So I’ve got this weird thing ~ I’m easily irritated by the sound of loud shoes on the sidewalk behind me when walking down the street. I don’t know why, maybe it has something to do with my dislike of high heels. Ya think that could be it? Anyway, I found this little gem when reading Mrs. A. Walker’s Female Beauty: As Preserved and Improved by Regimen, Cleanliness and Dress. While she doesn’t actually agree with my theory that all women should wear flat shoes ~ they’ve just got to be better than those pointy beasts! ~ Mrs. Walker does make some valuable observations.
1840: Tightness in Shoes
Ladies are very apt to torture their feet, to make them appear very small. This is exceedingly ridiculous: a very small foot is a deformity. True beauty of each part consists in the proportion it bears to the rest of the body.
A tight or ill-made shoe not only destroys the shape of the foot, it produces corns and bunions; and it tends to impede the circulation of the blood. Besides, the foot then swells and appears larger than it is, and the ankles become thick and clumsy.
The pernicious effect of tight or ill-made shoes is evident also in the still and tottering gait of these victims of a foolish prejudice: they can neither stand upright, walk straight, nor enter a room properly.
To be too short, is one of the greatest defects a shoe can have; because it takes away all chance of yielding in that direction, and offering any compensation for tightness in others, and, in itself, it not only causes pain and spoils the shape of the foot by turning down the toes and swelling up the instep, but is the cause of bad gait and carriage.
Very bright coloured shoes, except in full dress, are in very bad taste, and make the foot appear large.
Wearing slippers down at the heel, is a slovenly habit, exposes the heel to cold, and causes an unbecoming development of it.
Source: Walker, Mrs. A. Female Beauty, as Preserved and Improved by Regimen, Cleanliness and Dress. New York: Scofield and Voorhies, 1840.
~ pp. 345-46 ~