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Book cover for Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love Them
Book cover for Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love ThemBook cover for Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love Them

Illustrated by Vanessa Davis

Bad Shoes & the Women Who Love Them is a lighthearted wake-up call to women to make informed decisions when buying and wearing fashionable shoes. Arming the reader with essential facts, citing medical literature as well as leading podiatric surgeons and orthopedists, Leora Tanenbaum covers the history of high heels, Chinese foot binding, the controversy over cosmetic surgery of the foot, and what Freud had to say about women's shoes and sex. Illustrated throughout by artist Vanessa Davis, Bad Shoes & the Women Who Love Them also includes hilarious anecdotes from women who love shoes. And yes—it is possible to make smart footwear decisions without sacrificing style! Tanenbaum shows you how.

Book cover for Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love Them
Book cover for Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love ThemBook cover for Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love Them

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“As a feminist writer, it seems only natural for [Tanenbaum] to tackle the phenomenon of perfectly sensible women wearing shoes that are unhealthy in the name of fashion and feeling feminine … Overall the book is not a call for us to burn our heels but for us to become more informed consumers.”

“There are not enough books out there on the choice many women make everyday—between sex appeal, attractiveness and comfort, health. And Tanenbaum explores the implications of wearing heels with a critical eye but avoids preaching because she identifies with the motivations for wearing 'high, high heels.' Best of all, her pace is quick and witty like a fashion magazine.”

Bad Shoes and the Women Who Love Them should be a prerequisite for all shoe-enthusiasts. The book offers practical advice that can easily be incorporated into even the most fashionable of wardrobes.”

blog — March 21

Vanessa Davis Wins the Paris Review's Terry Southern Prize

You’re likely familiar with the work of R. Crumb and Roz Chast (what’s with great comics artists and monosyllables?) but how about Vanessa Davis? If you’ve been sleeping on her, now’s the time to wake up. She just won the Paris Review’s prestigious Terry Southern Prize—recognizing her “humor, wit, and sprezzatura”—for her series “Summer Hours” in the Paris Review Daily. Previous winners include Elif Batuman and Ben Lerner—so she’s in good company.

Not only that, but Davis’s pioneering 2005 graphic novel Spaniel Rage is being reissued by Montreal comics publishing powerhouse Drawn & Quarterly. Before we all became bloggers and tweeters and instagrammers, chronicling the minutiae of our mundane, precarious existences, Davis’s autobiographical work did so with wit and grace unlikely to be found elsewhere. “More observational than confessional,” as Drawn & Quarterly puts it, Spaniel Rage is “sexy, funny, lonely, beautiful, spare, and very smart—the finest work from a natural storyteller.” D&Q has a free excerpt online here.

You can find her award-winning comics for the Paris Review here and her work for Tablet here. Davis also illustrated Leora Tanenbaum’s Bad Shoes & the Women Who Love Them, available from your friends at Seven Stories Press. Check out a few of the illustrations below!

Leora Tanenbaum

Leora Tanenbaum writes about women and girls and the unique problems they face. She is the author of Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, Catfight: Rivalries Among Women—From Diets to Dating, From the Boardroom to the Delivery Room, Bad Shoes and the Women Who Love Them, and Taking Back God: American Women Rising Up for Religious Equality. She lives in New York City.

Vanessa Davis

VANESSA DAVIS is an illustrator, cartoonist, and creator of Spaniel Rage and co-author of Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love Them. Her book Make Me a Woman was published by Drawn & Quarterly in 2010. She won the Paris Review's prestigious Terry Southern Prize for for "humor, wit, and sprezzatura" in 2017.