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Definition of Footwear

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by PodBoss, May 19, 2011.

  1. PodBoss

    PodBoss Welcome New Poster

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    Hi All

    In recent discussions with many podiatrists, biomechanists, physios and the like on the topic of footwear, i have heard many interesting definitions and thought processes to define exactlly what footwear is?

    There is a lack of consensus in our world and no one meaning is used/cited in research to deifne what footwear is.

    Given the plethora of intelectual minds using podiatry arena to share and discuss their knowledge, it would be inappropriate of me not to give you all the opportunity to add your two cents worth.

    So i propose:

    How would you define footwear? References or personal opinion always welcome.


  2. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    As a Pedorthist(maker of medical grade footwear), l would ask you to break it down a bit more maybe.

    There so many types of footwear for all sorts of reasons.

    But off the top of my head we could start with the basic
    "Footwear is a protective covering of the foot that aids in the gait cycle."

    Now how far do you want to go with that because a sandal is classed as footwear, but offers very little protection to the foot?

    It's interesting that you discussed this with everyone but a pedorthist who makes shoe?
  3. hontas

    hontas Member

    I have never heard an all encompassing definition to date.

    Maybe this is slighly more accurate?

    "Anything attached to the foot or feet for the purpose of fashion, function or protection that may be motivated by personal, social, religious or cultural ideology"
  4. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Spoke to a friend and college Ernie Tye last night, a highly respected second gen pedorthist and this was his take on that

    "3 dimensional interface with minimum 2 surface contact points between ground and feet".
  5. Glen Willey

    Glen Willey Member

    Footwear has many needs and uses and defining footwear as a single use item could not describe it's many functions. The majority of footwear is purchased for the sole use of fashion, however other uses include enhancement of line and form of the lower limb (as a model) and protection of the foot from the external environment and conditions, to assist in ambulation, or help assist other devices for improved ambulation . Footwear is also used as a character tool as in theatre, or as a tool to enhance external contact as in rock climbing,car racing.
    For a more light-hearted approach "Footwear are capsules to help your feet from fraying"
  6. efuller

    efuller MVP

    In my opinion, footwear would include toe rings. What do you need a definition for?

  7. hontas

    hontas Member

    I think this is an interesting topic that warrants further input - is there no all encompassing or standard definition of footwear either in the literature or from personal experience/opinion? Makes me wonder what would one's definition be if asked by a patient? There are clear differences between what one would consider 'good' and 'poor' footwear, but there is no definition of footwear to begin with?
  8. PodBoss

    PodBoss Welcome New Poster

    Interesting Hontas

    This forum is PARTICUARLLY quiet...

    Where are the usual suspects... Kevin, Craig, Simon... surely you have some input

    Perhaps it is an indication of yet another thing we lack standard definitions on...I'll add it to my list
  9. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    My first reply is a basic one, that would have in the past done for footwear but sadly, there is so much crap out there that is called footwear and are clearly only foot coverings at best.

    How can you have a definition to clearly cover a lace up structural Derby shoe, but still works as a definition for a Croc? :hammer: l dont think so.

    To answer your question as to where the others are, Bath university, see the other thread in General
  10. PodBoss

    PodBoss Welcome New Poster

    Well do you have a definition that distinguishes the difference ... you have just identified there is a difference between two things commonlly referred to as footwear, but no way to define how they are different...

    How do you look at it....is a shoe a piece of footwear or are a shoe and piece of footwear the same....They are not the same thing yet there is no definiion to define the difference?
  11. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Lets start with defining what we are trying to achieve here, what is your need for a definition in the first place? a medical referance????
    l am just trying to help us to get into the mindset?

    Open the debate with this...............
    Foot covering
    This would be anything that covers the foot, be it more sole than upper, e.g a thong, but does nothing or very little of the definition below, these are to the most part fashion items

    A protective covering of the foot that aids in or enhances the gait cycle."

    There are definitions within the title of footwear regarding design e.g.
    Merry Janes
    and so on.............

    Then there are definitions of manufacturing process
    Goodyear welt
    Board lasted
    and so on...........

