Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thank you, Dr Scholl

Cheryl has a foot problem. Except we don't say that anymore, do we. We speak of challenges and issues. Anyway, Cheryl rises to her foot challenge with humour and determination. Go here for an account of her latest efforts, courtesy of Dr Scholl, to cope with toes that turn under.
Meanwhile, here is Wikipedia is on the subject of the good doctor:

"William Mathias Scholl was the son of German-immigrants to Indiana. To earn extra cash, he used his grandfather's cobbler's tools to repair shoes. Aged 18 he moved to work for Chicago shoe retailer Ruppert's, where he found that many customers suffered from similar medical problems with their feet.
"Scholl began taking night classes at the Illinois Medical School, graduating in 1904 as podiatrist. After designing and gaining a patent around a mechanical arch support in 1904 called the Foot-Eazer, in 1906 he started his own company. He produced over the next few years a series of similarly patented footcare products, including: the Zino Pad, rubberless stockings, anticorn pads, cushion insoles, exercise sandals, orthopedic shoes, Foot Wings and Ball-O-Foot Cushions.
"[In] 1959 [he launched] the "Original Exercise Sandal," claiming that wearing it toned the leg muscles.
"Although the sandal was designed primarily for footcare, female fashion of the early 1960s was based around the mini skirt, which showed off the full length of a lady's legs. The fact the sandal now looked trendy with its primary-coloured leather strap added to its marketability, and resulted in huge sales.
"Known today simply as "Scholls", with wooden soles and leather uppers they quickly became a style and comfort icon throughout the 60s and 70s, worn by celebrities such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton. William enhanced distribution by making them available in self-service racks in drugstores, which by 1972 resulted in Scholl selling over 1 million sandals in the United States alone....
"William M Scholl died in 1968 at the age of 86, with over 1000 patented footcare products to his name."

I remember my intimidating older cousin - Rudolf Steiner school, mother who painted - wearing these sandals when they first appeared on the scene, and my mother's disdainful response.

They were meant to strengthen your foot. My mother seriously doubted it. And, as usual, her doubt carried a strong undercurrent of moral disapproval.
Although I was impressed by the sandals, I don't remember wanting any for myself - they were too arty and clunky, at a time when I yearned for this sort of thing, and the autonomy to wear it.

I've ransacked the interweb for a picture of either Twiggy or The Shrimp wearing Dr Scholl's, as Wikipedia claims they did, but no joy. If anyone can find one, I'd be glad to post it.
I did eventually get to wear wooden shoes, in the 70s. But their complete inflexibility and that relentless clunking prompted me to give them away. So why, decades on, did I pay far too much for this poorly made and ill-fitting Italian version of the peasant clog? (Answers on a postcard, please).

Nana liked to say, "Clogs to clogs in three generations." Looks like she was right.


  1. Goodness me - my foot reproduced again! Clogs aargh. I think I did have a pair of Dr Scholls but briefly and do remember clunking around in some multi-coloured ones like the design here.

    Twiggy and Jean in clogs or Dr Scholls. Really? nooo.

  2. Here is a pic of Jean in scholl sandals: