Naidoo Image via ABC)


High heels have been around for centuries, and it may be a sexist stereotype, but when we think of heels, we usually think of women. Engineer Mark Bryan reveals to Indira Naidoo how the high heel trend started with men. Cameron Kippen, retired lecturer from the Department of Podiatry at the Curtin University of Technology and author of many papers on the history of footwear, reflects on why high heels and the skirts traditionally that accompany them are perceived as feminine?

Nightlife: The history of high heels Nightlife ABC

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The complete history of Blue Suede Shoes



(Presley's Blue Sude Shoes Image via Daily Mail )


The most famous shoes of the rock and roll era were Carl Perkins's Blue Suede shoes. Although Elvis Presley had the big hit, credit was always given to Perkins. The idea for the song came from his early days when he and Johnny Cash (1932 – 2003) were in a food queue. Someone in front cried a warning to another not to trod on his foot. 'Hey don't step on my blue suede shoes".


( Xarol Perkins Image via pinterest)


Cash was moved to say to his companion that would be a good title for a song. Later, when Perkins (1932 – 1998) was playing in a dance hall he noticed one of the dancers gesticulating to his partner not to stand on his feet. The following morning, or so the story goes, he woke up with the song lyrics in his head and cleverly wrote them down. He recorded the song before Elvis (1935 – 1977) but a road accident prevented him from performing the hit. Presley meantime was in need of a successful follow-up to Heartbreak Hotel and took his version of 'Shoes' the top of the US charts.


(Video Courtesy: moviemagg by Youtube Channel)


The rest, as they say is history. Perkins did not personally wear blue suede shoes although Presley did own a pair. The King did wear lifts in his shoes to make him look taller and Buddy Holly (1936 – 1959) only wore brown or green suede shoes.


( Buddy Hollly's shoes Image via Heritage Auctions )


Had Carl Perkins not penned this tune and Elvis sang it then who knows what kind of world we would have today. The anthem was right and the image was as they say 'smoke'n'. The shoes united the world’s youth in rebellion but the shoe styles were quite different in the US from the UK and elsewhere. In American Blue Suede Shoes referred to quality brogues or ‘penny’ loafers worn by middle class preppies, whereas the Teddy boys in the UK; Halbstarke in Germany; and Blousans noirs in France wore crepe soled shoes which were like dessert boots on speed.


( Brothel Creepers Image viaNorthampton Museum )


These were cheap and crude shoes made specifically for the emerging youth market with soles more like platforms. The most critical thing about suede was prior to this time, suede was regarded as an effeminate medium previously worn only by lounge lizards and homosexuals. The appeal of brothel creepers lay in their deliberate crudeness. Leather or suede was sown into crepe sole, sometimes two inches thick. The name spells out the sexuality of the shoe. They were a celebration of unsubtle masculinity and were the working class equivalent of the desert boot. Originally worn by officers during the desert campaign in North Africa, the originals were suede bottees with crepe soles. The origins are blurred but it is thought Egyptian cobblers made the shoes for the soldiers. Most comfortable shoes the fashion was developed by Clarke's of England and became popular with the middle class smoothies after the war.


( Teddyboys Image via pinterest )


Teddy boys wore a modified dessert boot with a particularly thick crepe sole. Brothel creepers were as aggressive as desert boots were urbane. Worn originally with drapes and drainpipe trousers they were a variation of the sartorial style of Prince Edward, hence Teddy boys. An interesting innovation was the unconventional use of a boot lace, worn as a tie i.e. Slim Jims, this symbolically acknowledged the importance of 'Hillbilly Music' in the emerging music scene as well as flying in the convention of shirt and tie brigade. Dress codes became very important in public places like dance halls and pubs. All in all, the style was the right image for angry young men and made up the post war generation, which burst into life with the onset of Rock'n Roll. Roll over Beethoven as Chuck Berry sang in 1956. the young Chuck Berry invented his famous 'duck walk’ routine to distract the audiences attention from his wrinkled suit.


(Video Courtesy: mrzocoler by Youtube Channel)


Australian Bodgies were quite different again, combining both US & UK fashion with a hint of Italian they appeared in Spiv suits worn with pointy, white shoes. Later this was combined with crossover rockabilly crocodile skin shoes, especially worn with black satin shirts. Ironically the original sharpies of the 50s wore almost exactly the same gear and footwear as their grandfathers, who would be the first larrikins.


