Jan Jansen
Other, shoe designer

My entire life I have been concerned with creating space for the foot. Creating space in a shoe is a difficult task. The space that a shoe provides for a foot is the size of the shoe last.

We no longer want to bind our feet like the Chinese used to do, but we do want our feet to be clad. We sometimes do this with spacious, comfortable walking shoes. Sometimes with sturdy cowboy boots. Sometimes with delicate pumps, which are sometimes supported by sky-high stilettos. However, you are always restricted by that space. After all, a foot has to fit inside it. The width of the ball has to be at least 7.2 cm for a size 38 and the ball girth 21.5 cm (I usually make it a bit bigger).

When I was asked to do something with space, I thought, there we go again. A little later, however, I had the idea of adapting the crystal slipper that I had previously made at Royal Leerdam to the maximum permitted width of 7 cm. That means in my case an inside measurement of 58 mm. What a delight that a foot doesn’t have to fit inside. There is no Cinderella with such a narrow foot. This inside space is far too narrow for a normal foot width and the inside space is visible. You can’t see the inside space with a wooden last. So for the first time in 45 years I have made a sort of shoe with an impossible ball space. For someone who is always concerned with fit this is a welcome change. I hope this won’t inspire me when I make real shoes.