Tuesday 15 October 2019

Stepping out in high heels is painful - but we're worth it

Thinkstock Images
Thinkstock Images
Sinead Moriarty

Sinead Moriarty

They may be bad for you, but high heels work wonders for a woman's sex appeal.

The most money I ever spent on an item of fashion was on a pair of shoes. I wore them once. They are sky high and utterly torturous to wear. They are so high that they pitch my body forward and I can only stumble about in them like a clown. But they are truly gorgeous to look at.

I learnt my lesson. I have since only ever bought high heels that are relatively comfortable (as in, not torturous). Why is it that women wear high heels when generally they are painful to wear and usually end up getting kicked off half-way through the night?

Modern women scoff at the Chinese tradition of foot-binding. Beginning at about the age of five, a girl's foot was almost folded in two while a 10-foot long bandage was wrapped tightly around it. Small feet were considered a sign of status. Having your feet crushed and stunted as a sign of status seems completely insane.

But isn't squashing your feet into high, pointy-toed shoes that you can barely walk in a little bonkers too?

Western culture, while not going to the same extreme as the Chinese, has also revered small feet. Thus women today still wear shoes that are tight, pointy-toed and high-heeled because they make their feet look good, even though they hurt.

Having recently driven by a disco and seen the stiletto heels worn by the teenage girls as they clung to each other walking down the road, I can confirm that the wearing of ridiculously high heels is alive and well.

Why do we do it to ourselves? What's the point? A new study in the journal 'Archives of Sexual Behaviour' proves men really do find women more attractive when they are wearing high heels.

A group of researchers at the University of Bretagne, in France, carried out a range of experiments using women wearing identical clothes - a plain black suit with a white shirt - but different shoes. One was in flat pumps and one was wearing high heels.

When a 19-year-old woman asked men between the ages of 25-50 for help with a survey on gender equality, more than 83pc of men stopped to speak to her when she was wearing the high heels.

When the same woman was wearing flat shoes, only 46.7pc of men stopped.

But how did the women react? Did they feel more comfortable and less threatened by a woman in sensible shoes?

Apparently, women don't care about heels. Only 33pc of women agreed to take part in the survey, regardless of the heel height of the woman asking.

So why is it that the men were so much more receptive to the woman in the high heels?

Nicolas Gueguen, a behavioural science researcher, says: "Women's heel height exerts a powerful effect on men's behaviour. Simply put, they make women more beautiful."

Another test was carried out where a woman dropped her glove on the street - 93pc of men chased after the woman to return the glove when she was wearing high heels, while only 62pc bothered to pick it up when the woman was in her flat pumps.

You can almost hear feminist author Germaine Greer groaning. She famously said: "If a woman . . . never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far she could walk or how fast she could run?"

Whatever your opinion on the matter, the facts show that men find women in heels more attractive.

The final test in the research involved the women sitting in a bar wearing different heel heights. They sat at tables where their shoes were visible to anyone in the bar. On average, it took men only 7.49 minutes to approach the woman wearing the high heels. The poor soul in the flat shoes was left nursing her drink for almost twice as long. It took men 13.54 minutes to talk to her.

So, despite the fact that high heels can harm and hurt feet, if you're looking to attract a man, you need to put them on.

Women walk differently in heels. To be technical - high heels exaggerate the feminine aspects of gait.

Walking in heels causes greater pelvic rotation, increased vertical motion at the hip, shorter strides and an increased number of steps per minute.

If you want a master class in how to attract male attention, watch Marilyn Monroe strutting down the platform in 'Some Like it Hot'. Now there was a gal who knew how to strut in stilletos.

Is it worth it? I guess that depends what you're looking for. If it's a swinging gait and male attention you're after, get those heels on, the higher the better.

Master shoe designer Christian Louboutin sums it up perfectly: "High heels are pleasure with pain."

Irish Independent

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