Why Foot Fetishes Are So Common

And 6 other tidbits we picked up from “God Save My Shoes,” a footwear-focused film making its Washington debut tomorrow.

Image courtesy of God Save My Shoes.

Obvious statement number one: Women love shoes. It’s not a groundbreaking thesis, but it’s definitely a fun one to explore with your girlfriends on a Thursday night. As part of Bethesda Row’s fashionable Front Row weekend, the footwear-focused documentary God Save My Shoes, will screen for one night only tomorrow at Bethesda Row’s Landmark Theatre (7:30 PM; RSVP to The film features extensive interviews with major designers Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, and Pierre Hardy, plus a look inside the shoe closets of baronesses and former Vogue editors. After the screening, The Washingtonian’s own fashion editor, Kate Bennett, will host a Q&A with producer Thierry Daher. We got a sneak peek at the film and picked up seven juicy bits of shoe trivia for you to impress your friends with.

1) The actual word “stiletto” has some dangerous origins.
According to the film, it means “slender dagger” in Latin. Guess there’s a reason some ladies use them as a last-resort weapon (and why it hurts so dang much when someone steps on you with one).

2) There’s a biological reason foot fetishes are so common.
The sensory receptor sites in the cerebral cortex that respond to feet and genitals sit right next to one another. We’re no neurosurgeons, but we’re guessing that means it’s pretty easy for arousal to spill over (or whatever the technical term is) from one area to the other.

3) High heels were worn by both men and women until the early 18th century.
Up until the 1730s, it was fashionable for Western European noblemen to strut their stuff in heeled slippers just as frilly and delicate as those of their female counterparts. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between the men’s and women’s shoes from this period featured in the film.

4) Former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland names her shoes.
Or at least some of them. Her “most favorite” pairs, anyway. That’s taking it a little far, no?

5) Platforms got as high as 54 centimeters during the Renaissance period.
And we thought stripper heels were intimidating. In cities like Genoa and Venice, Italian women wore clog-like wooden and cork chopines over their dress shoes to signify wealth and status. The higher the chopine, the longer the dress needed to cover them, ergo more money spent on fabric. The tallest pair uncovered measures 54 centimeters–that’s nearly two feet!

6) American women purchase more pairs of shoes per year than women in any other country.
According to the film, we average seven or eight new pairs annually. That’s roughly a pair and a half every month. So why is there still nothing in our closet to match that new skirt?

7) No one knows who actually invented the high heel.
Roger Vivier or the Ferragamo house? Precisely who gets credit for the stiletto is hotly debated in the flick, but no conclusion is ultimately drawn.

Here’s the trailer:

Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.