"Toes Are Really Short Fingers:" More from A Manual of Walking

(Click to enlarge image: from Elon Jessup's A Manual of Walking from 1936)

My copy of Elon Jessup's A Manual of Walking from 1936 once belonged to a couple named Jeanne and Bill Taylor. I acquired the book as a gift, and I don't know them. I would have liked them, I think, because they took great care of the book. The Taylors affixed a book owner's label to the endpapers, that's why I know their names, and I surmise from the slips of papers stuck into the book that they were members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. A review of the book is pasted onto the back endpapers. According to this clipping, the reviewer liked the book but thought that the title was too prosaic for such witty writing. He suggested that it should have been titled "Feet First."

The writer, Elon Jessup, sure loves to wax poetic about feet, and he was particular about the proper fit of shoes. I have heard that it's best to shop for shoes in the afternoon, when the feet are given time to swell, and Jessup recommends this as well. He also criticizes the emphasis of style over comfort, and I would agree with him here also. I have worn stylish and painful shoes that made me hate everything in my path. Here's what Jessup recommends for the proper fit:
"First and foremost, let it be sufficiently long and sufficiently wide to permit toes to stretch forward and while doing so remain separated each from the next. Avoid any pressure from leather, both against the inner side of the big toe and outer side of the small toe. Even the apparently fool-proof Greek sandal can sometimes do mischief in the latter respect, in that the pressure of a leather strap against the side of the small toe may curl this toe under and wrench it out of shape."

No comments: