Sunday, July 09, 2017

DVs: Green and Gold old timers

DVs & KT-26s sounds like jargoneeze from computer geeks than two traditional Australian icons, but that’s what they are. As Michaels Caine is famed for saying, “not a lot of people know that.” The Dunlop Volley started life as a tennis shoe, by now it has become an Australian icon every bit the match of ugg boots and the humble thongs. The secret of the DV is their soft sole, which gives excellent grip on all surfaces, even greasy rocks. If you do not believe me take a look at your friendly roof tiler, DVs are popular with the roof walkers because the sole patterns give excellent traction. DVs are also preferred and recommended by many walking clubs in the Blue Mountains. Canyon walking presents many challenges to the foot and DVs appear to match 4-wheel drive footwear types.

DVs, to the uninitiated. are lightweight canvas topped sports shoes, comparatively cheap as these things go, retailing under 50 dollars. The soles have been improved over the years and give sure grip but DVs do wear quickly. So be prepared to buy two pairs a year. This compares favourably with brand leader equivalents which are 4 or 5 times more costly.

The Dunlop KT-26s is an up-market version of the tennis shoe. Stronger then DVs, the upper is made from leather with reinforced heel cups which provides much needed padding, and stronger carbon rubber soles give better cushioning with a tread traction superior on dry surfaces but not so good on very wet rocks and logs. KT-26s are ideal for general walking with the cheaper DVs more indicated in the conditions of canyon walking. As with all sports shoes these are rarely available in half sizes and it is very important to have shoes that fit and feel comfortable. From their inception in the late 30s, Dunlop sport shoes represented the thinking sportsperson’s footwear and had no equal. For two decades between the 50s to the 70s, they became synonymous with Australian sport. A household name during the nation's sporting 'Golden Era', post war they became associated with many of the sporting legends of the time Adrian Quist, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Tony Roche, John Newcombe, Evonne Goolagong, Margaret Court, Peter Thomson, Greg Norman and more lately Mark Philippoussis.

In the days before hard courts the Dunlop Volley was perfect for grass court competition. Devised by Quist these were an excellent example of matching sport with shoe design. By the eighties the fad for fashion trainers, with airbags and springs, heavily endorsed by sporting personalities, saw a meteoric rise in multinationals such as Nike and Reebok. The popularity of Sneakerisation remained until the turn of the century. Despite this, the old Australian icon has kept going by its loyal band of fans to become an evergreen and far outselling any of its trendy rivals. Cream rises to the top.

In the 21st century, the humble Dunlop has had a complete turnaround as retro fashion enjoys resurgence among the youth market. Their popularity is due in no short measure due to skateboarders (sk8r’s), thrashers need tough, lightweight footwear with excellent grip and protection. And that is precisely the quality mark of the Dunlop Volley and K26. The post grunge and nouveaux punk generation of urban dwellers well suits the Dunlop. In the 70s, rather than follow the fashion fads of their rivals invested in technology making models like KT26 (1976) which were tough, hardwearing, excellent quality and good value. They were without doubt not only the best running shoes of their time but crossed over in other outdoor leisure activities such as trekking as well as teenage fashion. Not high fashion, but a rite of passage, the first pair of trainers, kids were bought. With cantilever soles made of black rubber these were guaranteed to leave marks on any school gymnasium. A fabulous source of frustration to authority and the “Kilroy was here attitude” appealed to the adolescent. Shoes with literally indestructible soles, and uppers that attracted teenagers meant these were good valued purchases for parents too.

Now the same properties, minus bells and whistles are needed for extreme sport and this has introduced them to a new legion of fans. Ironically the new surfies rejected the hi tech outlets preferred by the major sports shoe retailers in preference for niche surfie shops or discount outlets. Now of course there is a major industry supported by global consumers. Despite Australians buying more designer trainers than any other western country sale has shown negligible growth over the last four years. Dunlop now has a 14% market share in dollar terms and in volume terms the brand is the clear market leader.

Dunlop Volley is the top-selling athletic shoe (sold over 24 million pairs since 1939), and the number-two brand is Dunlop, KT26. But if you have not laid eyes on Dunlop’s since your youth, don’t be surprised to find the green-and-gold has been replaced with a red-and-black design. So be assured the new Volley shoes are made to the same design used in the 1950s but today are made from out-of-this-world materials (aka synthetic polymers).

The Sports Factor ABC

Reviewed 29/02/2016

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Tennis bum, tennis elbow and the couch potato

Tennis Bum is not so much a medical condition as a mental state of mind when the tennis season is on. Millions of couch potatoes sit glued to the box with little or no movement thereafter. A numb bum is usually the result caused by watching too much tennis. Fortunately I am of a certain age where the impetus to play the game, much as I love to watch it, has become an avenue of pleasure closed off. But I cannot say the same for the countless throngs of couch potatoes who inspired by what they see on the telly decide to play tennis with the inevitable outcome of getting blisters. Now as we have seen with the professionals it is amazing how sore feet can impair peak performance and blisters are no exception.

The simple blister is caused by shear. Friction causes damage to the skin cells and fluid gathers then separates the skin surfaces. Severity determines depth. A common cause of the simple blister is the foot rubbing against the inside of a shoe or sock. Damaged caused by dynamic friction roughens the shoe or sock surface and the constant wearing over the skin causes an inflammatory reaction. The skin fills with fluid, which initially tries to separate opposing surfaces. Pressures cannot pass through fluid and the associated burning pain ironically provides the two ways the body can protect itself from further damage. If ignored and the player plays on, the blister bursts and infection is a likely outcome. Hours and hours of play drive the skin separation deeper and sometimes a bursa (fluid filled sac) or bursitis (inflamed bursa) will arise.