(The Bodgie Image via kaycraddock.com)


Brothel creepers made a brief return in the mid 70s with the retro R’n’R Revival with UK bands like Mud, Showaddywaddy and Australians's Daddy Cool.


( Shawaddyaddy Image via BBC )


In reprise, they were neutered and no longer the sign of youthful rebellion rather a shade of their former glory and like the imitation crocodile and leopard skins, they became contrived bad taste.


(Video Courtesy: TOMMYPLANET RECORDS by Youtube Channel)


Footnote



(Celebrity Style Image via pinterest )


Elvis Presely was only known to own one pair of blue suede shoes which were ordered for him after his 1956 version of the song topped the charts. He kept them for four years before giving them to his best man and roadie Joe Esposito during a wardrobe clear-out after returning from duty in the US Army in 1960. In 1994 they were bought by museum owner Chris Davidson who put them on display at his Elvis-A-Rama institution in Las Vegas. The size 10 brogues blue suede shoes went up for auction in Los Angeles and sold for around £53,000. during the sale by Julien's Auctions. The shoes come complete with blue laces and gold grommets. The highest bidder also received a 1956 letter from the manager of Presley's wardrobe supplier. It includes a request from Nudie's Rodeo Tailors for Presley's clothing and shoe sizes.


(Elvis Gold Image via pinterest )


Nudie Cohen also created Elvis's famous $10,000 gold lame suit, worn by the singer on the cover of his 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong album.


(Video Courtesy: Yelserp22 by Youtube Channel)




Reviewed 26/09/2021

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Shoes 'r' Us: Psychosocial and psychosexual profile of shoes



(Sonja Bata Image via Toronto Star)


The word shoe (scoe) is Anglo-Saxon, meaning 'to cover furtively,’ and according to Rossi (1993) this is not in a protective sense but rather to hide an erogenous zone. Body parts play a key role in non verbal communication and may be decoded as cortically meaningful (Givens, 2002). Simply put shoes outwardly represent a non-verbal sign of gender, presence, and personality. According to Sonja Bata (founder of the Bata Shoe Museum , Toronto), "Shoes hold the key to human identity." They appear unparalleled in their ability to reveal the personality of the wearer. Many believe this is due to the encoded messages they contain which are recognised by our primal subconscious. Where this is most obvious perhaps is related to shoe choice and our psycho-sexual make up and personality. Mimi Pond described shoes as totems of disembodied lust, in some cases so strong as to magically transform us into beautiful, handsome, confident, or heroic persons. They appear true talisman and worthy of a fetishism. Today footwear communicates general values, personality traits, roles and goals. Our psychological, cultural and expression of our spirit are all well served by our footwear. They influence the way we think, feel, act as well as react to others, or so we are told? The author attempts to decipher the meaning of shoes and how they potentially reflect the personality of the wearer. This should not however, be seen as a precise science but merely an amusing illumination.


( Renaissance art Image via Reddit)


With the exception of hands and faces, clothing has an important social significance which tells much about the personality of the wearer. When observing strangers the sight of clothes provided the safest distance to judge friend or foe, with more intimate relationships dependent upon the finer facial features, body gestures and speech play. Seems clothing serves three more functions: decoration, modesty and protection. Whilst the latter may appear the most logical it is not supported by history (both ancient and modern). Fig leaf mentality may explain why we have covered up, but by far the major reason for clothing, is decoration. The essential purpose of decoration was to beautify bodily appearance in order to attract admiring glances from others thus fortify self-esteem. Modesty, on the other hand, makes us hide body parts in an attempt to refrain from drawing the attention of others. When decoration and modesty are pitted together this can provide a psychological conflict resulting in a clothing neurosis. The degree of harmony or compromise between these conflicting interests may be clearly seen in shoes.


( Coding Theories Image via University of Minnesota Duluth )


Does that mean feet are sex organs? Sadly no, but they do exhibit unique features which separate us from all other beings. We have a weight bearing heel, inside arch, and big toe which enabled the species to develop an upright stance and maintain it throughout the waking day. Sigmund Freud argued whatever the cause of walking the consequence was eye sight was perfected over the other senses. Bi-pedal gait forged distinguished buttocks (another human trait), bosoms; legs, thighs, tummies, hips and the frontal display of genitalia. We remain the only species on the planet who can copulate standing vertical and facing each other. Feet are extremely well supplied by nerve pathways which transmit messages to multiple and diverse areas of the brain, including the sensory parietal lobe. By coincidence the sensory centre for feet lies adjacent to the sensory nerves of the genitalia. This may explain, why for some people, neural print-through causes their feet to become sexually expressive.


