It’s known that if you wear overly pointy shoes for long periods, you’re likely to damage your feet How long has this been going on? Was it prevalent in, say, medieval Cambridge, UK?
To find out, researchers examined the human remains of 177 adult individuals (11th > 15th century) from four cemeteries located in Cambridge, England, to check their toes for shoe damage.
18% had Hallux valgus (deformed big-toes) caused, very probably, by wearing overly pointy shoes (see dwg). The researchers also noted that many of the individuals who had apparently been wearing painfully fashionable shoes also had fractures consistent with falling over – especially so-called FOOSH injuries (Falls On OutStretched Hand ).
This B&W photo, courtesy Kamstein @ Wikipedia, shoes a pair of modern-day(ish) Winkle Pickers.