The term bunion is a kind of bursa, known medically as an advantageous bursa and is formed to protect the big toe joint, the major lever of the foot. Painful bunions will stop your sporting prowess just ask any lady who suffers from them and they will soon confirm how they burn with exquisite pain. Lleyton Hewitt has been plagued with sore feet throughout his professional career because of the punishment his regime. When ladies complain of sore feet, they usually have a bunion or hallux valgus, or both. Hallux means big toe and valgus describes an anatomical position, where the big toe is tilted and faces outward diagonally towards the small toe. The forefoot looks like an arrowhead. There are more than 150 operations for hallux valgus. One critic of forefoot surgery was Hans Rudolph Mayer, a Swiss medic, he believed many procedures had been designed to alter the female foot not for functional reasons but instead for cosmetic reasons to fit typical female shaped shoes. He called this the Cinderella Principle. In Cinderella (Walt Disney) the glass slipper was broken by the grotesque ugly sister. However in the original version of the fairytale, the wicked mother cuts the daughters foot in order to fit the shoe.

So if you want to play the odd game of tennis you might like to take a few sensible precautions. First thing is to get a pair of tennis shoes that fit the feet comfortably. The range of tennis footgear is extensive and these have been designed to cope with the stresses of the game, ordinary trainers may seem similar but are not. Slipping on the old shoes for a few sets is bound to aggravate the skin. Some people advocate greasing the skin which gives lubrication and does cut down friction but this can be messy. Others prefer to use surgical spirit to toughen the skin. This may appear logical but is not recommend because it dries out the skin and makes it less able to deal with friction. The secret to prevent blisters is to wear two pairs of socks. When friction occurs it rubs the two layers of socks and not the skin. Any old war wounds like burst blisters or small new ones should be covered with a strapping such as a band aid. The tight binding of the skin offers an outer cover to the damage area. Always take time to warm up before a session by stretching and warm down after a game. This prevents stiffness and reduces the risk of injury. Aches and pains should not be ignored and persistent pain may need professional care. Follow these simple steps and keep up the practice and I may see you on the telly, next year.

Reviewed 8/07/2017

History of Biomechanics

Who does not like a riddle?

What have the French Revolution, Charlie Chaplin, Korean War and NASA all in common?

A. Biomechanics.

The term is now used more and more in everyday language and has come to mean the study of human movement. Or to be more precise, the study of normal movement. Patho-mechanics is the technical term to describe abnormal movement.

At the time of the French Revolution people, especially poor people, started to matter and hospitals which were glorified brothels where people went to die, usually in great pain and distress, started to clean up their act. Increased concerns for the proletariat meant radical thinking and the teaching hospital was invented. Clinical experts were engaged to teach as well as practice. Body systems were referred to as biomechanics. Modern interpretation takes rather a narrow meaning and relates it to human movement only, but originally it meant the complete biological system.

Throughout history many researchers have tried to analyse walking but it took to the introduction of cinematography before real insights were made. Even today the strides made in the early 1920's and 30's have not been surpassed.

One of the first people to acknowledge walking as a basic human trait, on celluloid anyway, was Sir Charles Chaplin the man with the original funny walk. To accentuate these characteristics Chaplin filmed many of his sequences backwards then to the delight of his audience run them forward. Why peculiar walks should amuse is a strange phenomenon, which has never been satisfactorily explained. But I digress.

Frame by frame analysis helped researchers later make much sense of the human condition.

By the 50s an alarming number of wounded veterans returned, first from Korea then later the Vietnam Wars, without much in the way of care programs. Middle America were appalled at the apparent lack of research and development in the science of rehabilitation for amputees and those physically afflicted by combat. Greater political pressures resulted in the introduction of a national rehabilitation initiative. Coincidentally at the same time, Americans were concerned Russia would dominate space and began to throw zillions of dollars into aerospace development.

On a plane flying to Seattle for separate conferences were two strangers sitting in adjoining seats. By chance one was the director for new US Rehabilitation Research and Development program, the other the NASA supremo. They had a few cocktails to break the ice before they started a casual conversion to pass the hours of travel ahead. Not long after the introductions were over (and a few more cocktails downed) the aerospace engineer said rather boldly. "Do you know if we made aeroplanes like you make false knees, our planes would never get off the ground."

"What do you mean?" came the puzzled reply.

" You chaps try to replace the knee with something that looks like the human knee but does not work like one. We, on the other hand, design planes from first principles and observe the laws of nature."

The two scientists agreed to meet the next day in a city park after their respective engagements for an experiment. One brought a couple of bottles of wine and the other a few sticks of French bread.

The aerospace engineer told his new friend to take some bread and dip it into a glass of wine before feeding it to the ducks. He asked him to take a sip of wine each time he fed the same ducks. After half an hour or so, he asked his companion to stand up and walk in a straight line. Now somewhat inebriated the orthopod staggered and stumbled. Safely sitting down he asked the tipsy orthopod to watch the ducks who were able to walk in a perfectly straight line. “Now, explain that.” He said.

That day was the beginning of a very long and fruitful relationship which was also the birth of biomedical engineering or modern biomechanics. From that keen observation the science of orthoses and prostheses changed to reflect Newtonian Physics and Momentum Physics with emphasis of three and four (time) dimensional analysis. Combined with cinematography, anthropometry, force and pressure analysis, modern biomechanics has been incorporated into sports science and forms a major part of preparing elite athletes for the Olympic Games.

