Shoe, a well-known article of dress, which serves to cover the feet.
Shoes are generally made of leather, the texture of which ought not only to be sufficiently close, to exclude moisture, but also pliant, or flexible; so that it may afford free scope for the motion of the foot: and, as it is an object of material consequence to be provided against the sudden changes of the weather, we refer the reader to the 3d volume, pp. 79-81, in which he will meet with the most approved methods of rendering leather water-proof.
Next to the substance of which shoes are manufactured, the most important consideration will be their size, or shape ; which should in all cases be adapted to the foot. An easy shoe must, therefore, be of a sufficient length, and of a proportionate breadth. The sole should be thick, and their extremities, round rather than pointed; in order to protect the toes from being injured by sharp stones, or other rough substances, that may occur in the streets or roads. - Such are the requisites for obtaining a convenient shoe; and, if these be not strictly observed, the necessary perspiration of the feet will be checked ; warts and corns, with all their attendant pains, will arise ; and numerous other maladies will be induced - extending their influence to other parts of the body. Beside these serious consequences, which persons wearing narrow or fashionable shoes, gradually, though certainly, experience, they also surfer from immediate fatigue and languor, when walking only to a short distance ; whereas, by pursuing a contrary conduct, the feet are not only more easy, but those, who wear proper shoes, are enabled to undergo the longest pedestrian journies, without receiving any material injury from such exertions. - See also the article Foot.
The common method of shoeing consists, first, in paring the frog, sole, and binders of the foot; so that, by clumsy management, a flow of blood is frequently occasioned : next, a heavy shoe, which is made somewhat concave on the side next the hoof, is then applied nearly red-hot. Farther, to prevent the frog from coming in contact with the ground, the shoe-heels are usually made either very thick, broad, and strong ; or large cramps or caulkers are raised upon them. In consequence of this treatment, the frog is unnaturally elevated above the ground, and the keels are deprived of the substance which was originally intended to keep the crust sufficiently expanded. Thus, the former are forced together; and, while the latter is pressed upon the coffin, and the extremities of the nut-bone, the circulation of the blood is impeded; the frog gradually wastes; at length the whole hoof decays; and, by such injudicious practice, the numerous disorders incident to the feet of horses, which are known under the names Of Foundered, Frush, etc. are generally occasioned.
To remedy, or at least to prevent, these maladies, Mr. Edward Coleman has invented an artificial frog, for which he obtained a patent in February 1800. This frog may be made of any tough and hard material; for instance, leather, horn, or wood ; but iron is preferable. In order to fix and remove such contrivance with ease, the toe of the iron frog extends beneath that of the shoe, and thus prevents the artificial frog from slipping forwards : next, a steel spring is fitted into an irregular groove in the iron frog, and fixed under the heels of the shoe ; lest the frog should move either backwards, or in a lateral direction. Lastly, to ensure greater steadiness to this application, a leather strap is passed through a hole, in the heel of the frog, and then buckled round the hoof.
In April, 1796, a patent was granted to Mr. William Moor-Croft, .for his invention of an improved and expeditious method of manufacturing horse-shoes. His practice consists in cutting the shoes by means of dies, having previously prepared the iron ; in consequence of which, the shape of the shoe is not only more perfect, but the horse's foot is supported in a more effectual manner, than by the sloes in common use: thus, in the opinion of the patentee, many diseases to which that part is liable, may in future be prevented. - For a detailed account of this contrivance, the reader will consult the 6th vol. of the "Repertory of Arts, " etc.: - some judicious hints, on the shoeing of that valuable animal, also occur in Mr. Moorcroft's pamphlet, entitled, " A Cursory Account of the various Methods of Shoeing Horses, " 8vo. 1800; which will amply repay the trouble of perusal.