This archived article was written by: Carlie Miller
If you were to walk into a shoe store (either by internal GPS or against your will) you have probably noticed that high heels are getting … higher. Interestingly enough, it is not all because of creative designing or the demand for tallness.
Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada, says that we have “entered a moment of heightened impracticality in footwear.” She explains that as our economy sinks, our shoes get higher. Take the Great Depression during the 1930s and the oil crisis in the 1970s – heels were on the rise.
Sadly, there isn’t an expanse of knowledge on the subject, even Semmelhack can only speculate: “It could be a sort of a greater need for escapism.” Who knows why high heels get higher or even why women wear them? No other accessory has caused more debate than the high heel.
Over the decades and centuries, women have worn heels to gain height and to “look male colleagues in the eye,” for practical purposes such as keeping the feet in the stirrups while riding a horse, as a sign of power and wealth, or to look sexy to attract men.
Women certainly do not wear heels for comfort, though during the Victorian Age, advertisements would promote heels as medical benefits, saying they improved posture and strengthened the back and feet. Just as a smoker risks lung cancer, so does a heel-wearer risk Morton’s neuroma, hammertoes, broken bones and torn ligaments.
InStyle Magazine’s fashion director, Hal Rubenstein, says that women should wear heels to feel confident and sexy, but not if they cause pain and injury, “Why would you wear clothing to be miserable?” he asks. Many heel-wearing women can answer that without pause, usually containing the words “because they look cute” or “they make me look good.” Megan Forlines, 20, New York, walked to classes in seven-inch Jimmy Choo heels because “They look cute and because fashion is pain.”
Semmelhack says that women ignore suggestions to “wear sensible shoes” like the advice Dr. Kathleen Stone, president of the American Podiatric Medical Association, gives. Stone warns that wearing heels higher than two inches will cause pain and leads to injury and lifelong damage, but, she says women are well aware of the health effects.
So why do you (or your girlfriend) wear heels? Do you know about the risks and permanent effects of wearing heels?
This may sound silly, but heels should not be worn lightly, you should take some time to really think about your reasons for wearing them.