Today, biomechanical analysis helps commentators understand the intricacies of movement that are unseen by the naked eye and also assists sportwear designers to manufacture performance enhancing footwear and swim suits, the effects of which are so eagerly awaited by spectators in expectation of record breaking performances.

Reviewed 8/07/2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Pharaohs' toes

The oldest case of mummified Hallux Valgus has been found in an Egyptian mummy recovered in the necropolis of Sharuna (Middle Egypt) and dated to the end of the Old Kingdom (circa 2100 BC). The first metatarsophalangeal angle of 28° was measured confirming hallux valgus. The common orthopaedic condition in adult feet is clinically significant with a 12° deviation of the hallux. The etiology can be congenital, associated with the occurrence of metatarsus primus varus, or acquired, which is often associated with wearing tight-fitting shoes.

Researchers at the University of Basel, Switzerland were excavating a shaft tomb not far from Luxor, when they discovered a wooden prosthetic toe. It is thought the prosthesis belonged to the daughter of an Egyptian high priest and was buried about 3000 years ago. Wear marks indicated the device was regularly worn and had the ability to function as an articulation meeting the criteria of a prosthesis, as opposed to a cosmesis (false part)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Shoes 'r' Us: Psychosocial and psychosexual profile of shoes

The word shoe (scoe) is Anglo-Saxon, meaning 'to cover furtively,’ and according to Rossi (1993) this is not in a protective sense but rather to hide an erogenous zone. Body parts play a key role in non verbal communication and may be decoded as cortically meaningful (Givens, 2002). Simply put shoes outwardly represent a non-verbal sign of gender, presence, and personality. According to Sonja Bata (founder of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto), "Shoes hold the key to human identity." They appear unparalleled in their ability to reveal the personality of the wearer. Many believe this is due to the encoded messages they contain which are recognised by our primal subconscious. Where this is most obvious perhaps is related to shoe choice and our psycho-sexual make up and personality. Pond, reminds us shoes are totems of disembodied lust, in some cases so strong as to magically transform us into beautiful, handsome, confident, or heroic persons. They appear true talisman and worthy of a fetishism. Today footwear communicates general values, personality traits, roles and goals. Our psychological, cultural and expression of our spirit are all well served by our footwear. They influence the way we think, feel, act as well as react to others, or so we are told? The author attempts to decipher the meaning of shoes and how they potentially reflect the personality of the wearer. This should not however, be seen as a precise science but merely an amusing illumination.

With the exception of hands and faces, clothing has an important social significance which tells much about the personality of the wearer. When observing strangers the sight of clothes provided the safest distance to judge friend or foe, with more intimate relationships dependent upon the finer facial features, body gestures and speech play. Seems clothing serves three more functions: decoration, modesty and protection. Whilst the latter may appear the most logical it is not supported by history (both ancient and modern). Fig leaf mentality may explain why we have covered up, but by far the major reason for clothing, is decoration. The essential purpose of decoration was to beautify bodily appearance in order to attract admiring glances from others thus fortify self-esteem. Modesty, on the other hand, makes us hide body parts in an attempt to refrain from drawing the attention of others. When decoration and modesty are pitted together this can provide a psychological conflict resulting in a clothing neurosis. The degree of harmony or compromise between these conflicting interests may be clearly seen in shoes.

Does that mean feet are sex organs? Sadly no, but they do exhibit unique features which separate us from all other beings. We have a weight bearing heel, inside arch, and big toe which enabled the species to develop an upright stance and maintain it throughout the waking day. Sigmund Freud argued whatever the cause of walking the consequence was eye sight was perfected over the other senses. Bi-pedal gait forged distinguished buttocks (another human trait), bosoms; legs, thighs, tummies, hips and the frontal display of genitalia. We remain the only species on the planet who can copulate standing vertical and facing each other. Feet are extremely well supplied by nerve pathways which transmit messages to multiple and diverse areas of the brain, including the sensory parietal lobe. By coincidence the sensory centre for feet lies adjacent to the sensory nerves of the genitalia. This may explain, why for some people, neural print-through causes their feet to become sexually expressive.

According to Harrold & Legg (1986) long before shoes became costume for all they formed a major part of ritual. From the beginning, human decoration celebrated procreation demonstratively directing the observer’s attention to gender. The theory of Displacement of Effect supports this and upholds when we covered up, the head and feet became gender symbols. Subsequently the greatest motive for wearing clothes was sexual. Not in the fig leaf sense (sinful) but to further enhance the attractiveness of the wearer in order to procreate the species. Another common use of decoration in primitive society was the display of trophies. People decorated and scarified their body to protect themselves from imaginary evil spirits. In primitive culture the victor carried mementos of the vanquished which would include their testicles. Strength and courage of the hunted animals were much admired by hunters and gatherers who wore hides in the hope to harness these attributes. This may well account why shoes were made from fish and animal skins. But it took until the technology was available for leathers to be tanned and treated before shoes could have a protective function. Once this took place the need to decorate the shoe for luck became a subtle craft. We see the remnants of this in modern shoes, such as brogue patterns; or tassels (testicles) on loafers. Carrying lucky talisman within the shoes has a long history which continues to this day with the Penny Loafer.

