One of my favorite fairy tales from when I was a child is
It's a story of a king who promised one of his daughters as a bride to anyone who could figure out why, after the princesses were locked into their room at night, their shoes would be worn to threads by the next morning.
(Yes, it sounds like false imprisonment, but we have to take into account that the story was written sometimes in the 1700's.)
When I first saw these shoes, I thought they were something Lady Gaga had worn until I looked closer and read that they're court shoes from about 1895. They're referred to as "Court Style" shoes, referring to the decorative buckle.
What's interesting is that they had only fabric or leather under the arch, similar to a dancer's split sole dance shoe. The fabric or leather arch allows the flexibility dancers need, but provides no support when your foot is at an angle.
It wasn't until 1957, when Sal Ferragamo came to the United States and took an anatomy class, did anyone consider using steel for the shank to create a stronger arch support.
"'I discovered', he wrote, 'that the weight of the bodies when we are standing erect drops straight down on the arch of the foot. I constructed my revolutionary lasts, which supporting the arch, make the foot act like an inverted pendulum.'"
This X-Ray of a high heel shows the metal shank running along the arch.
Neiman Marcus, Pam Patent Leather d'Orsay Pump, Nude, $525
While they are decidedly 'high end' shoes, it's nice to know there's science behind them that takes human anatomy into consideration to make sure they're not only comfortable, but give the proper support.
Not into heels?
They also have flats. And, God love 'em they even have their shoes in wide width!
And Ferragamos aren't just for women!
"Hugh Jackman is wearing a made-to-order Ferragamo leather lace-ups."
(Ok, I'll confess, this was just a way to sneak a photo of Hugh Jackman into the post - but he IS wearing Ferragamos!)
We don't always consider how much science goes into fashion just to make shoes comfortable enough for us to dance the night away.