Thursday, October 9, 2014

The 90s: The Dawning of Foot Fetishism Online

Leg Show magazine was a go to source for foot fetish material before the Internet.

"I would call out of work so I could have the house to myself so I could discover the wonders of online foot fetish material." - Bondo 

Everyone in the house is asleep. I head down to the basement and fire up the 36k modem on the Apple Macintosh Performa 6115 CD to log into AOL. I'm in the mood to check out some high quality foot fetish pictures. You know, at 480x640 pixels? Oh, the good old days of foot fetish material on the Internet. Even in those days, however, we had it better than we did before!

Before the Internet

Being born in 1979 and growing up in the 80s and 90s, I didn't have too many places to go to get my foot fetish fix. Hell, I didn't even realize I liked feet as much as I do until I was about 14. I was into legs before I ever discovered women's feet. I'd get my jollies finding pictures of women wearing stockings, in catalogs and sales flyers. Once I discovered I also liked what was below the ankles, I'd find my inspiration the same way. And I was not alone.

Bondo, the web master of Pose Your Toes can relate. "My first stash of material was created by ripping out pages of People magazine and various women's magazines," he says.

Rhonda Shear inspired many foot fetishists in the 1990s on her show Up All Night.

Like me, Bondo also turned to the television to find views of women's feet, namely those belonging to Rhonda Shear, the host of the USA Network's Up All Night show.

"I'd also set my VCR to record various TV shows and movies in search of foot sightings. I taped USA Up All Night with Rhonda Shear every Friday because she often focused segments of her show on foot and stocking fetishes," Bondo recalls.

Bondo was right. On any given night you could find Shear showing off her adorable feet and legs in segments that resemble clips you could find on countless Clips4Sale stores today. In one episode from 1993 Shear could be seen getting a pedicure at every commercial break between the two movies shown that night - Night of the Comet and Private Benjamin. You can see the clip on her own YouTube account - USA Up All Night 93 45 Rhonda Shear Toe Special.

A screen cap from Rhonda Shear's tomato squishing segment.

One thing Shear was perhaps most known for was her food squishing segments. You name it, she squished it under her feet. I've compiled the following list of clips I was also able to find on Shear's YouTube account. There may be more that I didn't find as she has tons of videos:

In addition to these two methods, like every other teenage boy, there was always finding a parent's or friend's parent's porn stash. My own father didn't have a ton in the way of porn - mostly some issues of Playboy when a famous person was featured. He did have some smaller magazines and digest versions of the larger ones such as Penthouse Variations though. It was in an issue of Variations that I remember reading an entire section of foot fetish themed articles. I was already starting to like feet by time I found this, but that issue was a favorite of mine, especially since there were a few images to go along with the topic. They weren't anything like today's photos though. The pictures were more or less just images where they decided to leave the girl's shoes off. Still, it was something!

Once again, Bondo's experiences paralleled my own. "My friend's dad had a stash of porn mags that I borrowed in hopes to see some barefoot models," he says.

When I turned 18 in 1997 I didn't waste much time hitting up a few strip clubs and adult book stores. I still remember walking through the extreme kinks section of one such store as it was one of the few that carried foot fetish videos. I bought myself a few VHS tapes, but in all honesty, they failed to impress me. It wasn't until I found Leg Show magazine that I began to quench my foot fetish thirst outside of anyone I was dating at the time. I even went as far as buying back issues in discount bins. That is also when I discovered that Shear had also posed in Leg Show pictorials in the August 1993 and 1996 issues. I was lucky enough to locate both during my many journeys to collect older issues.

Leg Show became a vital part of my growth into who I am today. Abby's first published foot fetish photos appeared in February 1999 issue of Leg Show. We submitted them during the time we dated. She was so excited to see them featured. I still have the issue, but it is put away so I wasn't able to scan the page for this piece.