Rank, occupation and wealth were also encoded into types of clothing. Unshod feet in Roman times was the mark of a slave or woman; only male citizens of the city had the right to wear sandals. Military station was depicted by the height of boot worn by the soldier and in Mediterranean society; elevated sandals were worn by sex workers. Remarkably basic shoe design remains unchanged from antiquity.

Fashionable footwear was always the prerogative of the ruling classes and definitely the preserve of men. This all started to change in the thirteenth century when returning Crusaders brought back with them the concept of chivalry. Europeans embraced the concept of ideal beauty through the medium of visual arts and literature and womens’costume began a reflective change. International trade had led to the growth of towns and enrichment of the Italian mercantile classes with a resulting rich bourgeoisie. The women of the nouveaux riche wanted to emulate the privileges of nobility and became focused on perfecting the female body through the medium of sumptuous clothing.

According to Belk (2001) as consumers we appear to have an innate preference for products that not only function well, but also express themselves. Males are often more daring and naughty than their female counterparts in what they choose to wear. One theory why men use heavier apparel to create illusionary effects of masculinity and virility is because they have fewer erogenous qualities. Women on the other hand use less to highlight their natural erogenous features. According to the Non Verbal Dictionary female footwear shows personality and uniqueness (I am someone special). Male Footwear is part of a uniform to mark membership in a group (I am a cowboy).

Footwear suggests connection with terra firma "both feet on the ground". An elevated heel implies the ability to defy the Earth's gravity whereas four wheel drive shoes send quite a different message. According to the Non Verbal Dictionary, women's shoes can be classified into three general groups. Revealing shoes are 'bare all' shoes with the toes, heel, ankle and top of the foot all visible and calling attention to the frailty of the small delicate foot. Concealing shoes transmit a suggestive erotic message of tight containment. Both proclaim femininity, individuality and sexual allure.

High heels make the frame appear more curvatious with bosoms and buttocks protruding and less accentuation on the waist. Increased height may appeal to the height challenged as well as giving an outward appearance of a smaller foot. To the less well endowed, added height from heels encourages an attractive boyish appearance, so enjoyed by the ancient Egyptians. Masking shoes, the third category, down plays personality by discouraging its notice. Often worn with socks, sensible shoes tend to be boxy, sturdy and squared off.

Gender specific footgear for men fall into three categories: dominant, submissive or neutral. Dominant shoes are robust, wide, thick soled and heavy. Submissive shoes are narrow, lightweight thin soles, with tapering toes. Gracile to suggest vulnerability with a deliberate down play of foot's size and bluntness. The neutral shoe is fashionably bland and introverted. It is neither wide nor narrow, neither pointed nor blunt. The sole is neither thick nor thin, nor is the shoe obviously masculine or feminine. Neutral shoes project non-rebellious non-dominant anti-corporate mood in the work place.

Shoes can be divided into different design lines, which suit certain types of feet. The Classic line caters for the average foot with its emphasis on refinement, elegance and high fashion. These shoes are sleek, slightly chunky with smooth circle or geometric shapes but no angles. The Dramatic line is more suited to the narrow foot with its trim sleek and elegant lines and emphasis on angular shapes. Small feet are highlighted in the Romantic line with soft flowing lines that showcase foot contours. Detailed but lavish footwear. Moderate to large feet are often best in natural lines which are shoes sometimes chunky and always funky. The Gamin line favours moderate to narrow feet. Sharp, straight and crisp footwear designed in geometric and asymmetrical shapes, worn in colourful leathers and often with dark hosiery (sheer).

According to Rossi (1993), there are eight basic styles i.e. the sandal, the monk, the moccasin, the mule, the clog, the pump, the boot and the lacing shoe.

Certainly one of the oldest and simplest forms of foot covering which date back many thousands of years. Stone Age sandals were a spontaneous invention, which helped protect vulnerable feet from alien environments. Later the spread of trade among Mediterranean countries accounts why sandals became associated with affluence but it took until the Romans before they became robust footwear, worn by the army. The trade of sandal making was almost lost after the Fall of the Roman Empire and only rediscovered in the early twentieth century when the heeled sandal was associated with Hollywood’s sirens. Now considered the sexiest shoe women can wear, the 'venez y voir' or come hither look is further enhanced with backless or slings back designs. All in an endeavour to catch 'back interest', that is admiring glances from suitable suitors whose eyes are transfixed on the beauty even after she has passed by. Sexy sandals are subtly erotic whereas bitchy sandals are flagrantly sexual (Jayne Mansfield). Women wearing the former are trying to convey a message, which says they want to be noticed and admired as feminine and sensuous women. According to Eisman (2002), today's male thong wearers may appear crude but beneath this veneer lurks a gentle, wounded soul. Dreamers and hopeless romantics choose Jesus sandals to represent their soulful and gentle personalities. Rough and ready types wear sport sandals similar in the way suburban dwellers drive four wheel vehicles. New Age self assured types exude their inner comfort by choosing reflexology sandals.

The Monk
The monk refers to the wide strap across the instep, which is attached to a buckle. The shoe was worn originally by Alpine monks in the 15th century and later caught a fashion following when ornate buckles took on the guise of shoe jewellery. Wearing them was a mark of prosperity and once again the prerogative of men. After the French Revolution, highly decorated shoes indicated social status and buckles soon became passé as the fashion for boots took over. Buckles meantime became popular with women's shoes. Today they survive in the most mundane form as fastenings for sandals and casual shoes worn by men and children. The monk style of shoe remains a male preserve and is worn by non conventional types assured in their mind their alternative retaining medium is an able match to the more predicable lacing persona. Men who wear peacock buckles are less sexually aggressive, more flamboyant, brazen, and ostentatious. Insecure types with a driving need for personality identity. However don't be fooled the flash exterior is superficial and under the surface lies a soft caring side to their nature, according to Eisman (2002).

