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Feb 02 2006

Footwear Korner


Not shown: the rotating knives

Reader Carroll sends in this week’s pair of cruel shoes. I have to say, anyone who would willingly subject herself to these belongs in some sort of home.

56 comments

6 pings

  1. Laurelin

    omg, that’s absolutely sick. I fucking hate the patriarchy that likes to cripple women’s feet and call it ‘sexy’ or ‘fashionable’.

    No intelligent comments here from me. Just fuck the patriarchy. I blame it.

  2. tisha

    Oh god/dess they remind me of my pointe shoes from ballet class. Ouch.

  3. Liz

    Those shoes belong to a woman who is very generously underwriting 13 years of private shcool, orthodonture, and a junior year abroad for the lucky offspring of her podiatrist.

  4. BitingBeaver

    Oh. My. God. What the hell sort of mockery is this? Ugh, Twisty I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more disgusting example of Patriarchy-as-expressed-in-footwear than this.

  5. laughingmuse

    Seriously?

    I mean, seriously? That isn’t just a plastic cast of an artist’s rendition of the social crippling of women?

    Wow. That is some fucked up shit right there.

    And they are really ugly, too.

  6. kcb

    God, they’re like a footwear IQ test. If you wear them, you fail!

    When I was twelve I was furious at my folks for not letting me progress to the ‘en pointe’ ballet class. Their objection: the pointe shoes, upon which these ‘shoes’ appear to be based. They didn’t want me screwing up my feet. I was the only kid in the class whose parents raised that objection. And now I’m grateful.

  7. Ms Kate

    What, are these for ballerinas who can no longer walk on their feet normally? Or some evil orthopedist’s dream of becoming wealthy repairing the damage?

  8. AndiF

    Obviously, in light of recent political events, marketers have recognized that it is time to bring back foot-binding. These shoes are just the lead-in to the exultation of “golden lilies” as the height of female achievement.

  9. Mimi

    Foot-binding! That’s what these bring to my mind.

    When I was little and took ballet lessons, I remember seeing my teacher’s feet after years of dancing on toe. I wanted to immediately become a boy dancer or quit altogether. Had no choice–had to quit but never got the question out of my mind: Why did the boy dancers not have to suffer so much?

    Now I know to blame the patriarchy!

  10. M

    Aaaaaaaaah…. I saw a whole set of those a while back. I’d blocked them from my mind. Now my toes will be in spasm for the whole of the afternoon.

  11. Amber

    What?! These are just wrong, not to mention heinously ugly. Even stripper shoes are better designed for actual walkability. But I have a sneaking suspicion that’s not what these are REALLY for anyway.

  12. lauragayle

    Same reaction here as Mimi — who could or would want to be constantly en pointe? At least the box in toe shoes is built to accommodate it and dancers have special gear to help support the foot (although it’s not a substitute for skill, practice, and basically ignoring the pain). Is this a fetish or just a way to shackle women through fashion?

  13. Steph

    Sure, anyone who wears those should be in some sort of home, but how the hell are they going to walk there?

  14. wheelomatic

    Is it just me or is that a band-aid under the strap of her left foot? And any one else see the little weird round welts on her ankle? Makes me sad, so sad.

    fucking patriarchy

  15. Laurelin

    Mimi- just wondered, do boy ballet dancers not have to dance en pointe? I’ve always wondered about that.

    Looks like a band-aid to me. When I was young I always had to cover my feet in the things when I tried to wear ‘women’s shoes’. I’m so glad I saw sense and switched to flats and trainers!

  16. Jodie

    I don’t think the person wearing the shoes is even standing up, because no skin presses against the shoe anywhere. Gah.

  17. CafeSiren

    What the hell?

    Not even in my three-inch-heel-wearin’ front office slave days would I have worn these. Because they’re not only cruel and unusual; they’re ugly.

    I’ll bet even the Manolo would agree.

  18. manxome

    Can’t shake the feeling that this looks like a cartoon. The shoes too big, the pointy-toe exaggeration. What lies above the crop? A huge polka-dot little-girl dress with a big yellow ribbon arount the waist? Dots for eyes with eyelashes as big as combs?

  19. lunadyke

    This shit never ceases to amaze me. Just when ya thought stilettos were the number one enemy to women’s feet. Gee, I’m glad the fashion industry exists. What would therapists, eating disorder clinics, and orthopedic surgeons do otherwise?

  20. Betsy

    Are you sure these are real? They’re not a gag gift kind of thing? Because I can’t imagine anyone actually wearing them.

