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Apropos of The Goon Show, is that illustrated foot the Terry Gilliam one from Monty Python's Flying Circus?!

Brilliant! Thank you so much for your trigonometry lesson as applied to shoes. If I had only known this in high school, I might have had a whole different career trajectory.

Melissa: Actually, it's Cupid's foot from the painting "Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time" by Angelo Bronzino. So you were close.

Tea: Trigonometry! That's the word I was looking for! I knew this was more than mere geometry!

If I had know this in high school, I'd have owned a lot more interesting shoes in my life!

A U.S. Women's size 12 last is 11.5 inches long. The length of the foot that stays on the ground when the heel is raised is about 3 inches (that is from toes to ball of foot). So we have a 8.5 inches to work with.

To remove 0.33 inchs (one full size), that length must be reduced to 8.16. This gives us a right triangle with a hypotenuse of 8.5 inches (working foot length), side A is 8.16 inches (desired length).

Using the Pythagorean formula, side B (lift height) has to be 2.35 inches.

George: Excellent additional work. I recognized that my diagram was flawed since only the rear 3/4 of a foot is actually angled upwards. And as you point out, it does require significant elevation to gain any appreciable shortening of the horizontal distance. Still an extra 1/8 of an inch or so can mean the difference between relatively comfortable and unbearable.

An interesting aside: while researching this post I came across all sorts of gossip about male Hollywood stars who relied on lifts to make their presence more imposing. John Wayne was reported to have worn 4" lifts hidden inside his cowboy boots!

I need to wear a 3/8 inch heel lift in only the left shoe because of a slightly shorter leg. I have noticed this effect because the toes on my right foot always feel longer and seem to need more room than the left. But I hadn't understood the geometry until now so thank you! I have a whole wardrobe of insoles and have found that with the right insole, paired with the right socks, you can get most shoes (as long as they are long enough to begin with) to feel just right. Have just fitted out my new No6 Clog boots with the lift and insoles.

Deborah: Ooo! Send a pic and show off your new No. 6 boots!

Here's another way to make those shoes fit. ;)

Glenn: OUCH!

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