By far the oldest shoe, dating back 15,000 years. Mongol tribes who migrated across the Bearing Straight 9 (circa 30,000 BCE) probably wore a simple wrap around hide held on with rawhide thongs. More associated with tribes of North American Indians who lived on the Ottawa River near the northern tributaries of the St. Lawrence River moccasins were stylised with fringes and coloured beads. Each tribe had their own distinctive style and decoration, much of which would depict rank and occupation. Today moccasin shoes usually describe imitation moccasins, which had their origins in Norway. The Norwegian Peasant Slip-on (or weejun) was first imported to the US by tourists in the 1930s. When Gucci made leather loafers in refined calfskin with a metal snaffle across the instep this had instant appeal. Slick, successful sophisticates flocked to wear them. The Rolls Royce of shoes celebrated craftsmanship, grooming and conformity but with just a hint of excitement. This was often expressed latently in the snaffle design. A two tassel ornamentation was common and is thought the represent symbolic testicles found in many native customs. A gold chain had obvious sado masochistic association and would be worn by domineering types. Soon loafers were available in spectator style (two colours) and by the 50s, Penny Loafers became all the rage with the campus based Ivy Leaguers of the US. Here the testicles were replaced with a lucky penny, which was incorporated in the snaffle. Popular with Hooray Henries of the time, the shoes were full of potential and excitement, in truth of course the shoe style represented no change and security rather than adventure, hence the lucky penny. When low vamp loafers were designed for females and made in soft kid leather they guaranteed successful cross over. College kids wore suede loafers, which was the source of inspiration for blue suede shoes. Imitation moccasins are sensuous shoes, typified by the stylised flair, slightly feminine but overtly masculine, these shoes are preferred by the lounge lizard who is both vain and domineering. Charmers with intoxicating personality the shoe's exaggerated proportions and adornments give a clue to the wearer's true persona. On the positive side moccasin wearers value quality over trends and exude a relaxed elegance that is timeless and very alluring. These people are confident and comfortable to be with. They enjoy looking cool and revel in the good life. Beware bad lots who are attracted to square toed loafers these fellows suffer illusions of grandeur are often brash and certainly preoccupied with cash. Loafers for women are conservative or neuter shoes i.e. neither sex-attractive nor sex-distractive. Neuter shoes reflect a quiescent or semi-active libido preferred by middle aged married women.

Clogs describe wooden soled shoes traditionally worn by peasants and more recently associated with Scandinavia. Two basic types are the sabot (or wooden shoe) and the more fashionable clog (wooden soled shoe with a leather upper). Clog wearers are considered complex and intriguing characters usually cool types with a strange and difficult past that will leave you better for knowing him. One clog devotee is Brian May of Queen. Once a cloggie then always a cloggie, or so it seems. Many men are turned onto clogs by seeing well turned ladies wearing them. Some are even attracted to the noise the clog makes. Hence there are a lot of closet clog wearers out there.

Originally these were shoes with wrap around leggings and date back approximately 4.5thousand years. Later when the leather leggings resembled a bucket, the French called then 'butt' meaning water bucket. These evolved in boute and finally boot. Over the centuries boots have undergone many changes and been gendered for their troubles. Boots as a fashion invariably follow war and represent coping with threat. Certainly the most contrived style is cowboy boots which have little to do with real Wild West and more to do with urban macho wannabes. The cowboy boot invokes heroic myth of the west, which promulgates rugged individualism, independence, quiet strength, and alienation from civilisation. According to the Non Verbal Dictionary they are a sign of authority and suggest strength by adding stature and stability. A boot's snug contact with pressure sensitive Pacinian corpuscles of the lower leg provides tactile reassurance while supporting the long tendons that run to the feet. Boots stabilise the ankle. Research has shown women find men in cowboy boots more attractive. Highly decorated boots express the gentler feminine side of the narcissistic wearer who may be rather superficial but always entertaining, if only for a short time. Boots with pointed toes indicate intense ambition. Whilst the suave and sophisticated sharpie may give out assured confidence and good humour that is as much as you are likely to get from them. The fashion for sharp toes can be traced to the resurgence of paganism and in particular a celebration of Pryapus. Men challenged by the absence of height prefer high heels. Wearers of biker's boots appear control freaks. No surprise there. This who sport elasticised boots may be free spirits who enjoy the simple comforts in life. Modern guys prefer the Yellow Suede, Hiking Boots, suppressed machismo, emaciated by modern day domesticity. Most will lack adventure in their lives but have four wheel boots to show they are ready (if not always willing). Doc Martens lacing boots are the mark of natural loners who may not seek close relationships. Many have leadership qualities with total commitment to passionate causes. The physiological benefits of boots may give the feeling of security on the street. According to Australian journalist, Jane Fraser, Ugg boot (sheepskin boot) is to the foot what Vegemite is to the tongue, what maroon is to a Queenslander, what 'haitch' is to a Catholic. What she might be surprised to learn is elsewhere in the global village creative souls designed for success but tired of convention, wear Ugg Boots. This makes them a personality, which is both unpredictable and capable of the unexpected. The fashion boot without doubt has given liberated women freedom style and support. Not to mention a lot of pleasure to men.