( Fire Art Image via pinterest)


According to Harrold & Legg (1986) long before shoes became costume for all they formed a major part of ritual. From the beginning, human decoration celebrated procreation demonstratively directing the observer’s attention to gender. The theory of Displacement of Effect supports this and upholds when we covered up, the head and feet became gender symbols. Subsequently the greatest motive for wearing clothes was sexual. Not in the fig leaf sense (sinful) but to further enhance the attractiveness of the wearer in order to procreate the species. Another common use of decoration in primitive society was the display of trophies. People decorated and scarified their body to protect themselves from imaginary evil spirits. In primitive culture the victor carried mementos of the vanquished which would include their testicles. Strength and courage of the hunted animals were much admired by hunters and gatherers who wore hides in the hope to harness these attributes. This may well account why shoes were made from fish and animal skins. But it took until the technology was available for leathers to be tanned and treated before shoes could have a protective function. Once this took place the need to decorate the shoe for luck became a subtle craft. We see the remnants of this in modern shoes, such as brogue patterns; or tassels (testicles) on loafers. Carrying lucky talisman within the shoes has a long history which continues to this day with the Penny Loafer.


(Emperor Septimius Severus Image via pinterest )


Rank, occupation and wealth were also encoded into types of clothing. Unshod feet in Roman times was the mark of a slave or woman; only male citizens of the city had the right to wear sandals. Military station was depicted by the height of boot worn by the soldier and in Mediterranean society; elevated sandals were worn by sex workers. Remarkably basic shoe design remains unchanged from antiquity.


(Kirtle Sleeves Image via Rosalies Medievel Woman )


Fashionable footwear was always the prerogative of the ruling classes and definitely the preserve of men. This all started to change in the thirteenth century when returning Crusaders brought back with them the concept of chivalry. Europeans embraced the concept of ideal beauty through the medium of visual arts and literature and womens’costume began a reflective change. International trade had led to the growth of towns and enrichment of the Italian mercantile classes with a resulting rich bourgeoisie. The women of the nouveaux riche wanted to emulate the privileges of nobility and became focused on perfecting the female body through the medium of sumptuous clothing.


( Roy Rogers Image via pinterest)


According to Belk (2001) as consumers we appear to have an innate preference for products that not only function well, but also express themselves. Males are often more daring and naughty than their female counterparts in what they choose to wear. One theory why men use heavier apparel to create illusionary effects of masculinity and virility is because they have fewer erogenous qualities. Women on the other hand use less to highlight their natural erogenous features. According to the Non Verbal Dictionary female footwear shows personality and uniqueness (I am someone special). Male Footwear is part of a uniform to mark membership in a group (I am a cowboy).


(Antonio Marras at Milan Fashion Week Fall 2017 Image via pinterest )


Footwear suggests connection with terra firma "both feet on the ground". An elevated heel implies the ability to defy the Earth's gravity whereas four wheel drive shoes send quite a different message. According to the Non Verbal Dictionary, women's shoes can be classified into three general groups. Revealing shoes are 'bare all' shoes with the toes, heel, ankle and top of the foot all visible and calling attention to the frailty of the small delicate foot. Concealing shoes transmit a suggestive erotic message of tight containment. Both proclaim femininity, individuality and sexual allure.


(High Heeled Sandals Image via pinterest)


High heels make the frame appear more curvatious with bosoms and buttocks protruding and less accentuation on the waist. Increased height may appeal to the height challenged as well as giving an outward appearance of a smaller foot. To the less well endowed, added height from heels encourages an attractive boyish appearance, so enjoyed by the ancient Egyptians. Masking shoes, the third category, down plays personality by discouraging its notice. Often worn with socks, sensible shoes tend to be boxy, sturdy and squared off.


( Men's fashions Image via pinterest )


Gender specific footgear for men fall into three categories: dominant, submissive or neutral. Dominant shoes are robust, wide, thick soled and heavy. Submissive shoes are narrow, lightweight thin soles, with tapering toes. Gracile to suggest vulnerability with a deliberate down play of foot's size and bluntness. The neutral shoe is fashionably bland and introverted. It is neither wide nor narrow, neither pointed nor blunt. The sole is neither thick nor thin, nor is the shoe obviously masculine or feminine. Neutral shoes project non-rebellious non-dominant anti-corporate mood in the work place.


