Choosing well-fitting shoes (1895)

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Selecting footgear

Dangers attending the use of bad-fitting shoes

Too much attention cannot well be given to the footwear of young girls, since much of the comfort of their after life depends upon the care which they receive during their early years, says a writer in the New York Commercial Advertiser.

Ready-made shoes should be studiously avoided, for in the majority of cases they are constructed upon lines diametrically opposed to nature’s plan, while individual peculiarities can of course receive no consideration whatever. The sole of the ancient sandal may be taken as a model of the required shape, since it follows all the graceful curves of the foot and allows free play of all the muscles.

The danger attending the use of ill-fitting shoes, as well for grown persons as for children, cannot be overestimated. If the foot is naturally large it is the most arrant folly to attempt to reduce its size, since compression is inevitably followed by more or less serious deformity, while not infrequently it is attended by disease. Shoes that are sharply pointed at the toe should be avoided by wide-footed women, for not only is the result — viewed from whatever standpoint — undeniably ugly, but the shoe will always spread or split after it has been worn a few times. High heels, too, tend to permanently widen the ball of the foot owing to the full weight of the body being thrown forward, while they are a fruitful source of enlarged toe joints and ingrowing nails, to say nothing of greater and lesser evils.

It is scarcely necessary to say that no large or irremediably ill-shaped foot should be encased in a colored or other wise showy boot. In this case, black should be adopted upon all occasions, and always in the softest or most pliable of fabrics. Aggressive decoration in any form will invariably attract attention to the size or deformity of the foot, and should therefore be avoided. Long skirts, though a disadvantage in many instances, are decidedly advantageous in this, inasmuch as they can always be relied upon — particularly if they are well weighted and beflounced — to “cover a multitude of sins.”

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