  21. flea

    Wow. Has Manolo seen these?

  22. deviousdiva

    These are the ugliest, most disgusting, foot crippling, women deforming pieces of crap I have ever seen. Whoever designed(!) them should be forced to wear them from now on. I am a heel-phobic and womens shoe hater; and this just reminds me why.

  23. mcmc

    looks like bondage gear to me–they call ‘em ballet boots? actually easier than toe-shoes though, because they have a heel to lean back on. Nobody’s actually trying to bring these into the mainstream, are they?

  24. Liz

    These things show up all the time in the Tokyo teenage street fashion fanzines like Fruits. I don’t think these kids actually walk anywhere in them, they just stand around Harajuku and pose. The kids, whose ages average between 12 and 16, are very playful, irreverent, creative, and colorful with their outfits and hairdos but alas like youngsters everywhere in that age demographic, they’re occasionally prone to extreme lapses in judgment.

    Now show us the damn rotating knives already!

  25. Sharoni

    Those shoes, along with a whole raft of like contraptions, made the internet rounds last year, purporting to be “all the rage” in Japan. I don’t see how anyone but a prima ballerina could wear those things, and ballerinas’ feet bleed regularly for their art. Are we to believe that regular women wear these things? I think not. What we can believe is that some godbag, patriarchal asshat, who doesn’t want his daughter vaccinated against HPV, would love to see her scampering around in these.

  26. LMYC

    Anyone stupid enough to wear these things deserves to. I’m the first person to blame the patriarchy for women’s oppression, but there comes a time when a woman needs to just wake the fuck up and come to her fucking senses.

  27. The Scarlet Pervygirl

    If you removed the heel entirely and re-soled them, they’d be really cute mary-janes. I mean, red patent-leather.

    As they are, though, I have to say: is it just me, or do they look like blood-dipped hooves?

  28. peacebug

    at last! barbie shoes!

  29. Jennifer

    I *think* these are supposed to be some kind of fetish shoes, which don’t actually get worn to be walked in.

    Alas, I have seen a similar picture of shoes like that, and that was their stated purpose.

  30. Sylvanite

    Merciful heavens. I already walk like a cripple on the rare occasions I try to wear heels. Those look like they would make me into an actual cripple. Thanks a lot, patriarchal shoe industry!

  31. Lavoris

    I’m not saying they’re not sick and ugly, but those are fetish shoes. They’re not intended to be walked in or even worn outside the bedroom.

  32. binky

    This is fetish shoe industry territory. Does that make it doubly patriarchal?

  33. Burrow

    Yeah, fetish catalouges are full of ‘em. The knee high vinyl “ballerina” boots. Ugh.

  34. Delphyne

    Can’t we blame the men who buy them for their female partners then use guilt trips or fear to persuade them to put them on. I bet women aren’t the main purchasers of these monstrosities.

  35. NeoCleo

    To all the other posters:

    This is not a joke. This pair of shoes is just one of about six or seven foot-crippling styles made by a designer who is . . . . surprise. . . a male. I think a fitting punishment for this crime is to make him spend a day walking around in these monstrosities, but only if it would not prove to be enjoyable for him.

    Anyone else?

  36. Cass

    Yes, this look bad, but they probably get more comfortable after the surgical alterations…

  37. Caja

    I don’t think anyone wearing these is expected to be able to walk – or totter – around in them. Just, you know, sit and look sexy. Or something. Because you couldn’t possibly walk – much – in those. Which is the whole point. It’s totally fetish footware – any goth or fetish clothing store usually has at least half a dozen styles of footware built along those lines. I never see anyone at clubs wearing them, though; I think they’re for more um, private parties.

    I don’t think they’re quite as horrid as those evil, evil, STAINLESS STEEL stilettoes that got some press a few weeks ago.

  38. Sharoni

    The whole point of high heels (and I’m guilty of wearing them myself) seems to me to be to cripple the woman wearing them so she can’t run away from anyone she might want to run away from . . . i.e. a patriarchal godbag. These just do it a little more efficiently than most.

  39. piny

    Has Manolo seen these?

    Well, for God’s sake nobody show him.

  40. Twisty

    You can bet that the first person I sent this picture to was the Manolo. I have just heard back from him. He identifies them as “Japanese fetish shoes” and says “you wouldn’t believe how many people” have sent him such pictures. He also agrees that they are inappropriate for a state of the union address.

