Chinese foot binding was a particularly barbaric process that existed mostly in rural China until recently. It was mostly a cultural practice. The practice required the very restricted binding of the feet of young girls and the maintaining of them bound to prevent the feet from growing. This is an agonizing practice and resulted in substantial deformity and disability. Children who were being put through this process had to use specifically created and manufactured footwear. There was quite a skill to this and the footwear that these children were required to wear were embellished very purposely and exotically. The actual cause of the practice of Chinese foot binding was that smaller feet were considered far more desirable in females. A much better price can be required by the family of the bride for the dowry.
The actual practice was very common in rural China for several centuries and just recently began to die out about 100 years ago because of social pressures which were brought to bear on the practice because of the pain and impairment it has been causing. You can still find a number of older Chinese woman alive today with these misshaped feet from the binding when they were younger. The tragedy is because of what happened when they were small children they do need to keep their feet bound as it is more comfortable than not having them bound because the deformity has become so great. There's been lots of cultural and psychological research into the foot binding particularly in the framework of it being carried out too please the men rather than being of any benefit to the female. Of the latest awareness is the current practice of females wearing tight fitting high heel shoes has drawn resemblances between Chinese foot binding. Some of the cultural and psychological evaluation of this have actually suggested the analogy among the two practices and who actually benefits from the practice. Both of them are painful, both produce foot deformity, and both are for the benefit of men.