by on November 11, 2013

Daily-wear sandals for women are undergoing a bit of a design change when it comes to the heel height and structure of popular styles. While the high heel shoe remains a popular choice for every season, the lower heel wedge designs are taking the shoe stores by storm as women embrace both comfort and esthetic in a more practical style.

What is pushing this growing trend toward lower heels? Is it attributable to an aging consumer population and an intolerance for uncomfortable shoes, a medical reason or a combination of cultural and health motivators? If you have spent a lifetime wearing high heels, you may already know the answer to that question.

Are High Heels Bad for Your Health?

While wearing high heels periodically does not appear to have much of an impact on your posture or overall muscular health, wearing them on a daily basis over time can create a number of problems. In the infographic The True Effect of High Heels, a number of orthopedic conditions are discussed that are directly attributable to the posture and weight bearing experienced by an elevated heel.

One of the more serious problems with wearing high heel footwear is the shortening of the calf muscle. As the design of the high heel shoe creates an artificial postural placement and alignment of the leg and spine, the calf muscle and Achilles tendon respond by becoming more tense and can actually shorten over time. The legs become conditioned to wearing high heels which also means that wearing flat shoes can become uncomfortable while inadvertently stretching or lengthening the muscles. Many times you will hear women who wear high heels complain that wearing flat shoes are uncomfortable and that is due to the muscular conditioning of their legs.

Why Do We Wear Them?

There are a number of fashionable reasons that women choose high heel shoes, including creating the appearance of more height and a longer leg (both positive beauty attributes for women). The artificial forced posture that is created by the high heel shoes also creates a more visually appealing profile for women which accentuates the appearance by making the female physical features more pronounced.

Did you know?

- High heels originated as platform shoes in the middle ages to elevate the wealthy men and women from becoming soiled as they walked in the street.

- In the 1600s wealthy men wore shoes that were elevated to show success and status. Women began to wear them in political protest seeking equal rights rather than wearing the traditional women’s sandals.

- In the mid 1900s the film industry began to depict women with high heels to accentuate the female form and elongate the legs, renewing interest in the style for women. High heels quickly became a beauty standard for women.

The female posture that is created when wearing high heel shoes is thought to be appealing to the opposite sex for a number of reasons. The female adoption of platform and high heel shoes has been the standard for desirable footwear for decades and despite the element of discomfort, high heel shoes remain in demand for better or worse. Although this time of year you are more likely to find a great pair of women’s sandals instead.

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