High heels, like the classic Oxford lace-up for men, have been a constant and perpetual fashion staple for the fairer sex. Embraced for formal and informal events alike and worn by all age ranges, even down to toddlers, the shoes show no waning in their popularity. Unlike Oxford style footwear, however, heels can be incredibly dangerous and can cause incredible damages to the wearer’s foot extending much beyond bunions and blisters.
Although the aesthetic value of heels cannot be debated, and the shoes also make the wearer taller, their legs appear longer and their posture to improve, there are an incredible amount of problems that wearing this design can cause to the feet. Long term wearing of heels can affect the bones in the feet as the distribution of weight is not spread out across the entire foot but rather concentrated on the heel and balls. This weight distribution problem can be made even worse with the new design of shoes favored buy the likes of Lucy Liu which feature a high heel shoe design but with the heel removed; the entirety of the body’s weight is not placed exclusively on the balls of the feet.
One of the most common afflictions of the over use of wearing high heels is called metatarsalgia. This affects the metatarsal region of the feet (the technical term for the balls) – the area which gained a degree of fame due to David Beckham’s injury there. It has also been found that the high angles of the shoe can also increase the risk of arthritis later on in a regular wearer’s life. Some of the most obvious health risks associated with high heels, however, comes from their wearers having accidents in them – reports suggest that up to 40% of heel wearers have suffered in some unfortunate accident due to their choice of shoe.
Heels are particularly troublesome for pregnant women. Whereas ballet pumps, sandals and flats do not provide the support a pregnant woman’s feet and knees need, heels provide their own sets of concern. The optimum footwear to sport during pregnancy would include straps to support the foot’s ligaments, particularly fragile at this point, and soft and wide fitting shoes which can accommodate swollen feet and ankles rather than putting more pressure on them.
Although heels have looked immovable as the fashion item of choice in recent years, a new surge in popularity for wedges has offered a viable alternative in the health stakes. Wedges boast the same benefits as heels, in they make the wearer appear taller, with longer legs and better posture, but also provide better support for the feet and arches.
Heels are undoubtedly stylish and look great on their wearer’s feet; they are versatile and can be worn with a range of styles. They do, however, boast a health risk if worn too often. The key is, as those who bring spare shoes with them wherever they go will testify, to make sure that they aren’t worn at all times. Like all good things in life, moderation is the key.
About the Author: Kieron Casey is a fashion blogger for who writes Barratts about the latest footwear trends. He recommends that, whilst high heels are a fantastically versatile footwear they should be worn in moderation. You can view Barratts latest high heels here: barratts.co.uk/en/womens/heels/