From ancient Egyptian times down through the centuries, footwear has been designed to meet mankind's real and perceived needs - protection, support, comfort, sturdiness, and stylishness. We expect a lot from our feet. They carry the entire weight of our body and endure tremendous pressures of daily living and in an average lifetime could walk the equivalent of four times around the earth, so it makes sense to take care of them. An average day of walking brings a force equal to several hundred tons on them. They are subject to more injury than any other part of the body, underscoring the need to protect them with proper footwear.
When a child begins to walk, footwear generally is not necessary, allowing an infant to go barefooted in doors, or to wear only a pair of socks, helps the foot grow normally and develop its muscles and strength, as well as the grasping ability of toes. As children grow more active, and their feet develop, the need for footwear becomes apparent. It becomes necessary to change shoe sizes at a pace that frequently surprises and even dismays parents, to allow room for growth.
Women inflict more punishment on their feet in part from improper footwear that can bring about unnecessary foot problems. Some of the problems result from high-heeled shoes (generally defined as pumps with heels of more than two inches). Doctors of podiatric medicine believe such heels are medically unsound, and attribute postural and even safety problems to their use. To relieve the abusive effects of high heels, women can limit the time they wear them, alternating with good quality slippers for part of the day. Activity has a bearing on the considerations; wearing the right footwear for a particular activity is probably as important a factor in the choice of footwear as any.
Men as well as women should buy footwear for work, leisure, and special activities, matching the footwear to the activity. Male (and female) office workers should earmark three to five pairs of footwear for business hours.