Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/673

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Among soldiers and policemen, foot-soreness is a common complaint, and renders the man who has to endure it unfit for service. It is stated that, during the late East Indian wars, the native foot-soldiery, when ordered to "march," took off their regulation shoes and hung them on the ends of their muskets, while they went barefoot. Commanding officers reported great loss of men who could not keep up on account of foot-soreness, and were easily picked off by the enemy. A Highland regiment, when ordered to "charge" the foe, took off their shoes and charged barefoot, as they could do more effective work. The regulation shoes interfered with free muscular action. Dowie characterizes the shoe as a "Juggernaut of cruelty," saying it possesses wedge-toes, a rigid waist, high heels, and convex inner soles, and adds: "If a soldier be weak or lame in the feet, he can never apply with advantage the strength of his arm in charging the enemy, or in sustaining a charge, because the foot is that part of the mechanical system or leverage which rests upon the fulcrum, the ground, and, if you weaken the leverage at this important point, the strength of the whole system is reduced."

PSM V24 D673 Deforming pressure of high heels on the foot bone structure.jpg

Fig. 13.

The opinions of Mr. Dowie on this subject coincide with those of eminent military men. The defects which he enumerated were common in the shoes of our own soldiery during the late war, and were followed with the same results.

It is very hard to find any woman who will confess that her shoes are too tight, too short, or too high-heeled. Her shoes are usually "miles too big," and hurt by their looseness. If women complain of lame backs or aching feet, they will be sure the shoes have no part in it; because women are really not aware how they have departed from nature in this regard. The perfect female foot is described by a physician as follows: "It should have great breadth and fullness of instep, a well-marked great-toe, a long second toe, a small little-toe." Woman needs a strong and firm footing, particularly because of her function of motherhood, and yet this perfect foot is the exact opposite of