Pumps (Court Shoes)
The plain seamless pump started life as a heel-less shoe worn indoors. It was a slip on which did not extend beyond or above the vamp and quarter top lines, held onto the foot without a fastening, although later a wrap around strap like a ballet slipper was used. In the UK the pump was known as a court shoe. By the nineteenth century the slip on pump had become sophisticated worn by both men and women. A low front pump deliberately tantalised by exposing suggestive toe cleavage. When dandy Count D'Orsay introduced a pump style which was low cut on the sides to expose the curve of the long arch and the sinuous movements of the foot the shoe took on extra sensual components. The sensual trifecta was completed with the addition of higher heels. By the thirties daytime shoes were neat and feminine-looking with oval toes and straight, high heels. The classic court shoe was an everyday basic but the new look slender heeled sandals with ankle and T straps in reptile skins, soft kid, and suede and satin were very much the desire of most. Shoes were immaculately presented matt fabrics were always well brushed and leather buffed to a high gloss. Strappy designs were more evident in the more elegant evening shoes. The straps were sometimes plaited or made of satin ribbon and crossed over like ballet pumps. Other styles were dotted with glitter and fastened with fancy gold, silver or diamante buckles. The sides and heels of the shoes were sometimes decorated with tiny gold flecks or diamante tips. Gold and silver 'Charleston' sandals were very popular and a ready accessory for evening wear. Other shoes were covered with fabric to match a particular dress; alternatively dresses in plain velvet satin or chiffon were worn with patterned shoes, making pretty high-heeled sandals covered in eye-catching, glittering brocade. Hollywood loved two types of women's shoes i.e. the high heeled pump which always looked glamorous despite its inappropriateness to the many action scenes the heroines were depicted wearing them; and the thin strappy sandal as worn by Hayworth, Garbo and Davis represented a willing partner to seduction.
Screen beauties rarely forsook these stereotypical props and when they did it became a memorable event. Being filmed in anything else could only add further charm to their existing persona.

The origins of heeled shoes probably came from shepherds tending their flocks on steep mountainous country in Pre Hellenic Times. As trade spread across the Mediterranean the elevated sandal became a fashion vogue for rich and powerful men. Later elevated shoes were worn by actors and streetwalkers. The fashion heel for women ironically came in the sixteenth century after a short fling with platform shoes. Chopines were worn by Venetian women of substance both to celebrate the leg as well as (and probably more importantly) to display the sumptuous clothing of the times. Reported falls (or miscarriage) in pregnant women meant the platform was banned but cleaver shoemakers cored out the section of the platform corresponding to the ball of the foot. Ironically by stabilising the foot they created the first orthopaedic footwear or high-heeled shoe. Despite this the heeled shoe we know today could not have been made in the past, prior to developed lasting techniques used for mass production at the turn of the 19th century. Once heeled shoes became passé for fashionable women the style was still enjoyed by female sex workers, even after the Revolution. So popular was the style for heels among sex workers the French girls that immigrated to the US continued to wear them much to the delight of full blooded all American Males. Soon after the first US heel factory was opened. With the introduction of Hollywood came the need to depict visually heroes and villains, clothing took on a special meaning especially with improved cinema photography and the full body shot. Clothing stereo types included shoes where the heeled sandal represents the modern-day, Jezebel. This image was forever frozen with the introduction of the stiletto in the early fifties, which happened to correspond for many with the beginnings of a post war permissive age. High heels are seen as a rite of passage from girl to women. Blisters and sprains worn with pride in a similar manner to nickel allergies.

Lacing Shoe
Lacing shoes were introduced in the seventeenth century in England. At first they were thought to be rather effeminate but later took a fashion hold when fops at Oxford University wore them in the eighteenth century. The Oxford shoe became a foot corset designed to highlight the curves of men's feet. Worn tight to the foot the shoes were smaller than the foot and always with a heel. This meant the man minced which became accepted norm for real me. Corn cutting became a popular service during this time. It took until the nineteenth century before the fashion crossed the Atlantic and came with English invasion. This movement would influence adult costume for the next half a century. To accommodate broader feet, Bluchers were adopted and lacing shoes become synonymous with conservative dress attire for both men and women. Patent Leather was developed in the thirties as a waterproof material for shoes. Now solid dependable types, stalwarts of community, wore lacing shoes. Not without its irony and despite their origins lacing shoes are classified as eunuch shoe for men, and sexless or comfortable footwear for women. The later is a euphemism for lesbianism. According to Rossi people who wear lacing shoes wish to voluntarily withdraw from natural concerns of sexual attraction e.g. funeral directors, paramedics, and nurses. Non conformists may wear brogue patterns or two-tone uppers indicating a psychosexual masquerade with the masculine costume smothering the peacock inside. Jack Kennedy was a man who preferred high fashion in footwear but conformed for his public image. Neuter shoes are neither sexy nor sexless neither fashionable nor non-fashionable. They exhibit a glimmer of promise at first inspection, but on a closer look are found wanting, i.e. a eunuch like quality. A conservative fashion with medium to low heel, semi-rounded toe, closed rather than open toe box. The colour subdued, the materials conventional and the ornamentation, if any, minimal. Passive styles for psychosexually passive people (Rossi, 1993).

