Left foot of my 102-year-old Mom
My mother, born in 1914, came from a rural family where clothing was passed down from child to child. This practice led to unfortunate consequences when it came to footwear.  Mom had to fit her feet into her older sister's outgrown shoes. Her sibling surely had much smaller feet because even after she outgrew her shoes, they were still too small for my mom.  

While the impact of wearing shoes that didn't fit was not as devastating for my mother as the tradition of foot binding was for many women from the 11th to the 20th centuries, I can't help but reflect on this barbaric custom whenever I see my mother's feet. Young Chinese girls suffered constant pain from broken bones and infection to embody an ideal (tiny, broken lotus feet for tiny "lotus shoes").

Mom's feet didn't break but they did warp.  She said no one knew any better in those days, adult shoes were adult shoes; no one really worried about sizes or long-term consequences.  

Things were far better when I grew up.  Each time Mom and I went shoe shopping for my rapidly growing feet, I spent a lot of fun time wiggling my toes inside the shoe store's x-ray machine which, in the fifties and sixties, guaranteed a perfect fit. Savage brand footwear was a particular favourite, especially navy blue and white saddle shoes.  To this day, I long to find a pair to satisfy my nostalgic cravings.  

I wonder whether women who wear today's exceptionally high heels are aware of the damage they inflict on their feet in the name of beauty.  (In my opinion, it's not worth it!)  And what of dancers?  Ballerinas in pointe shoes wreck their toesies for art!  

It remains a woman's issue it seems...  

Red Cactus