High heels have been a long time fashion staple in women’s closets around the world. Unfortunately, there have been numerous studies that show the negative side effects that these shoes can have on feet. Luckily, there are plenty of flat-heeled shoes that are popular alternatives that still look stylish and will not leave you with aching feet at the end of the day.
They wreak havoc on your calves and Achilles’ tendon
According to a study done at Manchester Metropolitan University in England, wearing high heels reduces the group of muscle fibers in the calf and contributes to increased stiffness in the Achilles’ tendon that is responsible for connecting the calf muscles to the heels. This effect is responsible for reducing the range of motion in the ankle. This study was conducted on eleven women who wear heels and nine who do not. The researchers began by scanning the women’s calf muscle make-up with an MRI and noted no differences between each group of women. But in a follow up examination, they noticed that the muscle fibers of the women in high heels were 13 percent shorter and have noticeably larger Achilles’ tendons.
They can be the cause of lower back pain
Feet are a crucial foundation on which your body relies on. Wearing shoes that do not support them well can create a lot of unnecessary pain, including lower back aches. Wearing high heels also contributes to poor posture and put added pressure on your lower spine. Try trading your 4-inch pumps for shoes with less than 1-inch heels and you will be guaranteed to see a big difference.
They help support traditional gender ideals
Even in this modern day and age, wearing high heels can be associated with a more traditional female role. This past year in the ultra-glitzy Cannes Film Festival in France, there was controversy over the alleged banning of a group of women who chose to wear rhinestone flats instead of heels. According to the festival’s strict dress code, women are only allowed to wear heels, even if they have a medical condition like some of the women in this banned group did. This archaic view on female beauty is not only present at high-society events, but also in the workplace and every day life as well. Health reasons aside, it is important to think of the message you are sending out if you decided to wear high heels.
They may be sending the wrong signal
Research has shown that women wearing high heels are viewed as having more sex appeal and gain more attention from both sexes. A study performed by Nicolas Gueguen (2014) showed that women who dropped a glove in high heels were more likely to be notified by a male of the misplaced object by 93 percent in comparison to only 62 percent of the time for women who were wearing flats. In some cases, more attention is not something you want. High heels are known to elongate women’s legs, thus giving them model-like illusion. If you want to be seen less as a sex symbol, maybe it is time to reconsider wearing those sky high heels and trade them in for flats.
They are known to decrease credibility in the workplace
According to an article in The Atlantic, women who are striving to climb to the top in their career should stick to flats until they have reached their desired position, especially in male-saturated industries like tech. Wearing high heels creates a greater divide between men and women in the work place and are reminders of a woman’s femininity. Therefore, it is important to remember when you are planning your work wardrobe to think twice about your footwear and what message it will be sending at the office.
Featured photo credit: Augsburg, Germany. 2013. Crossing lines. / Boris Thaser via flickr.com