Every height of heel is fabulous, from the comfortable flat to the alluring stilettos but which is for you? The easiest answer to this question depends on the original structure of your feet. Some women are naturally high-heeled so high heel shoes go along with the natural curve of your feet, where flats may be a bit uncomfortable for you. While some women are vise-versa, they are not necessarily flat-footed but are blessed with a lower heel so high heels for her may be uncomfortable but not impossible to wear. To find the perfect heel height for you, we have the following test:
Heel Height Test
Lift one leg in the air, straight leg at the height of your knee. Keep this foot flat!
Now measure the length from your knee to heel.
Now relax your foot and measure the distance from your knee to heel again.
The number distance is your ideal heel height!
Most likely your favorite pair of pumps coincides with the height (mine did!). Just hints that your body usually knows what’s best for you and lets you know. Now, if you choose to ignore your body, there are repercussions.
Remember when you went out last week and you wore your sexiest pair of shoes all night and you took them off and could barely walk flat. That’s a sign “DING DING!” You wore those shoes for too long and if you continue you will have permanent effects.
TO BE CLEAR: The most harm that come from wearing heels result from constant long-term wear in high heels. Sometimes ladies we just have to say no to those beautiful pumps and bring out the not so sexy flats. You can always be-dazzle them!
The lasting effects are most likely shown in the knees, back, and of course the feet. Shoes two inches or higher forces the body forward, turning walking into an awkward chore. It also forces the foot downwards restricting its ability to flex and absorb the shock of walking on cement grounds with your weight forced on each step. Leaving those sensitive areas like the knees and hip joints to pick up the slack, which can aggravate and sometimes even cause arthritis.
Here are some pros and cons with varying heel height:
Flats (1 inch or less)
Pros: They’re comfortable, stylish and easier on the feet than higher heels.
Cons: Most don’t offer arch support, and the feet often have to work to keep the shoes on.
Kitten heels (1.5 to 2 inches)
Pros: They build muscle in the calves, make legs appear longer, and are easier to walk in than higher heels.
Cons: They can cause problems from corns to back pain. They don’t supply the same glamour that higher heels do.
High heels (2.5 to 4 inches)
Pros: They build muscle in the calves, make legs appear longer and the body leaner.
Cons: They can be painful to wear, and are sometimes difficult to walk in. They can cause many foot problems, such as hammer-toes and bunions, and back pain.
Extreme (over 4 inches)
Pros: They build muscle in the calves, make legs appear longer and the body leaner. They also tend to make the backside more noticeable (although this could also be a con!).
Cons: They put huge pressure on the feet-seven times your body weight-plus very difficult to walk in and can cause foot problems and back pain.
* Heels 4½”+ are acceptable with much caution; anything more is bad for your posture. It forces your bottom to poke out and overloads the toes and balls of the feet with the full force of your weight. These are the type of heels made for sitting, and nothing more.
The higher the heel the bigger the impact: some studies have shown 4″ heels can add up to 30% or more pressure to the front of the foot.
Don’t we all want to be a sexy grandma one day and those days of reckless youth may come back to haunt us with constant heel wear. Long wear can also cause restricted circulation in the lower legs, which can eventually bring on the dreaded spider vein. That is not a sexy lady! I know you ladies love to create that walk that makes the boys stop and the men stare, but it can create an unnatural sway to you spine, producing a stressed lumbar that can result in a sore lower back. Heels not only have to be the right height but in the right position: not too far back, but right under the center of the heel so they support your weight properly, following the natural line of your body.
But with anything moderation is key. Taking breaks on constant heel wear or simply varying your heel height can make you the exception to the rule easily.
Ladies, listen to your body especially your feet! They protect you from so much. Stretching after those fun nights can do your body a load of good not even just your feet. Yoga is a great way to add focus to your spirit and also stretches out your muscles and relieves tension. Yoga poses such as High and Low Lunge and Standing Forward Fold to stretch the muscles in your calves, hip flexors, and hamstrings. Core work can also help stretch out shortened muscles in your back and tone overstretched muscles in your abdomen.