This was an ancient tradition, mostly in rural China, that meant that the feet of young girls were very tightly bound to prevent the foot from growing. It was very painful and disabling, but a much higher price could be demanded for a bride with smaller feet. It existed to please males.
While the tradition is now dead in China, women these days are still putting there feet into tight shoes to please males! It is now responsible for a lot of foot problems in those that do it.