Science and Beauty: Shopping For Shoes This Black Friday

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Article Authors: Gordon Slater|Tandose Sambo 

Every year, Black Friday is the occasion that enables us to stock up on critical essentials. Shoes are important for our everyday activities, and it is important to ensure that we are taking care of our primary mode of transport. By fusing science with fashion, you will be able to keep up with the trends, and take care of your body’s health.

In our initial shoe shopping experiences, we often shop according to the impulse, and with time we become more aware of important factors to consider for the health of our feet. 

Does function follow beauty?

Many downstream foot conditions such as hammertoes and bunions are often caused by wearing the incorrect shoes. The key to prevention of these human induced conditions is to be smart about your styles, in order to ensure that you are healthy and fashionable. In your shoe search, ensure that you are purchasing shoes that provide ample support for your feet.

Fashion and The Foot 

As a few fun statistical facts: 

  • The global footwear market is valued at approximately $352 billion dollars
  • Shoes are always the subject of a great deal of media attention. We always want to know what shoes our favorite celebrities are wearing, so that we can duplicate the look! 
  • Many designer brands have begun as shoe companies

If you’re a woman, studies show that the average women’s footwear collection is worth $700. Since women love to change their styles per week and even per season, the odds of them spending more money on their shoes is highly likely. Shoes have been identified as being responsible for the majority of foot deformities and problems that physicians encounter in women. 

A previous study conducted by Dr Gordon Slater on a total of 356 women evaluated trends in women’s shoe wear and their effect on the development of foot deformities and pain. The majority of women in this study wore shoes that were too small for their feet, had foot pain and deformity, and had increased shoe size since the age of 20. Of this set, few women had their feet measured in over 5 years. The women without foot pain or deformities also wore shoes that were smaller than their feet but to a lesser degree.Identifying the direct correlation between correctly fitting footwear and foot health, it is very important to consider the fact that: 

  • Shoes have changed with with fashion and technology

Science of Beauty 

While you won’t need to delve into the deeper scientific details of shoe design, it helps to understand the underlying baseline that led to your purchase. From the early days of artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, drawings of the human body emphasised that it has a scientific proportion embedded into its design. Many designers have claimed this ratio to be the Golden Ratio.

The Golden Ratio (or”Golden Section”) is based on Fibonacci Numbers, where every number in the sequence (after the second) is the sum of the previous 2 numbers:


When it comes to the feet, similar ratios have been identified, and the following features of your feet have been identified in your natural feet design, in order to identify the most optimum design. These include a smaller foot design, with an accentuated calf that makes the legs appear smaller. With evolution, an ideal leg to torso ratio will make the body appear more attractive.  

How to shop for your shoes

When it comes to shopping, it is helpful to keep the scientific dimensions in mind as you make your purchase. The right shoe provides the feet with a mixture of cushion, support and comfort. The anatomy of the foot is such that it supports the body on a hinge joint. The appropriate alignment of the feet is critical to so much, inclusive of the health of the spine. The right fit of the shoe should be such that it fits snugly, and there is at least 1-1.5 cm of space at the end of the shoe. A few key characteristics of shoes that should be factored in include: 

  1. A stiff back for appropriate heel support 
  2. Flexibility to facilitate the motion of your feet
  3. Appropriate arch support – The arch of the foot is part of its engineering design that facilitates its ability to support the body appropriately. Shoes will not all be perfectly designed, so with the appropriate inserts, shoes can be customized to facilitate that additional comfort. 
  4. Heel height – Heel height is very important for the support of the feet and the body. The body was designed for an optimum height. The higher an individual is off the ground, the higher will be the center of gravity of that individual. Any object with a high center of gravity will have the tendency to fall, compared to an object with a lower center of gravity. Women are aware of the fact that with higher heels, they do feel the instability that comes with being elevated. It will be important for an individual to ensure that they match their heel height with their personal height. 

With the Black Friday season upon us, don’t simply focus on price points when making your selection. Also ensure that you consider your health in the process!! 

To your health!! 

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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