The sandshoe which is a canvas Oxford was an invention of the 19th century and although had humble beginnings without doubt heralded the beginning of the most popular footwear of existence. Middle class preoccupation with sport and recreation meant sport kits included dedicated sports shoes. BY the middle of the 20th century they became the icons of youth. Lacing shoes with attitude have become inseparable from youthful rebellion. Sport shoes are now perceived an essential part of ritual garb associated with both the best of being human as well as its darker side. From the time Jimmy Dean endorsed coolness, when he was photographed wearing tennis sneakers to MC Hammer rapped praise on his Adidas sneakers, the sporting Oxford has ruled supreme. People who wear sneakers are not too concerned with their looks but do prize comfort and security over anything else. Wearers of designer trainers are probably ambitious, motivated and driven in all their endeavours. Their materialistic outlook and competitive nature however puts them under enormous internal pressures. The carefree casual appearance of those wearing bowling shoes (a leather top hybred) belies a passionate conversationalist who is intensely romantic. These people are often well travelled and strongly opinionated. Traditionalists too self-conscious to be really cool, wear running shoes. These people are not part of the 'in crowd' but would dearly love to be. Large size, bold contrasts, and loud colours suggest youth and physical fitness. Often more theoretical than actual. Identification with team.

The Mule
Mules or slip shoes started as heel-less, quarterless slippers worn in Elizabethan times. Later they became associated with the boudoir and are the ancestors of bedroom slippers, and worn by women of distinction. Richly endowed with silk and velvet these were often heavily bejewelled or highly decorated. During the nineteenth century when Manet's painting of Olympia was revealed to the public it caused a riot. The reclining courtesan was seen playfully holding her foot half in and out of her mules. The implications were obvious to all. The shoe has enjoyed a recent renaissance with Ath Leisure and has become more popular in the US, post '11/09'. Realisation the shoe could be a weapon, combined with widely broadcast images of discarded shoes left behind as people tried to escape falling masonry had a major impact. Increased security associated with travel, especially by air, has given the mule a new lease of life. The shoe is worn by pragmatists, people who enjoy comfort as well as fashion.

Sensible Footwear
Sensible shoes are considered sexless, stripped of illusion and sexual promise. Neither do they seek sexual communication, nor do they receive any. They are shoes without personality and often worn through necessity. Sensible shoes are sterelotypically seen in service personnel, and might be a term used to describe orthopaedic footwear. Sensible footwear as a description first appeared in the thirties and was used to describe anti-fashion footwear which incorporated styles deemed inappropriate for a Western World preoccupied with Physical Culture. Today the term 'sensible shoes' is often used as a derogatory term by heterosexuals to describe lesbians.

Before the rebellion of 1745, the Celtic population (of Scotland and Ireland) went barefoot all year round. Either sex, rich or poor prided themselves on going barefoot as if a sense of national pride. Sassenachs were considered less hardy because they wore shoes. Scots and Irish settlers to the colonies continued to go barefoot until the end of the 18th century. It is still very much in living memory that children and adults went barefoot in Australia not because of adversity but because it was second nature. Times are a changing however and intense fear of low socio-economic groups mean going barefoot today is not encouraged by private owners of public spaces. Hence people who continue to do so have made a life style choice which often alienates them from society. Most appear in perfect peace with themselves, refreshingly relaxed and content with the simple pleasures of life.

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Huajian Group: Chinese investigators released

The labour rights group, China Labour Watch, (CLW) a New York non-profit organisation keen to promote transparency of supply chains and factory labour conditions in China hoped to publish a report alleging low pay, excessive overtime, crude verbal abuse and possible misuse of student labour at the Huajian Group factory in Ganzhou. Allegations of physical abuse of workers and the company forcing them to sign fake pay stubs with inflated salary numbers as well as threats to sack workers who did not complete questionnaires about working conditions with pre-approved answers, raised concerns. After workers claimed the company pressured people not to speak with outsiders about conditions at the factory. Three Chinese investigators went undercover at a factory to gather video, pictures and evidence of exploitation. In late May of this year, the three were detained by police. After being imprisoned for a month on charges of using secret cameras and listening devices. They were bailed from jail but may still face an uncertain future and the threat of a trial.

Some of the Huajian Group of the factories had previously produced Ivanka Trump shoes, among other brands, but denied all allegations of excessive overtime and low wages. The Huajian Group, have started to move their production to Ethiopia, where workers make around $100 a month, a fraction of what they pay in China.

Before taking on an official role as adviser to her father, Ivanka Trump stepped back from day-to-day management of her brand, but has retained her ownership interest. She has not commented on the detentions or the reports of poor working conditions at one of her brand’s suppliers. The president of the Ivanka Trump brands company, confirmed their shoes had not been produced at the factory in question since March.

Podiatry: The ten plus one most frequently asked questions

Less than one third of the world's population will require foot care. This relates to all ages and all stages of the life cycle. Contrary to popular belief this means the majority of human beings enjoy pain free feet lifelong. Those people in need of foot care will range from mild discomfort and need of foot toiletry to severe 'at risk' limbs with imminent amputation. Please note, the information contained here is for information only and does not constitute direct health care advice. In the event of foot problems then consult a podiatrist or your own physician.

What letters of qualifications should I look for when I want to find a podiatrist?
Qualifications vary from country to country but in Australia and New Zealand as all Western Countries where podiatry is a closed profession, it is illegal not to be registered with the Australasian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Podiatry Board of Australia). Most registered podiatrists belong to a professional association, and many are members of the Australasian Podiatry Association with the post nominals, M A Pod A (WA). Some practitioners include their academic qualifications such as Diploma of Podiatry (Dip Pod), Bachelor (BSc) or Master of Science (MSc), or Docorate (PhD). In the latter case they will use the pre-nominal "Doctor".