(Wooden Heels Image via pinterest)


Shoes can be divided into different design lines, which suit certain types of feet. The Classic line caters for the average foot with its emphasis on refinement, elegance and high fashion. These shoes are sleek, slightly chunky with smooth circle or geometric shapes but no angles. The Dramatic line is more suited to the narrow foot with its trim sleek and elegant lines and emphasis on angular shapes. Small feet are highlighted in the Romantic line with soft flowing lines that showcase foot contours. Detailed but lavish footwear. Moderate to large feet are often best in natural lines which are shoes sometimes chunky and always funky. The Gamin line favours moderate to narrow feet. Sharp, straight and crisp footwear designed in geometric and asymmetrical shapes, worn in colourful leathers and often with dark hosiery (sheer).


(William A Rossi Image via National Shoe Retailer Assoc )


According to Rossi (1993), there are eight basic styles i.e. the sandal, the monk, the moccasin, the mule, the clog, the pump, the boot and the lacing shoe.


( Espadrilles Image via pinterest )


Sandals
Certainly one of the oldest and simplest forms of foot covering which date back many thousands of years. Stone Age sandals were a spontaneous invention, which helped protect vulnerable feet from alien environments. Later the spread of trade among Mediterranean countries accounts why sandals became associated with affluence but it took until the Romans before they became robust footwear, worn by the army. The trade of sandal making was almost lost after the Fall of the Roman Empire and only rediscovered in the early twentieth century when the heeled sandal was associated with Hollywood’s sirens. Now considered the sexiest shoe women can wear, the 'venez y voir' or come hither look is further enhanced with backless or slings back designs. All in an endeavour to catch 'back interest', that is admiring glances from suitable suitors whose eyes are transfixed on the beauty even after she has passed by. Sexy sandals are subtly erotic whereas bitchy sandals are flagrantly sexual (Jayne Mansfield). Women wearing the former are trying to convey a message, which says they want to be noticed and admired as feminine and sensuous women. According to Eisman (2002), today's male thong wearers may appear crude but beneath this veneer lurks a gentle, wounded soul. Dreamers and hopeless romantics choose Jesus sandals to represent their soulful and gentle personalities. Rough and ready types wear sport sandals similar in the way suburban dwellers drive four wheel vehicles. New Age self assured types exude their inner comfort by choosing reflexology sandals.


( Double Monk Image via Leonardo Shoes)


The Monk
The monk refers to the wide strap across the instep, which is attached to a buckle. The shoe was worn originally by Alpine monks in the 15th century and later caught a fashion following when ornate buckles took on the guise of shoe jewellery. Wearing them was a mark of prosperity and once again the prerogative of men. After the French Revolution, highly decorated shoes indicated social status and buckles soon became passé as the fashion for boots took over. Buckles meantime became popular with women's shoes. Today they survive in the most mundane form as fastenings for sandals and casual shoes worn by men and children. The monk style of shoe remains a male preserve and is worn by non conventional types assured in their mind their alternative retaining medium is an able match to the more predicable lacing persona. Men who wear peacock buckles are less sexually aggressive, more flamboyant, brazen, and ostentatious. Insecure types with a driving need for personality identity. However don't be fooled the flash exterior is superficial and under the surface lies a soft caring side to their nature, according to Eisman (2002).


( Cheyenne Moccasins Image via pinterest )


