The Greek word for foot and female genitalia come from the same phonemic pattern and words like foot, sandal, earth, filed, and shackle have identical etymological origins.
The foot has also been used as a symbol of speed, vitality and success and in the ancient cultures was inscribed on coins, amulets and tablets. Achilles, Diarmait, Harpocrates and Mopsus all had sacred feet or heels. The foot symbolically takes us from mother and brings us back again. Feelings about our feet bare the imprint of our unconscious beliefs and fantasies as gleaned from ancient language and mythology.
For psychiatrists the careful explication of the unconscious meanings of their patient’s references to feet and to foot symptomatology reveals rich and significant psychological data.
In Three Essays on the theory of sexuality (1905) Freud notes the foot serves as a sexual, mostly phallic symbol, symbol of mythology. Later he expanded to include shoes and slippers were symbiotic to the female genitalia (1910). He considered the foot served as the fetishistic choice due to its coprophilic significance. He observed only the foul smelling foot became the object of sexual interest, while the pleasure of smell remained largely repressed.
In 1910 Freud when exploring early life traumas and the castration threat, (1927) described the foot as a substitute for the invisible penis. The fetishist attributes the penis to the women whilst simultaneously denying it. Some people with a fetishism may find the sight of a women wearing uncomfortable corsetry of the body and foot sexually exciting.
According to Freud, women dress to attract attention to their legs (emphasising the sexual significance of their appendages).