High Heels Are the Devil & Now There's Scientific Proof


high heelsA brave scientist in Australia was motivated to study the effect that high heels have on feet after seeing a woman teeter precariously in her stilettos. Using a group of women with the average age of 25, Neil J. Cronin and his fellow biomechanic researchers studied the difference between chronic heel wearers (women who've worn heels for more than 40 hours a week for more than two years) versus non-heel wearers (ladies who generally wear flats), and the proof was in the pudding. Or should I say, the proof was in the footing.

The high heel wearers' feet, calves, muscles, and tendons were royally messed up. Even when they took off their shoes, they habitually walked less efficiently than those women who generally wear flats.

Told you heels were the devil.

Basically, heel wearers tire more easily than the flat wearers -- their calf muscles have been shortened and strained by all those hours keeping their feet perpetually flexed in their shoes and their toes forever pointed.

Bottom line? Rocking those towering heels will make you more susceptible to muscle and joint strains. The solution to that problem is simple -- wear heels less often. I know it's easier said than done for some women who can't leave the house without two or three inches between their foot and the ground, but it might be worth it in the long run. 

What Cronin and his colleagues failed to address, however, is that heels are not only dangerous, but impractical, uncomfortable, and should be burned. I'm not a big heel wearer because here in New York, there's too much walking to do to be bothered with any sort of discomfort. I gotta be on the move, yo! No time to waste complaining about my dogs barkin'.

Heels have a time and a place, but I don't think they're worth their pain, and now that we know they're hazardous to our health, let's just all agree to show off our natural height in some cute flats and call it a day.

How do you stay comfortable when wearing heels?


Photo via muohace/Flickr



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PonyC... PonyChaser

"Calf" muscles. The plural is "calves". "Calve" is neither one.

On topic: I rarely wear heels. I am a stay at home mom, so they're completely impractical for getting in and out of cars, grocery shopping, house cleaning, and the various volunteer jobs I do (Cubmaster = lots of hiking, camping, sledding...).  And then when I do wear them, I pay dearly the next day.

But, to stay comfortable in them when I DO wear them, I look for padding inside when I buy them, or I buy those 'gel' inserts. I also look for a solid heel - none of that idiotic, pin-thin, stilleto nonsense. A wider, more sturdy heel can still be fashionable while providing stability, which keeps your muscles from being overworked just trying to maintain balance.

ms_da... ms_danielle_j

I have a very high arch in my foot and wearing flats eventually causes me some pain. I am a chronic heel wearer and my heels are just more comfortable. To each it's own....

nonmember avatar JudyofColumbia

Flat shoes tend to hurt my feet, and most are just ugly. Women who can't walk in heels, or don't have enough style to pick nice ones always try to discourage other women from wearing them. Sorry but it's not happening. My mom wore heals for the last 30 years. Not only does she have great circulation, but her feet and hips are fine. Life isn't one size fits all.

brand... brandspanknnew

Flats cause horrible feet issues, they've studies on this as well.

Annie... AnnieBeeswax

I'm with Danielle on this one. I have very high arches and 3" heels with straps or zippered boots (preferably wedges or sturdier wide heels as PonyChaser suggested) are more comfortable for me. Slightly off topic: regardless of preference if you CAN wear heels (there's no physical or cultural limitation) you will probably be asked to wear them for some event some time, so every one should learn how to walk in heels.

Redsilas Redsilas

Studies on flats are mostly on ballet flats, not orthopedic shoes - like Birkenstocks, Naots, Dansko, etc. 

I haven't worn heels since my 1st pregnancy.  Now that half my leg and foot went numb because of a disc issue in my back, I DEFINITELY won't be wearing heels for a while.  That, and I'm in my 3rd trimester. 

Sure, I keep some heels, in the chance I regain feeling in my foot again. But, my job doesn't call for it, and I am currently serving in a 3rd world country - so what is the freaking point of wearing heels when everyone wears either thongs (flip flops basically) or goes barefoot.  

Heels are a cultural thing.  

Oralee95 Oralee95

Women wear heels, and many other wicked uncomfortable items because Men like the way we look in them....no one size doesn't fit all, but the majority of women's feet, calf muscles, and Oh y aching back..... will pay the price for the fashionable heights in the long run.....

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