Towering heels cause catwalk chaos and back problems
Sky-High Louboutins: A Painful Pleasure?
The famed French shoe designer has no sympathy for women who have trouble wearing his high-heel designs. Here's how to satisfy your fashion sense without killing your feet.
By Amy Solomon
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MONDAY, April 23, 2012 —Listen up, ladies! Are you dying for a pair of those famous Christian Louboutin red-soled shoes? If you can stomach dropping more than 00 on footwear, more power to you. But don't dare complain about your aching tootsies once you achieve your heart's desire. Monsieur Louboutin has no sympathy for you —pas du tout.
In an interview with the UK-basedGraziamagazine, Louboutin called his heels "pleasure with pain," adding that after seeing Tina Turner and members of Prince's back up band wearing them for three hours on stage, "...you can't tell me they are impossible to walk in." The designer is celebrating his 20th anniversary in the shoe business this year with a retrospective at the Design Museum in London.
High Heels and Health
Louboutins and other designer stilettos are style icons and probably here to stay. But there's no denying that many women find these heels difficult or painful to wear, and experts say that a high-heel habit may lead to long-term health consequences. Earlier this year, a study published in theJournal of Applied Physiologyfound that wearing stilettos can permanently alter your gait because they place all your body weight on the ball of the foot, which forces the knees and hips forward to keep balance. This unnatural posture can shorten your stride and strain the calf muscles — even when you're walking barefoot.
Another report, this one from theJournal of Experimental Biology, discovered that women who wore high heels day in and day out had calf muscles up to 13 percent shorter than those who wore flats. The high-heel devotees also had thicker, stiffer Achilles tendons, which made walking in flats or barefoot uncomfortable.
The high-heel news is not all bad, however. At least one small study, from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., concluded that wearing heels exercises the outer and inner calf muscles more evenly than wearing flatter shoes, resulting in a more symmetrical, shapelier leg. The 2011 report was published in the journalBiology Letters.
Should You Kiss High Heels Goodbye?
If you just can't live without your heels, there are ways to wear these popular shoes and protect your feet:
- Try not to wear heels every day — instead, alternate them with flatter footwear.
- Look for heels that are an inch to an inch and a half in height. Shoes with heels that are more than 2 inches in height should be reserved for special occasions, when you'll have them on for just a few hours.
- For maximum comfort, pointed-toe heels should start narrowing past the ball of your foot, not before.
Video: 7inch high heels in public
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