It was also through Leg Show where Abby and I would go on to meet another model by the name of Kim T. Many of you know of Kim from her older Yahoo! Groups and being featured on Wu's Feet Links in the feature set, Toes 'n Hose. We were able to meet as we actually became pen pals, writing to one another through P.O. boxes and trading photos. Trading photos was actually quite popular back before the Internet and a good number of photo submissions to Leg Show featured a P.O. box address. It was a slow process and involved spending quite a bit of money on envelopes, stamps, and most of all, reprints of 35mm photos.

I met Kim T. through Leg Show magazine's Home Photos section.

Because of my fondness for Leg Show I included an issue in Marcy's debut set in 2010. She had just turned 18, so I was instantly reminded of discovering the magazine when I turned legal. Since Marcy was still in high school at the time of her 18th birthday, I picked up the magazine and a shirt that read "barely legal" and that's how she debuted - playing hooky and checking out her first porno mag out behind school. I let her keep the issue too.

Marcy's debut set in 2010 featured an issue of Leg Show magazine.

You can ask pretty much anyone with a foot fetish who turned 18 in the 90s about Leg Show magazine and you'll hear nothing but good things. It catered to quite a few fetishes, but foot fetishism was a big portion of that magazine every issue.

Adam, the web master and photographer of Feet Fair recalls those days before the Internet. "I remember being thrilled to pieces when I first discovered Leg Show magazine; that was my primary source of foot fetish material."

"When I was old enough to buy my own porn, I discovered magazines like Leg Show that had a major focus on feet. Leg Show was also where I discovered the Godfather of Foot Fetish, Elmer Batters," Bondo recalls. "I still have many Elmer Batters magazines and videos. They are timeless classics!

Elmer Batters' work was a regular feature in Leg Show magazine in the 1990s.

I was also very fond of Batters work and drew inspiration from him in my own artwork and photography throughout my college years. Sadly, however, I have never picked up any of his books. Most of what I have seen of his work was in the regular pictorials in Leg Show magazine and now online.

An old image from FMConcepts.

Early Days of the Internet

It was slim pickings when it came to foot fetish material in the early days of the Internet. Today you have sites and clip stores everywhere you turn. Back then, not so much!

"The two [sites] that really made an impression on me were FM Concepts and Feet Dreams," says Adam. "FM Concepts was really a driving force and inspiration to me.

"The first actual foot fetish site I found was In the Feet of the Night. FM Concepts, Janet's Foot Tease, My Little Redhead and DF Productions were some of my early favorites," Bondo shares.

Like me, Bondo had to be careful checking out foot fetish material in those early days. It wasn't like today where you had it on your phone, tablet, laptop, etc. Nope, it was generally on a shared, family computer, friend's computer, and even at the public library - but I won't get into that! Ha!

"I first discovered the Internet in the mid-90s when I was living with a bunch of friends. One of my friends had a dinosaur computer with a very slow dial up modem," Bondo explains. "The computer took several minutes just to warm up and load Windows 95. Then it took a few more minutes to connect to the Web through the modem. Then you had to pray that a dial up server was available to connect to, and hope no one in the house had to use the phone because we didn't have cell phones back then."

Bondo even recalls some of his experiences trying to get his early online foot fetish fixes. "Sometimes I would sneak down in the middle of the night just to connect to the Web, or I would call out from work so I could have the house to myself so I could discover the wonders of online foot fetish material. Sometimes it took minutes just to download one photo and videos were practically non-existent."

Abby's very first foot fetish photo shoot ever.

Creating Our First Free Sites

As the Internet began to evolve you began to see a few more sites dedicated to female feet begin to be published. Leg Show even began featuring a page full of online links to various foot and leg fetish sites within its magazine. It was at this time that I decided to give Web design a try.

In my second year of college, 1999, I came across a program called Macromedia Dreamweaver. It was actually the first version of the program and all I knew was it was used to create Web sites. What I didn't know, however, was just how different creating a Web site would be compared to what I had already done with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at that point.

