Manolo has been blogging deliciously (also here) on the podiatric puritans who try to take the fun out of fashionable shoes. Here’s the Washington Times?s Stephanie Mansfield reporting on the alarm occasioned by this summer’s newest shoe trend: sky-high wedge sandals:
“‘I’ve had two patients in the last 10 days who have slipped off their wedges,’ said Dr. Rock G. Positano, a celebrity podiatrist in New York.
“The doctor said both patients were young women who had sustained twisted ankles. He is advising patients who wear the wedge heels to do so for short periods of time, at a pool party or the beach, and not to attempt to stroll for blocks in them.
“?And I?m afraid, with vacation time coming up, many women are going to take them for sightseeing. They?re just asking for trouble,” Dr. Positano said. “These shoes affect a person?s ability to know where the ground is. They don?t have that mechanism anymore. There?s no stability.?”
OK, so you ditch the wedges and don some equally stylish jeweled flip-flops in which you know exactly where the ground is: a half-inch under your toes. Then you?re in a different kind of health trouble, according to Corina Zappia of the Village Voice:
“[T]his is far from a brilliant choice, according to Dr. Louis Galli, a podiatrist at Mt. Sinai Hospital. ?If you have a break in the skin, because you?re walking and the dirt gets into your flip-flop, it can actually work its way into the skin and you can develop a virus or fungal infection,? he said. Galli, a board-certified foot-and-ankle surgeon, said he sees an increase in ankle sprains and fractures during the summer months because people are more likely to trip while wearing shoes, like flip-flops, that have no lateral support. Also, he said most women ?need a little of a heel, because it brings the ground up to them. The flip-flop, the fact that it?s flat, actually causes your foot to slap down and puts more pressure on the ball of your foot.?”
“?Ayyyyyy! The flip-flops they are too low!? … ?Ayyyyy! The wedges they are too high!? ? ?Ayyyy! The sky it is falling on your feet!!?”
Now I?ve been having a bit of trouble with my brand-new wedges myself (Inky readers know that I?m a shoe-aholic), not being the most graceful of gals. So I joined the huge fray (nearly 50 reader comments so far) over at Manolo?s. But I?d rather fall and bloody my chin on a Washington, D.C., brick sidewalk than don the ghastly Birkenstocks and similar “sensible” monstrosities that are deemed healthful summer footwear.
My larger argument is that the attack on pretty summer sandals high and low is part of a general ideological assault on women?s joy in being women. There is a contingent of radical feminism that actually loathes women and denounces their efforts to make themselves more beautiful–which is supposed to be a capitulation to the enemy, men. The ideal for the ideologues is “sensible” unisex attire from head to toe, especially toe. All in the name of podiatric health, of course.
Last summer even the Washington Post?s usually savvy fashion critic Robin Givhan joined the ranks of the politically correct foot-fetishists. She visited a Prada shoe show in New York and came away pooh-poohing the high-heeled mules and quoting the alarm of many a podiatrist. (See my “Let Me Have My Pradas,” Aug. 17, 2004.)
Sure, you shouldn?t try to run a marathon in tipsy wedges, but lighten up, podiatrists! Sometimes girls just want to have fun.