Moccasins
By far the oldest shoe, dating back 15,000 years. Mongol tribes who migrated across the Bearing Straight 9 (circa 30,000 BCE) probably wore a simple wrap around hide held on with rawhide thongs. More associated with tribes of North American Indians who lived on the Ottawa River near the northern tributaries of the St. Lawrence River moccasins were stylised with fringes and coloured beads. Each tribe had their own distinctive style and decoration, much of which would depict rank and occupation. Today moccasin shoes usually describe imitation moccasins, which had their origins in Norway. The Norwegian Peasant Slip-on (or weejun) was first imported to the US by tourists in the 1930s. When Gucci made leather loafers in refined calfskin with a metal snaffle across the instep this had instant appeal. Slick, successful sophisticates flocked to wear them. The Rolls Royce of shoes celebrated craftsmanship, grooming and conformity but with just a hint of excitement. This was often expressed latently in the snaffle design. A two tassel ornamentation was common and is thought the represent symbolic testicles found in many native customs. A gold chain had obvious sado masochistic association and would be worn by domineering types. Soon loafers were available in spectator style (two colours) and by the 50s, Penny Loafers became all the rage with the campus based Ivy Leaguers of the US. Here the testicles were replaced with a lucky penny, which was incorporated in the snaffle. Popular with Hooray Henries of the time, the shoes were full of potential and excitement, in truth of course the shoe style represented no change and security rather than adventure, hence the lucky penny. When low vamp loafers were designed for females and made in soft kid leather they guaranteed successful cross over. College kids wore suede loafers, which was the source of inspiration for blue suede shoes. Imitation moccasins are sensuous shoes, typified by the stylised flair, slightly feminine but overtly masculine, these shoes are preferred by the lounge lizard who is both vain and domineering. Charmers with intoxicating personality the shoe's exaggerated proportions and adornments give a clue to the wearer's true persona. On the positive side moccasin wearers value quality over trends and exude a relaxed elegance that is timeless and very alluring. These people are confident and comfortable to be with. They enjoy looking cool and revel in the good life. Beware bad lots who are attracted to square toed loafers these fellows suffer illusions of grandeur are often brash and certainly preoccupied with cash. Loafers for women are conservative or neuter shoes i.e. neither sex-attractive nor sex-distractive. Neuter shoes reflect a quiescent or semi-active libido preferred by middle aged married women.


(Wooden Clogs Image via startap.cat)


Clogs
Clogs describe wooden soled shoes traditionally worn by peasants and more recently associated with Scandinavia. Two basic types are the sabot (or wooden shoe) and the more fashionable clog (wooden soled shoe with a leather upper). Clog wearers are considered complex and intriguing characters usually cool types with a strange and difficult past that will leave you better for knowing him. One clog devotee is Brian May of Queen. Once a cloggie then always a cloggie, or so it seems. Many men are turned onto clogs by seeing well turned ladies wearing them. Some are even attracted to the noise the clog makes. Hence there are a lot of closet clog wearers out there.


(Mens Boots Image via pinterest )


Boots
Originally these were shoes with wrap around leggings and date back approximately 4.5thousand years. Later when the leather leggings resembled a bucket, the French called then 'butt' meaning water bucket. These evolved in boute and finally boot. Over the centuries boots have undergone many changes and been gendered for their troubles. Boots as a fashion invariably follow war and represent coping with threat. Certainly the most contrived style is cowboy boots which have little to do with real Wild West and more to do with urban macho wannabes. The cowboy boot invokes heroic myth of the west, which promulgates rugged individualism, independence, quiet strength, and alienation from civilisation. According to the Non Verbal Dictionary they are a sign of authority and suggest strength by adding stature and stability. A boot's snug contact with pressure sensitive Pacinian corpuscles of the lower leg provides tactile reassurance while supporting the long tendons that run to the feet. Boots stabilise the ankle. Research has shown women find men in cowboy boots more attractive. Highly decorated boots express the gentler feminine side of the narcissistic wearer who may be rather superficial but always entertaining, if only for a short time. Boots with pointed toes indicate intense ambition. Whilst the suave and sophisticated sharpie may give out assured confidence and good humour that is as much as you are likely to get from them. The fashion for sharp toes can be traced to the resurgence of paganism and in particular a celebration of Pryapus. Men challenged by the absence of height prefer high heels. Wearers of biker's boots appear control freaks. No surprise there. This who sport elasticised boots may be free spirits who enjoy the simple comforts in life. Modern guys prefer the Yellow Suede, Hiking Boots, suppressed machismo, emaciated by modern day domesticity. Most will lack adventure in their lives but have four wheel boots to show they are ready (if not always willing). Doc Martens lacing boots are the mark of natural loners who may not seek close relationships. Many have leadership qualities with total commitment to passionate causes. The physiological benefits of boots may give the feeling of security on the street. According to Australian journalist, Jane Fraser, Ugg boot (sheepskin boot) is to the foot what Vegemite is to the tongue, what maroon is to a Queenslander, what 'haitch' is to a Catholic. What she might be surprised to learn is elsewhere in the global village creative souls designed for success but tired of convention, wear Ugg Boots. This makes them a personality, which is both unpredictable and capable of the unexpected. The fashion boot without doubt has given liberated women freedom style and support. Not to mention a lot of pleasure to men.


