First, it was ageism that drove us to get plastic surgery. Then, it was the constant exposure of selfies. The latest, nefarious reason women are going under the knife? Our shoes. Yes, those innocent bundles of leather are increasingly sending women to surgeons in hopes of fitting into the narrow, spindly heels they desire.
The New York Times reports on the weird world of women who reshape their feet to fit into designer shoes. Dr. Ali Sadrieh, a Beverly Hills-based podiatrist who also treats patients in New York, says that women routinely cite their inability to wear high-end heels as motivation for their surgeries. He's pioneered the use of cutesy names for his procedures, such as the "Cinderella," a surgery that removes bunions, the "Perfect 10" (shortens toes), the "Model T" (lengthens them), and the vague-yet-horrifying-sounding "Foot Tuck, a fat-pad augmentation that helps with high heels." Doctors also report that patients seek procedures that they refuse to grant, such as toe liposuction and removing a toe to fit into narrower heels. Guess these women haven't heard that Birkenstocks are back.
But, Dr. Sadrieh isn't the only one reporting that narrow shoes are a boon to his business. Dr. Neal Blitz, a Manhattan podiatrist reports, “My practice has exploded because of Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Nicholas Kirkwood.” Dr. Oliver Zong's website promises, “Designer feet for designer shoes,” and he speaks about the horrors of "toebesity." Can I sign just my toes up for Weight Watchers?
Not that surgery is your only option. Dr. Suzanne Levine, a New York-based podiatrist, offers a panopoly of foot-perfecting services, including plasma therapy, stem-cell injections, injectable fillers for built-in foot cushioning (nothing like wearing Dr. Scholl's inside your skin!), and the reasonable-sounding foot exercises. She also advises her patients as to which designer shoe makers use wider-than-average lasts (Prada and Michael Kors, if you were wondering).
Of course, cosmetic foot surgery has been around for years. But, it seems to us that the range of procedures offered is ever-widening, and we've never seen surgery so blatantly offered as a solution to a fashion problem. As a woman who is cursed with feet so wide, they were once called "dinosaur feet" (by a shoe salesperson, no less), this writer understands all too well the pain of being genetically barred from wearing strappy heels. Luckily, fashion's offered us wide-foot, toebesity-sufferers a reprieve from uncomfortable shoes in the form of the current mania for ugly-pretty shoes like Birks and Tevas. But, one can't wear sport sandals everywhere. If so-called "problem feet" are so common and dire enough to warrant surgery, may we humbly suggest that designers start making shoes that fit our feet, instead of the other way around? (The New York Times)