High heels are ‘instruments of torture’

Style Statement
Shoemakers admire their work, 1955.
Shoemakers admire their work, 1955. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

Sir Herbert Barker, the famous manipulative surgeon, interviewed by the Central News on Saturday on the controversy about high or low heels for ladies’ shoes, said:-

“If the controversy results in low heels becoming the unchanging fashion and also the abolition of the V-shaped toe for ever, the feminine section of the community will be great gainers in health as well as in deportmental beauty. I have examined many thousands of women’s feet, and I do not hesitate to say that in 90 per cent of them I have found some skeletal defect, either slight or severe, brought about entirely by the outrageous boots and shoes that women wear.

“Enlarged great toe joints and twisted small toes are the commonest results of unhealthy footwear, while Morton’s disease, a most painful affliction of the ball of the foot, caused by the weight being thrown forward by high heels, and more or less deformed ankles, are common results of high heels and V-shaped toes. Let commonsense and the desire for physical fitness decide this controversy and the entire nation will benefit. It seems to me criminal to place a child’s perfect little feet into what are nothing more than instruments of torture, and I should like to see the legislators put a stop to it.”

Sir Herbert Barker demonstrates new manipulation techniques to treat injuries, 1936. (this clip has no sound)