(Block Heel Pumps Image via pinterest)


Pumps (Court Shoes)
The plain seamless pump started life as a heel-less shoe worn indoors. It was a slip on which did not extend beyond or above the vamp and quarter top lines, held onto the foot without a fastening, although later a wrap around strap like a ballet slipper was used. In the UK the pump was known as a court shoe. By the nineteenth century the slip on pump had become sophisticated worn by both men and women. A low front pump deliberately tantalised by exposing suggestive toe cleavage. When dandy Count D'Orsay introduced a pump style which was low cut on the sides to expose the curve of the long arch and the sinuous movements of the foot the shoe took on extra sensual components. The sensual trifecta was completed with the addition of higher heels. By the thirties daytime shoes were neat and feminine-looking with oval toes and straight, high heels. The classic court shoe was an everyday basic but the new look slender heeled sandals with ankle and T straps in reptile skins, soft kid, and suede and satin were very much the desire of most. Shoes were immaculately presented matt fabrics were always well brushed and leather buffed to a high gloss. Strappy designs were more evident in the more elegant evening shoes. The straps were sometimes plaited or made of satin ribbon and crossed over like ballet pumps. Other styles were dotted with glitter and fastened with fancy gold, silver or diamante buckles. The sides and heels of the shoes were sometimes decorated with tiny gold flecks or diamante tips. Gold and silver 'Charleston' sandals were very popular and a ready accessory for evening wear. Other shoes were covered with fabric to match a particular dress; alternatively dresses in plain velvet satin or chiffon were worn with patterned shoes, making pretty high-heeled sandals covered in eye-catching, glittering brocade. Hollywood loved two types of women's shoes i.e. the high heeled pump which always looked glamorous despite its inappropriateness to the many action scenes the heroines were depicted wearing them; and the thin strappy sandal as worn by Hayworth, Garbo and Davis represented a willing partner to seduction.Screen beauties rarely abandoned these stereotypical props and when they did it became a memorable event. Being filmed in anything else could only add further charm to their existing persona.


(Chopines Image via aands.org)


The origins of heeled shoes probably came from shepherds tending their flocks on steep mountainous country in Pre Hellenic Times. As trade spread across the Mediterranean the elevated sandal became a fashion vogue for rich and powerful men. Later elevated shoes were worn by actors and streetwalkers. The fashion heel for women ironically came in the sixteenth century after a short fling with platform shoes. Chopines were worn by Venetian women of substance both to celebrate the leg as well as (and probably more importantly) to display the sumptuous clothing of the times. Reported falls (or miscarriage) in pregnant women meant the platform was banned but cleaver shoemakers cored out the section of the platform corresponding to the ball of the foot. Ironically by stabilising the foot they created the first orthopaedic footwear or high-heeled shoe. Despite this the heeled shoe we know today could not have been made in the past, prior to developed lasting techniques used for mass production at the turn of the 19th century. Once heeled shoes became passé for fashionable women the style was still enjoyed by female sex workers, even after the Revolution. So popular was the style for heels among sex workers the French girls that immigrated to the US continued to wear them much to the delight of full blooded all American Males. Soon after the first US heel factory was opened. With the introduction of Hollywood came the need to depict visually heroes and villains, clothing took on a special meaning especially with improved cinema photography and the full body shot. Clothing stereo types included shoes where the heeled sandal represents the modern-day, Jezebel. This image was forever frozen with the introduction of the stiletto in the early fifties, which happened to correspond for many with the beginnings of a post war permissive age. High heels are seen as a rite of passage from girl to women. Blisters and sprains worn with pride in a similar manner to nickel allergies.


( 17th century shoes Image via pinterest )


Lacing Shoe
Lacing shoes were introduced in the seventeenth century in England. At first they were thought to be rather effeminate but later took a fashion hold when fops at Oxford University wore them in the eighteenth century. The Oxford shoe became a foot corset designed to highlight the curves of men's feet. Worn tight to the foot the shoes were smaller than the foot and always with a heel. This meant the man minced which became accepted norm for real me. Corn cutting became a popular service during this time. It took until the nineteenth century before the fashion crossed the Atlantic and came with English invasion. This movement would influence adult costume for the next half a century. To accommodate broader feet, Bluchers were adopted and lacing shoes become synonymous with conservative dress attire for both men and women. Patent Leather was developed in the thirties as a waterproof material for shoes. Now solid dependable types, stalwarts of community, wore lacing shoes. Not without its irony and despite their origins lacing shoes are classified as eunuch shoe for men, and sexless or comfortable footwear for women. The later is a euphemism for lesbianism. According to Rossi people who wear lacing shoes wish to voluntarily withdraw from natural concerns of sexual attraction e.g. funeral directors, paramedics, and nurses. Non conformists may wear brogue patterns or two-tone uppers indicating a psychosexual masquerade with the masculine costume smothering the peacock inside. Jack Kennedy was a man who preferred high fashion in footwear but conformed for his public image. Neuter shoes are neither sexy nor sexless neither fashionable nor non-fashionable. They exhibit a glimmer of promise at first inspection, but on a closer look are found wanting, i.e. a eunuch like quality. A conservative fashion with medium to low heel, semi-rounded toe, closed rather than open toe box. The colour subdued, the materials conventional and the ornamentation, if any, minimal. Passive styles for psychosexually passive people (Rossi, 1993).


