Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/758

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more of them frequently has to find room for itself either above or under its fellows; the joints all rigid, the muscles atrophied and powerless; the finely formed arch broken down; everything which is beautiful and excellent in the human foot destroyed, to say nothing of the more serious evils which so generally follow—corns, bunions, in-growing nails, and all their attendant miseries.

Now, the cause of all this will be perfectly obvious to any one who compares the form of the natural foot with the last upon which the shoemaker makes the covering for that foot. This, in the words of

PSM V17 D758 Normal and boot deformed feet.jpg
Fig. 15—A, natural form of the sole of the foot, the great toe parallel to the axis of the whole foot; B, the same, with outline of ordinary fashionable boot; C, the necessary modification of the form of the foot consequent upon wearing such a boot.

the late Mr. Dowie, "is shaped in front like a wedge, the thick part or instep rising in a ridge from the center or middle toe, instead of the great toe, as in the foot, slanting off to both sides from the middle, terminating at each side and in front like a wedge; that for the inside or great toe being similar to that for the outside or little toe, as if the human foot had the great toe in the middle and a little toe at each side, like the foot of a goose!" The great error in all boots and shoes made upon the system now in vogue in all parts of the civilized world lies in this method of construction upon a principle of bilateral symmetry. A straight line drawn along the sole from the middle of the toe to the heel will divide a fashionable boot into two equal and similar parts, a small allowance being made at the middle part, or "waist," for the difference between right and left foot. Whether the toe is made broad or narrow, it is always equally inclined at the sides toward the middle line, whereas in the foot there is no such symmetry. The first or inner toe is much larger than either of the others, and its direction perfectly parallel with the long axis of the foot. The second toe may be a little larger than the first, as generally represented in