    Just had a quick look at the online for definitions
    "Anything worn to cover the feet"
    "Covering for a persons feet"
    "Clothing worn on a persons feet"
  12. I don't like the term "footwear" because it is too nonspecific. "Footwear" can include jewelry, shoes, boots, socks or stick-on pads. However, since my name was mentioned, here is what I think the best definition is for the term.

    Footwear: An item of apparel attached to or covering the foot.
  13. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    Are not orthoses footwear?

    A definition such as this, I think less is more.

    footwear - a covering for the foot
  14. hontas

    hontas Member

    Are flip flops/thongs footwear then? They do not cover the foot (only the plantar surface). :confused:
  15. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    They are sold by footwear companies and people do refer to them as footwear because you wear them on your foot, so by that definition yes they are.

    There are some very interesting thongs that do aid in or enhance the gait cycle and others that are just fashion

    l am sticking to what l said earlier as to footwear.
    "A protective covering of the foot that aids in or enhances the gait cycle."
  16. hontas

    hontas Member

    Just wondering which thongs 'enhance' the gait cycle, apart from providing protection?
  17. If I wore one of these they certainly would "enhance" my gait cycle......:rolleyes:

  18. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

  19. hontas

    hontas Member

    Interesting. Now we're talking semantics on more than one level.
  20. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    def --- a covering of the foot

    The definition does not say a top cover of the foot.

    A diabetic insert would be included as footwear if a padding is included as footwear and it is.

    What about a PRAFO? It would be included.

    Just because something braces the foot does not exlude it from footwear.
  21. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    So Joseph, under your definition and the direction you are going, you would have to include socks, tights and stocking's? :bang: were would you like to draw the line?
  22. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    Socks, tights and stockings are all included in footwear.

    Diabetic socks are mandatory to be thought of as footwear also compression stockings.

    def --- a covering of the foot implies any covering of the foot.

    What about the blurring of the lines like water socks or are they surf shoes --- all included.

    What about prosthoses a blurring of prostheses and orthoses --- all include.

    What about the blurring of orthotics and shoes such as CROW or Neuro Walkers also I speak to shoe companies every chance I get pushing my idea of Pathology Specific Shoes so that the pathology specific orthotic would be incorporated in a pathology specific upper and soling.

    Where would I draw the line. I would not draw the line that the covering had to touch the foot an example would be the various products to off load the foot example a pressure relieving ankle foot orthoses.

    A definition such as this should leave the door wide open, any more words would just limit the definition.
  23. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    And here was l thinking they were Hosiery:bash:
  24. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    All hosiery is footwear but not all footwear is hosiery.

    I think of hosiery as one of many subcategories of footwear.
  25. I think that the broader definition of "footwear" would include shoes, socks and even toe rings.

    foot·wear (ftwâr)
    Attire, such as shoes or slippers, for the feet.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    footwear [ˈfʊtˌwɛə]
    (Clothing & Fashion) anything worn to cover the feet
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
  26. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    Now that I have you on board for hoisery do you understand the importance of considering anything that is between a diabetic foot and the floor is footwear. If you are wearing it on your foot; it is footwear. I know this maybe hard to relinquish foot orthotics as a subcategory of footwear but I believe it is. If you stuck an imaginary pin through the coverings of a foot, it would pass through the diabetic insert. I believe it is necessary for patients and practitioners to appreciate that a covering of the foot is footwear.
  27. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    Footwear has many medical, health and well being benefits.

    Footwear cannot be left to the dictates of fashion as in the Collins English Dictionary.
  28. Glen Willey

    Glen Willey Member

    Maybe we should be defining "orthoses" first. I would not assume that a knee brace is footwear, however it is an orthoses. . Maybe a more specific term as a "Foot Orthoses" could be regarded as footwear, as there are more orthoses which are non-foot related as there is foot related.
    How would one define an Ischael Bearing long leg caliper which primary function is to support the knee. It is attached at the heel of the shoe but is not supporting the foot.
    I've got a headache!!!
  29. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    Yes there are many types of orthoses, I meant to say foot orthoses.

    You bring up a good point should an orthosis that is primarily functioning outside the foot be considered footwear and my point of view is it intersects footwear.

    As guardians of the foot we must assess and understand all the ramifications a covering of the foot has.