( Liverpool Rubber Co Images via Graces Guide )


The sandshoe which is a canvas Oxford was an invention of the 19th century and although had humble beginnings without doubt heralded the beginning of the most popular footwear of existence. Middle class preoccupation with sport and recreation meant sport kits included dedicated sports shoes. BY the middle of the 20th century they became the icons of youth. Lacing shoes with attitude have become inseparable from youthful rebellion. Sport shoes are now perceived an essential part of ritual garb associated with both the best of being human as well as its darker side. From the time Jimmy Dean endorsed coolness, when he was photographed wearing tennis sneakers to MC Hammer rapped praise on his Adidas sneakers, the sporting Oxford has ruled supreme. People who wear sneakers are not too concerned with their looks but do prize comfort and security over anything else. Wearers of designer trainers are probably ambitious, motivated and driven in all their endeavours. Their materialistic outlook and competitive nature however puts them under enormous internal pressures. The carefree casual appearance of those wearing bowling shoes (a leather top hybred) belies a passionate conversationalist who is intensely romantic. These people are often well travelled and strongly opinionated. Traditionalists too self-conscious to be really cool, wear running shoes. These people are not part of the 'in crowd' but would dearly love to be. Large size, bold contrasts, and loud colours suggest youth and physical fitness. Often more theoretical than actual. Identification with team.


( Mules Image via pinterest)


The Mule
Mules or slip shoes started as heel-less, quarterless slippers worn in Elizabethan times. Later they became associated with the boudoir and are the ancestors of bedroom slippers, and worn by women of distinction. Richly endowed with silk and velvet these were often heavily bejewelled or highly decorated. During the nineteenth century when Manet's painting of Olympia was revealed to the public it caused a riot. The reclining courtesan was seen playfully holding her foot half in and out of her mules. The implications were obvious to all. The shoe has enjoyed a recent renaissance with Ath Leisure and has become more popular in the US, post '11/09'. Realisation the shoe could be a weapon, combined with widely broadcast images of discarded shoes left behind as people tried to escape falling masonry had a major impact. Increased security associated with travel, especially by air, has given the mule a new lease of life. The shoe is worn by pragmatists, people who enjoy comfort as well as fashion.


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Sensible Footwear
Sensible shoes are considered sexless, stripped of illusion and sexual promise. Neither do they seek sexual communication, nor do they receive any. They are shoes without personality and often worn through necessity. Sensible shoes are sterelotypically seen in service personnel, and might be a term used to describe orthopaedic footwear. Sensible footwear as a description first appeared in the thirties and was used to describe anti-fashion footwear which incorporated styles deemed inappropriate for a Western World preoccupied with Physical Culture. Today the term 'sensible shoes' is often used as a derogatory term by heterosexuals to describe lesbians.


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Barefeet
Before the rebellion of 1745, the Celtic population (of Scotland and Ireland) went barefoot all year round. Either sex, rich or poor prided themselves on going barefoot as if a sense of national pride. Sassenachs were considered less hardy because they wore shoes. Scots and Irish settlers to the colonies continued to go barefoot until the end of the 18th century. It is still very much in living memory that children and adults went barefoot in Australia not because of adversity but because it was second nature. Times are a changing however and intense fear of low socio-economic groups mean going barefoot today is not encouraged by private owners of public spaces. Hence people who continue to do so have made a life style choice which often alienates them from society. Most appear in perfect peace with themselves, refreshingly relaxed and content with the simple pleasures of life.

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Eisman K 2002 How to tell a man by his shoes Sydney:Pan Macmillan Australia.
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