Sunday, January 6, 2008

Get the Facts: High Heels Are Bad for You

Here's a chart detailing all the damage wearing high heels can do to your body (found via the blog Sociological Images: Seeing Is Believing).

Let me add a couple of other things to consider. As the chart points out, wearing heels affects your posture, putting you off balance. If you end up in a situation where you need to fight, you'll need your balance. Furthermore, it's a lot harder to run in heels than it is in flats -- and that's true whether you're getting away from a bad guy or are trying to get across the street before the light changes.

Finally, women in heels look more vulnerable than women in flats, probably because they're off balance and can't run easily. Some people define this as "sexy" (and it's true our culture deems women's legs sexier when they're wearing heels), but let me ask you this: Do you really want a lover who is attracted to you because you look helpless?


Pinky said...

loooove these

Mike Martlet said...

I don't understand your point of view; for me women in high heels, and particularly stilettos, are more formidable, - not less! Stlettos make women dominant because such shoes are weapons capable of castrating a male!
Flat shoes on the other hand render a women less powerful, particularly childish ballerina pumps!

Nancy Jane Moore said...

You're judging on appearances, not practicality. A woman in high heels may look formidable, but she's at a serious disadvantage if she wants to do anything. You can't run in high heels; hell, you can't even walk far in high heels. And you certainly can't fight in high heels. High heels thrust your hips forward, putting you off balance. And most of them hurt your feet.

High heels are cute and sexy, and some guys obviously think they make women look "dominant," but they're all show and no substance.

Anonymous said...

As a very young but very girly girl my feminist and chiropractics devoted mother regaled (and depressed) me with all the same horror stories about heels. (BTW there are actually new studies that show heels strengthen women's calves and pelvic floor muscles [kinda like kegels]. So growing up in the eighties I wore mostly tasteful flats or the occasional heeled boot. High Heels were gauche back then.

Funny, despite all my sensibleness, I still have all the knee, hip, back, toe, arch, and overall posture problems heels are supposed to cause.

Oddly enough, I tried out some forbidden heels a few years back since they are all the rage now. (Blame SITC, not "The Patriarchy.") And so strangely I discovered that tight fitting moderate heels act like a corset for my troubled feet, and sort of support and realign me. They even help me walk like a normal person, whereas because of my non high heel generated problems I can barely hobble in sensible flats. Flats can help women with fallen arches like mine.

So don't speak for all women and live and let live a bit. And yes, use common sense. Don't wear precarious and extreme heels walking to your car alone at night, etc. (Although because of my mobility problems I am just as hobbled in flats, even the best running shoes.) And even I have to acknowledge that I'll never be able to wear the wicked and impossibly high matchstick heels I see post feminist heroes (Charlie's Angels, Jennifer Garner in Alias) kicking butt in.

BTW This kind of feminist totalitarianism is why I actually left feminism.

Anonymous said...

OK Nancy, I see where you might be coming from, but it occurs to me that you just aren't used to wearing heels.

In the corporate world, I know women in high executive positions as well as clerks who wear stiletto heels all of the time. As does my wife of nearly 40 years; she has a Master's Degree (MSc). They run for buses and trams and trains just like any guy and many can walk as fast if not faster than me in them so I don't see your comment of not being able to walk far in them.

Also over here in the UK stiletto heels have been used by women/girls near the bottom of the social pile as weapons. Women have not only jumped on guys bodies in them but they have also jumped on guys heads in them piercing the skull and two of these guys were innocent. They have kicked and ruptured guys’ testicles with the points and smashed bone with the platforms as well as using them as hammers to fracture skulls.

There isn't a week goes by without some woman using her shoes on men and sometimes other women; sometimes deliberately hitting them in the face with the heels. All of this can be observed at "chucking out time" at about 2 to 3 am when the clubs and pubs disgorge drunken staggering young women in all of the city centres all over the UK.

Have you forgotten how a drunken Naomi Campbell kept a number of policemen at bay with her stiletto boot heels and pointed toes after being hauled off a flight for 'air rage', - it was in all of the press at the time. Heels are formidable weapons, - particularly stilettos.

Mike Martlet

Nancy Jane Moore said...

Offhand, Mike, I bet I've worn heels more than you have in your life, since I came of age at a time when women were expected to wear them and unless you were one of those guys who wore platform shoes in the 70s, you probably don't have much experience with them.

Anecdotal evidence based on the actions of an apparently drunk supermodel do not undercut the scientific evidence that heels put wearers off balance. Being off balance makes you vulnerable.

I'm sure some wearers, including anonymous above, can wear lower heels comfortably. Some of the low-heeled pumps are designed for more comfort. And many flats are not designed for comfort or all day walking, either; they may not affect balance, but they don't provide necessary support. Finding shoes that look good, are comfortable, and provide good support for walking is a constant struggle.

Dress shoes for men are just a great deal more comfortable than either high heels or the ballet flats you disparage. While I don't particularly like men's shoes because they're boring and usually come only in very dull colors (why don't men like bright colored clothes and shoes?), I envy the fact that a guy can get comfortable shoes to go with his dress up clothes. And his shoes do not put him off balance and make him vulnerable.