Heels are totally, officially, scientifically screwing up your feet.
Thanks to Australian researcher Neil J. Cronin, we now have proof that high heels do quite a number on your hooves. After seeing a girl walking uncomfortably in a pair of stilettos, Cronin and his team decided to recruit some women (average age: 25) for a study. Heel wearers were measured against non-heel wearers, and this is what happened:
In results published last week in The Journal of Applied Physiology, the scientists found that heel wearers moved with shorter, more forceful strides than the control group, their feet perpetually in a flexed, toes-pointed position. This movement pattern continued even when the women kicked off their heels and walked barefoot. As a result, the fibers in their calf muscles had shortened and they put much greater mechanical strain on their calf muscles than the control group did.
Basically, heel wearers walk less efficiently — even when they’re not wearing heels — causing their muscles to tire out and increasing the risk of strain injuries. It’s interesting to note that the subjects in the study had been wearing heels regularly for a maximum of a decade. We’d be curious to see what the results would be if women in their 40s, 50s, and beyond were studied. Also, this makes our flat shoe-loving selves feel even more justified.