Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let's Talk Shoes

Image courtesy of Herr_Bert

High heels make your calves pop.

High heels make your butt and chest stick out.

High heels make your legs look longer.

High heels make your feet smaller.

High heels make you taller.

High heels are professional.

High heels cause bunions and arthritis.

High heels cause lower back pain.

High heels damage your knees.

High heels are the modern equivalent of corsets and foot-binding.

High heels keep you from running away - that's why men like them on you.

You've probably heard most if not all of these statements about high heels. You probably know feminists who complain about high heels for the health problems they cause, but you probably also know feminists who love high heels for the image of height, power, and professionalism that comes with them. And you're probably bored with hearing the same old arguments about high heels.

But I want to talk about shoes, yet again. Why? Because I have fallen desperately in love with Birkenstocks.

You see, Birkenstock is a German shoe company that does the craziest thing: it makes shoes and sandals that are shaped like feet. If you're a man, you're probably thinking, "Yeah? So? My shoes are shaped like my feet." If you're a woman, you're probably either crooning to your own birkenstocks right now or noticing that the shoes you're actually wearing are shaped like a boomerang. The soles of my birkis fan out where my toes fan out, instead of growing tight where my toes fan out.

Crazy, I know.

Did you know that your feet are one of the most sensitive parts of your body? And did you know that what happens to your feet tends to affect everything else that goes on with your body? All your joints, your aches and pains, your posture? Of course you knew. You know this stuff. But, really think about it for a minute. That's pretty intense, huh? Especially since it is so hard to find shoes that actually treat your feet well - and which you can also wear in a formal, semi-formal, or professional setting. I mean, for men that seems pretty do-able. Men's dress shoes have a pretty standard shape to them, and while they may not all be comfortable, they seem to at least fit the shape of your foot. But when it comes to women's formal shoes, heels are hell, and flats don't provide any support - not to mention, they either fall off or pinch.

I don't intend to advertise for any shoe companies (though this sounds very much like an ad), so I'll drop the issue for now and move on. But seriously, when designing shoes that are the shape of feet is so logical, who on earth is designing all the boomerang-shaped high heels?

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