Over the course of a few months I began to take my fine art and foot fetish photography and scan it into the computer. From there I began creating very crude, almost entirely graphically-based HTML pages. The site was more of a portfolio site and I wasn't even sure how to publish it.

Eventually I saw other foot fetish sites using the Yahoo! Geocities service and uploaded my Web Site for the first time in late-1999. I didn't really see any feedback at the start. It wasn't until I reached out to Wu of Wu's Feet Links that my site would gain any notoriety. People dug the artwork and especially the photos, most of which were done with Abby.

As time would go on, people would inquire about Abby and a couple of the other models, friends, and classmates I had photographed in my early days. They asked to see more and that is when I decided to give each model whose photos I had taken her very own page on the site. The models section was born and from there, things took off.

It was also around this time that I noticed another site called Pretty Feet Pictures. It was a lot like mine, a free site that featured barefoot girls in non-sexual poses, and in many cases, did so more artistically than most sites. That site was actually Adam's forerunner to Feet Fair.

"My first site was a free site on Angelfire, remember them? It was called Pretty Feet Pictures, or PFP for short," Adam recounts.

Like myself, Adam didn't start off doing foot fetish photography, but it evolved from the work he was already doing. "I was doing commercial photography and worked for an airline for a number of years," he says.

Skye played an important role in Adam starting Pretty Feet Pictures.

One of the biggest reasons for his transition into shooting foot fetish content came when he met the model above, SkyeShe is also one of the first models I remember seeing on Pretty Feet Pictures and Adam has a lot of praise for her.

"My first model was the lovely Skye, who I met through another photographer. At the time Skye, who is from Boston, was working with a small modeling agency her in New York City and doing a lot of commercial stuff. We did some test shoots near my place and she was wearing a pair of really sexy heels, so I asked if I could take some snaps of her feet. Skye is very open and immediately agreed, but was curious as to why I wanted to take pictures of her feet. I was a bit embarrassed, but I fessed up about my fetish and wanting to possibly open my own site," Adam says.

"She was not only supportive, but offered to be my first model for free! To her, this was a very interesting endeavor on my part and she wanted to be a part of it," he adds.

As the years went on Adam added more and more great models to the site including Tera, Little Dee, and Maureen - each of which helped put him and his site on a lot of people's radar when it was still called, Pretty Feet Pictures.

  • Tera: "I met Tera and I did some artsy photography with her and Skye."
  • Little Dee: "It's not until after I met Little Dee that the whole thing took off. I met Dee the same way I met Skye. We were doing commercial work, and I soon noticed how awesome her feet were. She was actually surprised that I wanted to do foot fetish photography with her because at the time she was very innocent and wasn't too familiar with any kind of fetish."
  • Maureen: "I also met Maureen around the same time I met Dee in the summer of 2002. She too, was a very crucial part of the success [of the site]."

A shot from Bondo's first site, Flash Your Feet.

About a year after Adam was meeting Little Dee and Maureen I discovered another site called Flash Your Feet, Bondo's first site and predecessor to Pose Your Toes.

"I started out posting my original foot fetish photos on old newsgroups and message boards. Creating my own Web site was the next step in that evolution. I first started dabbing in Web design around 2003 with the intention of wanting to start a foot fetish Web site to display my perspective on foot fetish photography," Bondo explains. "I had an early version of Macromedia Flash and I had the idea to create a Web site using Flash animations, so I created a site called Flash Your Feet. Flash was also a double meaning to represent the camera flash."

Unlike Adam and myself, the feet Bondo shot at the beginning weren't of models (Adam) or friends/classmates (myself), but instead, every day women he found outside in Washington, D.C.

"I started taking foot photos of ladies in public, both posed and candid, following the footsteps of early style influences like Agboy, CCDude, and Patrick," Bondo says. "I would walk around the National Mall in Washington, D.C. with my 35mm film camera and ask women if they'd let me take pictures of their feet for a Web page. I was surprised at the willingness to participate, which was very encouraging."