    If you were an at risk neuropathic person with diabetes do you think it would be important to understand the implications of an ischeal bearing long leg caliper on the foot?

    Yes of course, in a Venn diagram your orthosis would intersect with footwear.
  30. Glen Willey

    Glen Willey Member

    So do I understand correctly. You are implying that anything and everything that has an effect on the foot even if the device ,in itself, does not contact the foot is to be regarded as footwear or part of the footwear.

    So, if that is the case, then that would surely be accepted that all footwear whether prescribed or not be regarded as an orthotic as all footwear would effect the foot from it's natural position if left unaided, and if not ,then that would only be determined by the fact it is medically prescribed.

    So in determining these factors, a definition of footwear should surely state that they are not prescribed as a medical device, otherwise they would be determined as an orthoses
    mmmmmmmmmmmm----------------------------- Still got a migraine now --thanks

  31. halfway

    halfway Member

    In my opinion .I would call that "Foot Fashion" not footwear.
    Is nail polish or a tattoo--footwear ????? me thinks not.

  32. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    An interesting thought.

    I do believe that all footwear has an effect on the foot.

    Certainly any footwear prescribed would be a medical device.

    If we slice the pie of shoes into street shoes, therapeutic shoes and healing shoes.

    Certainly prescribed therapeutic shoes and healing shoes would be medical devices but if we say street shoes are medically indicated then the street shoes become a medical device such as when the patient's shoes are infected with fungus and need to be replaced.

    As street shoes become more sophisticated as they have, more and more they will be prescribed.

    I like what you have said but I think footwear is the larger of the two words i.e. footwear and orthotics (foot orthoses) as they pertain to the foot.

    Footwear includes non prescribed apparel.

    Off the shelf orthotics (foot orthoses) bought at the market that are not prescribed are also footwear.
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  33. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    Foot fashion is a subcategory of footwear.

    Even in the most seemingly absurd cases I believe the def -- a covering of the foot holds up.

    The definition of footwear would include nail polish or a tattoo.
  34. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    As we draw the imaginary "pin" away from the foot,

    do we consider if the foot is covered with air, mud, water etc.

    then what surface is the foot resting on carpet, tile, concrete, snow etc.

    A covering of the foot might entail all these also.

    And if we are uncomfortable calling all the above footwear should we use a new word such as

    footniche to describe all that interacts with the foot in a particular enviornment.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  35. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    l think you have WAY too much time on your hands...and possibly feet which makes it footwear too:dizzy:
  36. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    If we think of footwear in only layers such as the imaginary pin suggests then

    we miss out on their interactions with each other such as the shoe and the sock

    or the shoe and the orthotic, the surface and the shoe

    or even more interesting combinations such as the orthotic and the toe ring.

    Combinations are not limited to duals but can work in systems such as ground

    reactive force, shoes, orthotics and socks.
  37. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    And the time which the footwear is applied to the foot is also an important consideration.

    As we take walking for example, the footwear is changing through the gait cycle or

    should we say the "footniche" is changing.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  38. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Originally Posted by efuller View Post
    In my opinion, footwear would include toe rings. What do you need a definition for?

    The question was what is the definition of foot wear. Footwear is things you wear on your feet. Why not toe rings. Now, I'm not sure that you can wear paint. Wear would imply that you can take it off and put it on again. If we new why we needed a definition then it would be easier to define.

    Aren't some shoes fashionable?

  39. Tkemp

    Tkemp Active Member

  40. joseph_mozena@yahoo.com

    joseph_mozena@yahoo.com Active Member

    I think definitions are important because it is how we interpret our world.

    Why did Eskimos have more words for snow than we do -- because they are interpreting their world differently.

    Why is the language of love -- French?

    We all know that the question bespeaks the answer so also the definition tells us

    something about the subject.

    The subject or object of the definition will push our understanding of it.

    As is the case of the definition of footwear, it helps us to examine that subject eg

    go examine that patients footwear or is the footwear contributing to disease,

    deformity or injury.

    Having everyone on the same page of what constitutes footwear is important.

    I stand by my definition of footwear -- a covering of the foot.

    Fashionable shoes also cover the foot as do toe rings.

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