Feet can be a sensitive subject. Some people are initially repulsed by the sight of feet. Some are unfavorable. Some people, including us at IDEASTEP, are enamored with feet — both their beauty and their usefulness. Feet have inherent significance in some cultures, while they are a status symbol in others. Regardless matter how you feel about your feet, they are vital to your well-being. They enable you to move about on this planet.

So, why is it that so many people despise feet? In this article, we examine some of the cultural views about feet, as well as the findings of IDEASTEP study, in order to better understand the significance of feet and why they so frequently divide public opinion.


Woman Examines Her Foot

The importance of the feet


The importance of feet is self-evident: we all have them, and they enable us to walk around the globe. It’s an essential component of what makes us human! However, the cultural significance of feet extends beyond this.


A Hindu practice, for example, entails kneeling down and touching the feet of your elders. You are said to be gifted with their wisdom and expertise in exchange. It’s also seen as a technique to subdue the ego of the younger Hindu generation, according to The Culture Trip. When you touch the feet of the elderly, you are showing respect for their age and accomplishments.


For millennia in China, the feet were seen as a prestige symbol and a sign of attractiveness. The tradition of female foot binding arose from this notion. Although the practice of binding the feet is no longer practiced in modern China, it was formerly highly widespread. Because small feet were seen to be attractive and charming, foot binding was used to reduce the size of the feet to just three inches!


There’s also reflexology, which has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine but has recently found its way into the mainstream. The feet are the center of reflexology, which is a sort of massage. It is thought that massaging specific reflex or pressure points in the feet can help to treat ailments in other parts of the body.


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Surprisingly, displaying the sole of your foot to another person is considered offensive in eastern cultures. This is thought to be because the sole of your foot makes direct touch with the dirt on the ground, making it a disrespectful behavior.


Apart from some of the cultural and religious traditions associated with the feet, the feet are significant in and of themselves. They enable us to move by absorbing the shock of our body colliding with the ground with each stride. As a result, our feet might become quite battered! Seventy-five percent of Americans will have foot issues at some point in their lives.


A woman ties her shoe to a rocky outcropping.

Why is it that so many people despise their feet?


Bipedalism, or walking erect on two feet, is an important feature of human evolution. As a result, many anthropologists feel that this has altered society’s perception of feet. According to a study by Tim Ingold, the dislike to feet may be due to the fact that “civilized man has endeavored to ‘leave the ground’… and, as a result, any usage of the feet is something belonging only to the common man.”


It was necessary to evolve by relying on your hands and head rather than your feet. “The usage of foot gets strongly interwoven with class and identity,” according to a Brown University study. This is one theory for why individuals dislike walking on their feet.


One in every 1,000 people suffers with podophobia, or a fear of feet. This disorder comprises a strong desire to avoid being exposed to feet because they make you feel uneasy, afraid, or disgusting. Even if you don’t go this far, you might be among those who loathe feet.




Why do individuals exaggerate their shoe sizes?


IDEASTEP’s data scientists gathered conclusions from a database of tens of thousands of foot profiles. Here are some of the items we discovered:


More than two-thirds of men overestimate their shoe size, while 40% of women underestimate theirs. The average guy understates his shoe size by 0.1 sizes, whereas the average female overstates hers by 0.7 sizes.

Individuals with small feet overestimate their shoe size more than those with large feet, and males overestimate their shoe size by 1.5 sizes more than females.

Isn’t that fascinating? So, why do so many people give false information about their shoe sizes? It’s possible that it’s because of the cultural prejudices we addressed previously. The feet are a status symbol in several ways. Men desire to be large in stature, with large hands and feet. That is the western cultural ideal. Small, feminine, and delicate is the conventional cultural ideal for women, which entails small hands and feet. We’re not saying this is completely accurate, but it’s a common stereotype.


A man runs alongside a lake on a trail.

Men are constantly more attracted to women with little feet, according to a study. Another study found similar findings, with males with smaller feet being regarded as less attractive.


Infine, qualche considerazione


To address the question of why so many people despise feet, the answer may be found in the cultural ideas that have developed around feet, their proximity to the earth, and their resemblance to unevolved monkeys. This would explain why people lie about their shoe size and why people idealize smaller or larger feet (depending on gender).


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Finally, the importance of our feet cannot be overstated. They enable us to move freely throughout our daily lives and navigate the world. Perhaps it’s past time for us to be kinder to our feet.


Learn more about IDEASTEP custom insoles for healthy, happy feet by clicking here.

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