What started out as a passion for female feet for the three of us grew into a hobby for several years. But as the web began to evolve and life moved along, all three of us would make changes to our sites in both name and structure.

Annette is one of Adam's popular models on his present day site, Feet Fair.

The Birth of Feet Fair, Soles of Silk, & Pose Your Toes

Adam was the first to make the change opening Feet Fair late 2000 - early 2001. What was once a hobby has now become his job, but one he fully enjoys.

"It's more of a job for me now, but I don't mind because I'm making some money, meeting crazy sexy models, and doing something I love. Feet Fair is not my only source of income, but actually it's my main one," Adam details.

It was actually around this same time that I closed my site after initially changing it's name and doing a total redesign. I had renamed my site The 10 Little Piggies and moved it to it's own server, but it was still a free site. When I realized how much money it cost to sustain without any kind of income from it, I had to close it.

After taking a few years away from the scene I decided to return, but this time with a pay site so I could afford to keep my passion going. In early 2004 I began taking new photos and designing my brand new site, Soles of Silk. In the final week of 2004, I was back online doing what I loved and have been doing so ever since.

Bondo loved working with Layla, a model who has actually posed for all three of us.

Two years later, in 2006, Bondo also decided it was time for a change and Pose Your Toes was born. "I wanted to expand to more than just public foot photography - something more along the lines of glamour photos meets foot fetish," he says. "I also wanted to try my hand at running a membership based site to help offset the costs of paying for Web space and hiring models. I phased out Flash Your Feet to open Pose Your Toes. Since then I have removed the membership option to make all the photos free to the public."

Mindee has been with Soles of Silk since Day One back in 2004.

How the Online Foot Fetish Landscape Has Evolved

It's hard to believe that the birth of our three sites happened about 10 years ago respectively. It seems like only a short time ago I was trying to convince Mindee that her size 8 feet are adorable and she should pose for my upcoming site. So much has changed since then and the community has grown by leaps and bounds.

"Today's technology is making it easier for the average user to create Web sites, so just about anyone with a computer and a camera can do it," Bondo says.

Adam agrees. "The simple answer is technology. The Internet opened up foot fetishism for the masses and because now all you need is a digital camera and a girl with nice feet, anyone can start their own site," he says.

It's just not your every day guys like Adam, Bondo, and myself opening sites these days. And it's not just the models or couples into the scene either. Mainstream porn companies took notice of the potential market that was foot fetishism and created their own sites to cater to the niche.

"I think that as foot fetishism slowly gets more acceptance among the public, big companies will always be looking to cash in, it's just the nature of the beast," Adam says.

"As far as mainstream companies and adult Web sites catering to the foot fetish scene, our fetish is a very popular and fairly easy one to target in my opinion. These folks aren't just running a Web site, they're running businesses, so it would seem simple enough and in their better interest from that perspective to include our audience in their business model," Bondo explains.

Moving Forward

With foot fetishism so well catered to on the Internet it's hard to imagine just how much more things will change in the next 10 years. If you would have described to me how things are now back in 1998 when I was starting my own site for the first time, I wouldn't have believed you. Even back in 2004 when I launched Soles of Silk I would have had a hard time comprehending just how far things would advance.

"Life and technology are so much different now than they were when I was growing up, discovering myself, and exploring my fetishes. Not necessarily better or worse, just different," Bondo says. "Back before high speed global communication things required more patience, where today anything you can imagine is instant access."

So next time you take out your smart phone and download a picture or video of a cute girl showing off her cute little toes and curvy arches, just remember the good old days of printed porn, VHS tapes, and phone modems. And if you're too young to remember that... you're just spoiled!

How to find those featured in this column:

Feet Fair: (E-mail), (Online)
Pose Your Toes: (E-mail), (Online)
Soles of Silk: @SolesofSilk (Twitter), (Online)