More information:
Australasian PodiatryCouncil
American Association of Podiatric Medicine
The College of Podiatry

What is the difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist?
Lay people are fascinated with names and want to know "What is the difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist?" In Australia both terms are used within the state acts which govern registration. As a term chiropody is less popular now and since podiatry means to treat feet, ‘podiatrist’ is the preferred term. The majority of foot problems involve skin or nails i.e. corns and acute infections. Systemic diseases, musculo -skeletal and repetitive injury are the common precursors. Not everyone however suffers sore feet and approximately one third of the population at any age or any stage requires services of foot physicians.

Do corns have roots?
Corns and callus are Nature's way of protecting skin surfaces subjected to complex shearing stress. Increased cell reproduction arises when the normal skin cells are damaged by friction. Over a bony prominence this causes skin to appear deeper as if growing from a core or root. Successful pain relief comes from excess skin reduction with a sharp scalpel. This is almost impossible to do safely for yourself and needs an expert to do this on your behalf. Hard skin will return within 28 days as the damaged cells are replaced. All external cause of friction must be removed.

Are verrucae catching, and can I go swimming if I have one?
The short answer is conditions apply, because at certain stages of the life of the wart (caused by a virus) it may be more contagious than others. It is prudent to take precautions. Viral infections are picked up by physical contact and can live outside the body especially in wet conditions e.g. changing room floors. Protecting the sole with rubber socks reduces the risk of cross infection and allows those with verruca to swim safely without contaminating others.

What causes Athlete's Foot and how can I prevent it?
Athlete's foot is a generic term for fungal infections of the foot. Fungi and yeasts thrive outside the body in warm, moist conditions such as showers or changing room floors. These flora are highly contagious and present symptoms such as: irritated patches of skin between the toes, which crack and peel. These may appear soggy and smell unpleasant and hence, the reference to the foot of an athlete. Discoloured nails and or scaling and itching skin are common symptoms. Good foot hygiene improves skin texture and many Symptoms disappear. In the event of an identified fungi or yeast then prescribed medicines are usually very effective.

Tell me why my feet hurt after standing on them all day?
The amount of energy required to stand still is greater than walking and running. People compromised by a lack of circulation moving through the lower extremity coupled by gravity, drawing body fluids downwards causes the ankles to swell. By the end of the day the gathered fluid makes feet bigger. Symptoms vary but many people complain of burning sensation relieved only by removing shoes and bathing and resting their feet.

My feet tend to get very sweaty in summer, what can I do?
There are more sweat glands per inch of our feet than anywhere else in the body. Sweating is perfectly natural and with good foot hygiene then even the wettest foot will present fewer problems. Increased temperatures around the feet cause by exercise or environmental increases perspiration rates. Fluid buildup in the presence of certain bacteria of accounts for foul smells. Going barefoot or wearing open-toed shoes or sports thongs encourages sweat evaporation and regular bathing in salt water removes of sweat breakdown and smelly feet. Avoid covered footwear and regular use good antiperspirants also help.

How can I get rid of hard skin?
Man-made fibres dry out the surface of the skin and when general friction increases local temperatures skin cell production is increased. Old dry cells become dry and are slow to separate from the new cell beneath. How we walk dictates callus patterns and depending on the type of stress over the area determined its appearance e.g. cracked skin on the heels. Skin cells respond instantly to moisturising creams. Complicated hard skin types may respond better to prescribed medication. Using a pumice stone to gently remove the hard skin is often made easier after a warm foot bath (46C0) for no more than 10 minutes.

Why do women suffer more foot problems than men?
More women visit the podiatrists‘surgery but that does not preclude men from having as many foot problems as their gender counterpart. They just do not go to their podiatrist. Many misguidedly blame the apparent sex difference on inappropriate footwear but there is little scientific evidence to support this premise. Epidemiological studies have shown that over the age of eighty, more men are likely to need podiatric care.

Are shoes the source of most foot problems?
The simple answer is no and provided the shoe fits comfortably and is appropriate to the activity It is put to then foot and shoe should be completely compatible. Not everyone complies. In studies women are more likely to wear shoes smaller than the physical dimension of their feet and a neat fit does feel more comfortable. Differences in nerve proprioception between the genders are thought to be a significant reason why women prefer tighter fitting shoes.

What is a foot orthotic?
Allopathic medicine is based on the concept there is an ideal model of normality and deviation from the norm may be corrected by replacing the missing piece. Corrective foot orthoses consist of foot platforms with balanced wedges made from different materials to effect different functions.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Vindolanda: Roman Shoe cache

A shoe cache of 7,000 Roman shoes have been unearthed from Vindolanda, an auxiliary fort in, Northumberland, near Hadrian’s Wall.

Most shoes appear custom made, including baby boots and the cache is thought to date from 208-2012AD. It remains unclear why so many shoes have been found but experts believe they were abandoned when garrisons moved to a new posting. The only means of transport was walking and sometimes to Continental Europe. Items that could not be carried were routinely thrown away.

Experts believe since the find does not include many pairs. The common habit then, was to replace worn shoes individually with an identical style made by a local shoe maker. At first during early Roman occupation, Caligae (military-style hobnail boots) were preferred but the longer the Romans remained in Britain, men’s shoes became highly decorated, made from dyed leather, and worn with coloured laces.

Slipper-like shoes (carbatina) for indoor wear were also found indicating the Romans left their everyday shoes outside their dwellings.