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What If You Could Change The Shape Of Your Foot To Fit Any Shoe?

In every woman’s life, there comes a time, at least once, when they would wish to throw away their shoes and walk barefoot just because their feet do not fit perfectly in their shoes, and it hurts. What if we tell you that there are people that make their feet fit into even smaller shoes?

It would be a miracle, right?

Lotus feet for lotus shoes

The technique you see in this photo is called footbinding. It is a Chinese custom that started in ancient times but found its footing in Chinese culture during the Song dynasty. The shoes, which are called the lotus shoes, are the accessory worn by those who have bound their feet. In the period of the Song dynasty, it was a symbol of status for women.

A cause of lifelong disability

Foot binding, however, is a very painful technique, and it restricts women’s mobility and becomes a cause of lifelong disability for them. Throughout time, the practice of foot binding was adopted by various regions and social classes.

A painful process for beauty

Around the time of the Qing Dynasty, this method of altering feet became popular among the lower social classes as well. This process starts when the arch of the foot is not fully developed and still has time to alter, usually when a child is of age four to nine. To reduce the pain of foot binding, the process is usually done around the wintertime, when the feet are likely to be numb.

The smaller, the better mindset

For the intent of binding the foot, it is first soaked in a mixture of animal blood and herbs. Bandages were then used to bind the toes tightly to the sole of the foot. Obviously, with this type of alteration, health issues were bound to emerge.

Who cares if you lose a finger if you can marry the rich?

Infection was one of the major problems of foot binding. Often injuries would happen with the toenails that grew inside the bandages, and because of the tightness of the binding, the blood circulation did not happen well. Which was the main reason why the infections did not heal naturally hence rapidly worsening the problem. 

Infections sometimes spread into the bones and cause fingers to fall off. However, this was often seen as a benefit since the feet can be bound even tightly. Many girls suffered from gangrene, septic shock, and other infection-related diseases later in their lives because of this.

As attractive as a lotus

In some ages of history, having small feet was a beauty standard. Even in Chinese poetry, references to bound feet are seen as erotic and desirable. Because of the bound feet, women had to balance and adjust their walking, which has been considered erotic as well.

In Chinese culture, people used to consider bound feet as one of the most sensual parts of a woman’s body. Different types of bound feet had different names depending on the length of the feet. As an example, bound feet of length of 10cm were called golden lotus. The name suggests that this was the most desirable. There were ‘silver lotus’ which was 13cm long, and ‘iron lotus’, which was around 17cm long. These latter two were less preferred by men when finding a woman for marriage.

Abolition of Footbinding

Some people think that this could have been depicted as high status because a girl with bound feet shows that she did not have to work. The practice of foot binding was completely abolished by the Chinese Government in 1949.



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