By Adam Welsch
Naomi & Nicole®
If you’re like many women, you probably enjoy adding new shoes to your wardrobe. But finding shoes that are comfortable, as well as cute and stylish, can sometimes seem impossible. How many times have thought you found just the pair you were looking for, only to try them on and think, “Couldn’t they have made the toes (or backs) just a little wider?” The good news is that makers of shapewear have finally created a new silhouette that addresses what had been the final, neglected shaping problem for women – foot flab. Coinciding with the arrival of new spring shoe collections, foot sculptors – like arm shapers, waist cinchers, and thigh slimmers before them – are now appearing in intimates departments and lingerie shops promising to slim and smooth feet just like yours.
Before going into more detail, it’s important to clarify that foot sculptors aren’t designed to alter shoe sizes. If you wear a woman’s size 8, for example, they won’t allow you to squeeze into a size 7. Similarly, if your bone structure is such that you have naturally wide feet, foot sculptors won’t transform you from a wide to a narrow. Just as a bodybriefer can’t alter the width of your pelvis, a foot sculptor can’t compress your first metatarsal. But, foot sculptors can smooth and slim those fatty and fleshy problem areas, giving your feet a sexier, more youthful appearance and allowing them to fit more comfortably in shoes that may be just a bit too narrow for their stated size.
One of the reasons shapewear manufacturers have been so slow to fill this slimming void has been their sensitivity to the very controversial history of foot binding that existed in several cultures in the past. For centuries, women in China, for example, had their feet tightly bound to make them smaller. Though the precise inspirations for this practice aren’t known, they may have included the belief that smaller feet were more feminine, and the idea that bound feet indicated wealth and high social status, since they made it nearly impossible for women to perform significant manual labor. Foot binding required bones to be broken, and caused great pain, infection, and lasting physical deformity. Fortunately, in the early twentieth century, this practice came to an end. But as a result of this legacy, foot sculptors aren’t designed to shape the foot. Rather, they cleverly slim and smooth unwanted flab only.
So what do foot sculptors, marketed under brands like Shapedders™, Footstract™, and Sole Supporters™, look like? They’re considered second-cousins of pantyhose, stockings, and socks. Arm shapers would more accurately be considered their siblings. They’re made of lightweight, specially-knitted shapewear fabrics that combine traditional spandex and nylon fibers with cotton fibers infused with tea extract. It’s the addition of these tea-infused cotton fibers that provides absorbency and gives foot sculptors their added feature of foot odor control. Like most shapewear, they generally come in beige, black, white, and a limited amount of fashion colors.
As with briefs, foot sculptors come in a variety of sub-silhouettes. Standard, ankle-line styles begin at the toes and end at the tops of the shoes. These are great when wearing skirts and dresses. Unfortunately, as with waistline briefs, they can cause muffin tops in women who are larger around the ankles. A great alternative is the mid-calf foot sculptor. Similar to a hi-waist brief or hi-waist thigh slimmer, this style distributes the excess flesh of the ankle upwards towards the more muscular calf. The mid-calf foot sculptor (sometimes informally known as “the boot”) also works well for tall women (5’ 10” and taller) for whom standard-length pantliners can be problematic. Worn together, a “boot” and a pantliner can provide that comfortable, complete lower-limb undergarment coverage that tall women often struggle to find.
For those looking for thigh, knee, and complete-calf control in addition to complete foot smoothing, long leg foot sculptors are available that run from the toes to the upper thigh. But be careful. Make sure to look for brands made with a breathable, silicone finish applied to the thigh opening. This will keep the garment in place and prevent any lines from showing through your pants. Other brands must be held up with the use of garters, like conventional nylon stockings. Lastly, unlike hose and most socks, foot sculptors have individual compartments for each toe, and resemble athletic foot gloves. This unusual design allows them to deliver targeting slimming to each toe, making foot sculptors indispensible when wearing closed-toe shoes.
Foot sculptors can provide light, moderate, or firm control. Until their feet get used to these garments, most women find it best to begin wearing styles that deliver light control. Due to the common concern about muffin tops, it’s best to stick with light control when choosing ankle-line models. If you have a particularly bad foot-flab issue, or will only be wearing your shoes for a few hours at a special occasion, and you’re looking for firm-control results, try a mid-calf or long-leg version.
Of course, improved shoe comfort is only one of the reasons why foot sculptors have become the hottest new type of shapewear. Many women find that regardless of their exercise regimens, they just can’t seem to get rid of the bulges associated with foot flab. They make otherwise well-dressed, sexy feet look misleadingly bumpy and unattractive. Research conducted last year at the State University of New York at Albany verified what’s been suspected for centuries – men are more attracted to women with smaller feet. Foot sculptors smooth and slim those lumps and bumps and give the wearer the most attractive, streamlined-looking feet possible – even under the most form-fitting ballet flats.
New fashions can often seem somewhat strange and quixotic. Remember your impressions when you saw your first torsette or first heard about arm shapers? But the great benefits of these new silhouettes quickly dispelled that skepticism. You’ll find the same thing to be true with this latest revolution in shapewear. Whether dressing for a special event, a hot date, or an important presentation at work, this new silhouette will make sure you don’t start off on the wrong foot.CC Image courtesy VinothChandar photography on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmichaelmayer// CC BY 2.0 CC Image courtesy AlishaV on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/alishav// CC BY 2.0