Let’s face it. Most feet are not the picture of beauty and elegance. In fact, when it comes right down to it, most feet are not even attractive if left on their own. However there is plenty that can be done to help feet look beautiful and ready for exposure to the world. These include products, treatments, and even making sure that the shoe fits the foot well.
Are Feet Ugly
Foot wrapping, or binding, in China began in the 10th Century and was incredibly wide spread by the 12th. What started out as a practice in the royal courts, presumably to live up to the image and the style of an emperors’ favorite concubine who bound her feet and danced for him, it soon became a tradition that every marriageable girl had her feet bound.
According to The Atlantic, “In the 12th century, foot binding had become much more widespread, and by the early Qing Dynasty (in the mid-17th century), virtually every girl who wished to marry had her feet bound. The only people who didn’t bind their feet were the very poor, ethnic Hakka people, and women who worked in fishing because they needed to have normal feet in order to balance themselves on boats.” This was incredibly painful and involved the breaking and refiguring of the toes and caused centuries of Chinese women and girls to be disfigured and altered in the name of beautiful feet. This practice was going out of fashion by the 19th Century and today is looked down upon – though small, shapely feet are still considered the ideal by many, some would rather have feet that are fully functional.
China isn’t the only culture in which women’s feet have been tortured into beauty. In fact, in the United States we have a history of forcing girls into ill fitting shoes and high heels that have a painful and disfiguring effect, as well. Dancers feet are notoriously damaged as are runner’s toes. In fact, while the foot, which nature designed to bear the weight of the human body and to function for long hours over a lifetime, when we walk, run, jump and climb (or wear ill fitting shoes), they lose their softness and natural shape.
So do we cover up feet because they are not beautiful, or do we make them less beautiful by covering them up? Some would argue a little bit of both. But most people will agree that most feet need some help becoming, or remaining, beautiful.
What Makes Feet Beautiful
Typically speaking, bunions, calluses, blisters, cracked skin, flat arches, and broken or yellowed nails are considered as taking away from the beauty of feet. Smooth and evenly textured skin, manicured nails and shapely feet seem to meet most people’s aesthetic. Essentially, feet that look like they don’t work.
If you search the internet for “Beautiful Feet” you will find listicles of celebrities whose feet have been declared to be the most coveted. It is clear that many people consider a woman’s feet to be a big part of her image and her beauty – even part of her sexiness. It isn’t only those with a foot fetish that feel this way. It is much more mainstream. This is why so many people get pedicures.
However, there are also those who take their feet in their raw form as an indicator of pride and beauty because they tell the tale of what the person’s life has been. These more ruggedly grounded individuals are not usually the ones that TSLMS members see for their desire to have feet that look more like Emma Watson (among those declared to have the most beautiful feet in the world). We see those seeking to emulate the star and others. They want aesthetic help and treatment and this frequently aligns with the season of sandal wearing. They may not be happy with their foot type.
Making Feet More Beautiful
There are, according to Cosmopolitan, 7 different types of toes, that reveal 7 different personality traits. It is a fascinating short read, which quickly helps identify the types of feet that people find the most aesthetic. To a large extent, foot shape and size are genetic in nature and are an indicator of family history. There are those that think the shape and size of your feet and toes are also related strongly to your personality. That said, there are shapes of feet that are generally viewed as more beautiful and fit for summer sandals, needing less work.
Pedicures, lotions, and loofah – as well as bunion treatments can help anyone’s feet look better. All this takes is some time and daily attention. It can become part of a beauty routine.
High arches and straight toes with small, round nails. Interestingly, there is a rising trend focused on permanently shaping feet to be more beautiful through plastic surgery. These things are not generally ‘fixed’ through pedicures or home-based foot therapy. Treatment for feet can include, as noted by one plastic surgeon, toe shortening, bunionectomy, botox injections, fillers, toe liposuction, skin resurfacing and even laser treatments that beautify the feet and “can be used to treat hairy feet, as well as fungal toenails and toenail infections caused by yeast and mold. Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from toenail fungus, so about 1 in 6 people in our country need to address toenail issues… Unlike topical treatments, laser treatment can be very effective… the pain associated with laser treatment is worth the long-term results. Recovery time is a few hours and risks include redness, irritation, itching, and swelling.” (Source).
These fixes are without question less extreme than that of an entire culture binding feet, but to some extent we are still obsessed with making sure our toes look gorgeous and it shows.