Medieval pointy-toed shoes led to Cambridge bunion surge

Montero

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Regarding custom made shoes to feet, they do exist already in a specialist way. I had orthotic insoles made for me some years ago - foot mould sent off to a factory - and they had brochures of the shoes you could have made with said insole built in. But they were of the order of £300 a pair and the orthotics had already cost me about £120 including the appointment. The factory kept the mould from your foot for 6 months then binned it. It all went a bit wrong on the first iteration, as the podiatrist had done the mould by wrapping my feet in plaster cast while I was lying down, and the orthotics were not wide enough as I have feet that spread a moderate bit when standing. There are other ways of doing orthotics as in starting with a foot shaped base plate and sticking on the bits needed during the appointment, and you get to stand on them before you pay for them - but they are probably not as long lasting as the moulded at a factory kind.
But having machines to make made to measure shoes - yup, that is needed.
SF is full of press a button, have a new outfit, or in the case of Miles Vorkosigan, have your specialist tailor who knows how to modify the standard programme to match your odd shaped body. But shoes rarely get a mention unless they are some cool shape.
 

Aquilonian

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"they either had more free time and resources than we'd assume"

Getting away from the all-important topic of pointy shoes here, but from all I've read people in the Palaeolithic had loads of free time, even Medieval peasants did pretty well for holidays due to the large number of saints' days, in fact the people with the least amount of free time would have been the early Victorian British working class who were kept at it for up to 16 hours a day in some jobs. They also had the worst diet of any period in history, and were the most physically stunted. Conventional history used to always portray the progression from hunting to farming to industry as a story of constantly improving living conditions but this was actually not true at all. The fascinating question, which I've not seen answered to any satisfaction, is how were our stone age ancestors persuaded to take up farming when it was harder work and provided a worse diet than their previous lifestyle?
 
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Aquilonian

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Using a plaster mould is the old-school method but takes much longer. Modern podiatrists reckon that the stick-on orthotics are just as effective, even though they look much less impressive, the problem being as you say that the foot changes shape depending on what its doing e.g. lying down or standing on it. For this reason, however skilfully the moulded impression is taken, allowance then has to be made for the difference in foot shape when standing and walking, and this allowance consists of adding extra plaster to the cast which is done freehand as it were. The main benefit of the plaster casts is that it looks a lot more impressive to the patient who will therefore be willing to pay more for it, also any pods who trained in recent years will not have been taught how to do the casting, so those who still have that skill can charge more for their rarer talent.
 

sknox

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I attribute a good deal of clothing discomfort to the industrialization of clothing. Before that, clothing was largely custom made--either made at home or from a tailor. It could still be made badly, of course, but it was not commonly standardized. And neither are human bodies.

I'd take the original article more seriously if they could point to confirmatory evidence from elsewhere. England was hardly at the forefront of fashion. Are we seeing bunions in Italy? In France? Burgundy? They're basing some very broad conclusions on a tiny bit of evidence.
 

Montero

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Or baggy. Industrialised fitted clothing is the problem. There seems to be an awful lot of cut-price luxury goods from industrialisation - as in mass produced copies of things that people wouldn't have been able to afford when it was hand made.
Regarding baggy, having made English Civil War soldier's clothing, it was not made to mould to the body. In fact most of it was based on squares or rectangles of cloth folded over with no darts or cutting into the cloth. Minimum wastage. Breeches got their shape by pleating into the waistband.
And for posher clothes.tailors' pattern books included diagrams of how to lay out the pattern pieces to maximise the cloth being turned into clothing.
I grew up being bought clothes sized to be grown into. I never did fully grow into my second school blazer.

There are a wonderful series of books by Janet Arnold, where she has measured surviving tailored clothes and provides diagrams of all the pattern pieces. It provides hours of fascination, trying to turn them into a pattern to fit somebody. The first round teaches you the exact shape of the original person wearing the clothes, then you start to work out how to adapt.
 
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BigBadBob141

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The battle of Gettysburg in 1863 during the American Civil War was fought over a warehouse full of boots.
But the interesting thing is the boots had no left hand and right hand like the shoes and boots of today.
A pair of these boots had each individual boot the same, they gradually wore into a left hand or right hand form after being worn for some time.
Can you imagine how uncomfortable they probably were when one first started to wear them!
 

Montero

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Speaking as a re-enactor, you pad with thick socks, and you can swap them over between your feet to even out the wear, like swapping the tyres on a car.
 

Abernovo

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I think, with modern medical technologies, we should be able to get shod like horses - and then it's clippety clop time
You just want an excuse to wear steelies* all the time. That said, I'm now imagining you in Holy Grail garb, as a Monty Python extra.

*Steel toe-capped shoes/boots, just in case someone's not heard the term.
 

Montero

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I hate shopping for shoes, but just imagine how you'd wear out sheets and kick your partner in bed (or be kicked by). Or step on the cat's tail. Or maybe I am picturing too much like an iron shoe.
 

J-WO

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This set me to thinking; what's the ultimate future human foot protection gonna look like? Imagine a far future where we walk around barefoot but the soles of our feet intelligently harden to the environment around them (Or on command of the foot's owner)? So, if indoors on a soft rug, they're post-bath soft but out on a hike they harden to rubbery leather. Weird, but... kinda handy.
 

Montero

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Gloves as in built in hand protection would be useful, Vulcan-like eye protection - as in third membrane to close in emergency, skin colour change to protect from UV.
It just occurs to me that KB Spangler has written Stoneskin - where there are a lot of gengineered humans, one race of which lives on a harsh desert type planet with sand that can strip the skin off a normal human but they have massively toughened skin that is partially under their control. Effectively armour plating. It's the first book in a new series - technically it is the prequel to the new series as it is how the main character in the series came to join the "witches" - there is a touch of the Dune Navigator's Guild here - intersystem travel thanks to a talented few being able to talk to "the Deep" (rather than taking spice).
 

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