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Fashion for pointy shoes unleashed a wave of bunions in medieval England

By Piers Mitchell, Affiliated Lecturer in Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Jenna Dittmar, Research Fellow, Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen
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The 14th century saw the arrival of an abundance of new styles of dress and footwear in Europe, coming in a wide range of fabrics and colours. Among these new fashion trends were “poulaines” – rather eccentric-looking medieval shoes with a lengthy pointed tip.

The archaeological and the historical record suggests that this new fashion item was widely adopted by England’s medieval society and that, by the late 14th century, almost…

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