  41. Gillie

    Where do we find the websites that sell them? Or the designers? Can we have a little ‘chat’ with them?

  42. wordgirl

    Those are what women would wear AFTER they’ve been victims of Chinese footbinding. Holy fucking god! They probably come with a complimentary whip in a matching drawstring bag for the convenience of self-flagellation.

  43. Kathleen

    Oooh! En pointe ballet shoes with *trainers*!

    Gag.

  44. Twisty

    Gillie in #41: “Where do we find the websites that sell them? Or the designers? Can we have a little ‘chat’ with them?”

    Admit it. You want to buy a pair!

  45. acm

    am I the only one that thinks that the reason the model’s feet look so lovely is because she *isn’t putting any weight at all into these horrific shoes*???

  46. Jezebella47

    acm – no, no, of course she’s not putting any weight on her feet. you don’t *stand up* in fetish shoes. They are only to be worn while on one’s knees or on one’s back. A girl who can stand up in her shoes is a girl who can run away, and nobody wants *that*, now do they?

    I had an unfortunate brush with fetish wear websites recently while trying to find a custom bra-maker somewhere in the South. I’m sick if ill-fitting bras, and sick of supportive bras that look like Sister Mary Henry would wear them. Turns out the closest one is in Houston, but Canada, bless ‘em, has an entire “Association of Bra-Makers” and they all have websites. One more reason to move to Canada. Oh, and get this: the custom lingerie joint in Houston is called ‘Snares of Venus’. Genius name, eh?

  47. supermouse

    I cannot even wear normal heeled shoes… but this … these things will give me nightmares for days.
    These shoes …shoes? How about binding accessories for the victim to not run away?
    Can someone please make public teh designer? I have a couple of ideas I want to share with him.

  48. chrome...

    You people amaze me. You live blindly in a world where women are all victims. Have you ever discussed fetish with anyone? Have you ever been in a dominant/submissive relationship? Doubtful. These shoes are fetish play shoes. Not worn to work or even walked in for that matter. Most of the time I’ve encountered shoes like these have been in situations where there is a female dom and another female or male submissive wearing them. It’s a game that some people are into, and it’s just that. So cease your pathetic whining and wincing and let people live the lives they want to.

    Or just unite as the victims you are and wallow in your misery!!!

  49. Lalaroo

    What’s even stranger is that it’s clearly two left feet in that picture. Weird.

  50. vitaminC

    “The whole point of high heels (and I’m guilty of wearing them myself) seems to me to be to cripple the woman wearing them so she can’t run away from anyone she might want to run away from”

    I think the ‘point’ of heels is to make the legs look longer and shaplier (more shapely?)–flexed calves and all that. Gotta admit, my legs have never looked more lovely than when I did drag.

    That being said, most men would consider immobilization a feature rather than a bug. Ugh.

  51. ktbug ladydid

    Wow. A pair like this was used on that WONDERFUL tv show America’s Next Top Model (please read: sarcasm). Pointe shoes are one thing-at least your foot can move appropriately in them. But these? Begging for problems. Just looking at them makes my toes break!

  52. Jezebella

    Ballet pointe shoes are also pretty destructive, feet-wise.

  53. Jill

    And ballet in general is a tool of the patriarchy.

  54. Jezebella

    Well, yes, there’s *that*. I was afraid saying so might ignite a little tempest of the “but ballet is ART!” variety. ART!, that is, that cripples and deforms its practitioners.

  55. Imaginary

    I feel a little sick because I think those are really cool. I know that’s the cultural conditioning talking.

  56. drew

    The shoes are sick, we’ve seen this theme a million times.

    I don’t like the womyn-blaming and scoffing and shit going on in the comments though. Like “Anyone stupid enough to wear these things deserves to. I’m the first person to blame the patriarchy for women’s oppression, but there comes a time when a woman needs to just wake the fuck up and come to her fucking senses.” That makes me sad. A lot of other commenters echo this sentiment though they aren’t so explicit about it. Not to say that many or most of the womyn wearing these shoes haven’t internalized patriarchy and aren’t unacceptably complicit. But I wouldn’t assume that’s true for all womyn wearing them, and I have known some kick-ass, patriarchy blaming, militant feminists who could rock those shoes (probably in a fetish context) with awareness. (I’m just imagining, I don’t actually know anyone who has them so don’t assume I’m being defensive.) I don’t appreciate the “more-feminist-than-thou” attitude and restrictions about how a feminist “obviously” can or cannot behave (again, not talking about clear cases of complicity).

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