Friday, 22 July 2011

A Tiny History of Shoes

I’ve been walking for well over fifty years now
It’s no wonder my feet are so sore.
Perhaps it's got something to do with my stance
Or it could be the shoes that I wore.

My first shoes were Clarks, always measured to fit
Then checked with an X-ray machine*.
In those days we none of us knew of the risks
And we all loved to look at the screen.

I moved on to stilettos with heels thin as darts.
As I tottered and swayed down the street
The weight of my body was pushed to my toes
And I never considered my feet.

Nowadays all my shoes are the sensible sort,
Flat soles not a high heel in sight.
But I don’t understand it. I’m being so good,
Yet my feet give me grief every night!

*Shoe Fitting Fluoroscopes using x-rays to check that our precious baby toes weren’t squashed were in most shoe shops in the 1950s. They started to be withdrawn in the 1960s but some were still in use as late as 1970... scary but true!



  1. We start with flat heals and end with flat heals. A lovely post. Thank you. x

  2. I like your rhymey shoe poem. Too bad the 4 inch heels are the sex symbol of shoes. But.... we see movie stars on the red carpet in stilettos and looking so glam but if you run into them in real life, they are in sneakers like the rest of us.

  3. Wow - I didn't know that about the x-rays!! Wild.

    My feet are happiest when I'm barefoot :) I've never been able to wear stilettos.

  4. What a great post. I had no idea about the X-ray machines in shoe stores- crazy. Thanks for posting. Cheers~

  5. I remember back when baby and toddler shoes were a big deal-- had to support, had to fit perfectly, or the foot would not grow properly. My mom spend hundreds of dollars getting her grandchildren the "proper shoes."

  6. There was a toddler shoe that had a curve up the back that made us all fall over, me included. Do you remember them? My memories of our old money related to the cost of shoes and what my parents were not prepared to go over..not more than 49/11 for instance! I suppose I have always worn sensible shoes - if I can't break out into an emergency run I don't want to know..!

  7. I don't remember x-rays in shoe shops, but I did know about them. We have battles with my nearly-teen about shoes. I'm grateful that her school rules are really specific (only completely black - not a spot of colour; absolutely flat; no boots).

    I've never been into heels myself. I live in DMs and trainers.

  8. love the poem! I'm happiest in flip flops or sneakers. :)

  9. X-rays to check shoe fit? That is amazing!! Good idea. Too bad it's ... um ... dangerous. :)

    I've always had trouble with shoes because my feet are so big. I grew up in Hong Kong where the biggest size they sold was an American women's 8--and I wear a 10. I've always opted for comfort, though in summer I'm a flip-flops girl all the way. I've been told this will come back to haunt me later in life.


  10. Nice poem! I love high heels (and I'm one of the few people that can walk in them without tottering), but mostly I stick to flats, because I heard that high heels can be bad for our leg and feet muscles.


  11. argh, I know exactly what you mean, except I've always looked after my feet with proper fit etc, but even so they HURT :( and I've had to resort to orthotics which cost a small fortune and don't seem to have made much difference. The off the shelf Birkenstocks seem to be just as good and don't look so dorky. Hope you have better luck than me. Sue

  12. Haha! beautifully penned poem! As I don't own a car and never have (neither have my parents!), I've put my feet to real good use too!

    Duncan In Kuantan

  13. By the way, I like this new kind of 'wide-screen' presentation of your blog!

  14. Love the poem Ros.
    X raying our feet sure ensured a good fit - shame it turned out to be unhealthy ☺

    I never wore really high heels as I had a tendency to weak ankles.Now I'm glad that flats are in fasion and I love Nikes.
    My feet don't hurt .....but my that's a different story

  15. Hi Ros .. I remember 'dem days! Except I never tottered - couldn't manage that .. I had Bally shoes (large heels) and wider feet - could manage those. Exactly - now comfortable flat heeled shoes ...

    Love the poem .. shoes are the staff of life - we plop on two of them every day for long hours .. cheers Hilary

  16. Hi all, sorry I haven't responded individually. We went away for a weekend family get-together and blogging took a back seat *tut tut and it won't happen again!*

  17. I really enjoyed your poem, Rosalind.
    I mostly wear flats these days.

    Margie :)

  18. Nice poem. And yes, I remember the x-ray machines.

  19. Alex Gutteridge said...27 Jul 2011, 11:09:00

    Aah! Brought back memories of Rowbotham's in Leicester and going on the rocking horse first.
    After shoes were fitted I was allowed to go up the spiral staircase and spend pocket money on a new outfit for my Sindy doll. Happy days!
    Thank you for reminding me.

  20. Enjoyed your poem. I too have the feet that give me grief. But, my own fault I'm still sporting the high heels far too often.