Dox's Reviews > Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love Them

Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love Them by Leora Tanenbaum
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Jun 17, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2010
Read in June, 2010

The basic premise of this book is to point out the inherent craziness of our shoe obsessions, and to help us to see that we should not be suffering for fashion—or even the fantasy of fashion—at the expense of actually harming our feet, and our ability to walk.

Packaged in a cute little square format with an eye-catching red cover, the best thing about this book is that it is instant conversation fodder. Show it to your friends—everyone loves to gab about shoes. I instantly thought of several people I wanted to show it to, and to discuss the content.

Behind the glitz, though, are some serious lessons to learn. The book spends time going over the history of footwear, the different kinds of harm that are generally done to our feet from wearing shoes that are meant more for show than for function, and delves into the psyche of why we continue to fool ourselves into loving these bad-girl shoes.

The author does not tell us to stop wearing these addictive fashion pieces, just to think about how to make better decisions in wearing them: wear the high heels when you don’t have to do a lot of walking, keep your time spent in them to a few hours a day, and augment the times you do your walking with still good-looking footwear that is the right sort to support your foot. The book goes into detail about how to be smart about shoes, how to make good choices, and how to avoid bad decisions about surgeries. There are a lot of anecdotes from women giving opinions and telling stories about their favorite shoes, and of how uncomfortable some of those shoes can be.

The book is an introduction to the subject, with some moderate depth, but it is sometimes glossy on certain subjects. In addition, the same experts keep cropping up again and again through the book, making me wonder if she only spoke to a handful that were able to give useful quotes for her.
The author references some studies and other works, which the reader could go find if she were very interested. The style of the writing also keeps including a lot of authorial insertion. It sometimes feels more like the reader is having a one sided conversation, and the author continues throughout to state disbelief at certain shoe proclivities.

The other critique I would make is that the section on exercises for the foot or toes is poorly conveyed. A quick internet search would glean much better descriptors of how to do these exercises, and why they help.

The illustrations are generally quite helpful as they are spaced out well, appearing to showcase the footwear that is being described so that the reader can see what is being discussed.

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