Fashion and Footwear


In his article, Fashion and Foot Deformation, Dr. William Rossi explores the influence that fashion has had and continues to have foot health. The following quotes from Rossi’s article push us to think about the effect that status, fashion, and culture can have on our health.

“There is a significant message seeking to get through here: Fashion is not a modern invention.  It has been with us since the earliest civilizations.  There is no mystery or “mystique” about fashion.  Nor is it flighty or frivolous or fickle or shallow.  And least of all is it associated with “vanity”.  It is, instead, a vital force of human nature and essential to our state of well-being and self image.  To be “properly dressed” means to be dressed in the current fashion to suit the occasion.  And perhaps the single most important role of fashion: It must reshape and deform the body or some particular part of it, actually or in an illusory manner. ”

“Has fashion “crippled” or “ruined” our shoe-wearing feet? These are extremist labels. The shoe-wearing foot clearly has been dramatically reshaped and deformed by our shoes, yet most people assume they have a “normal” foot. And, disturbingly, even most podiatrists assume that the average shoe-wearing foot, free of any distress or visible lesion, is normal
and with natural form. Thus the ironic reversal of standards: the abnormal becomes the norm, the unnatural the natural.”

“But the only fundamental difference between men’s and women’s footwear is the height and design of the heel. Otherwise the male foot is as much a captive of the shoe as is the female foot.  In any shoe-wearing society it is as impossible to find a fully natural or normal male foot as it is to find a comparable female foot. The toes of the male shoe-wearing foot have lost as much as 60 percent of the natural prehensibility.”

How has fashion influenced your footwear choices and foot health?

*To read Dr. Rossi’s article in its entirety click here.

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