General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why do women wear high heels?

Asked by elbanditoroso (27801points) July 12th, 2019

I’ve heard that they are horrible uncomfortable and can be dangerous to walk in.

Why wear them?

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33 Answers

chyna's avatar

I wear them because they look good and make me taller. I won’t wear any that hurt my feet. I usually only wear 2 inch heels.

JLeslie's avatar

How high is high?

I wear them now for various reasons, here are some:

Long pants that need a heal for the length of the leg on the pants.

To feel a little sexier.

Color of shoe or the fashion matches my outfit.

In the past (my late teens through my late 30’s) I wore them because I thought they looked good, and then I had worn them so much, being in a flat shoe was uncomfortable. It took time for me to switch back to flats and be completely comfortable again. To this day very flat shoes feel a little weird.

Heals don’t hurt my feet, bad fitting shoes or crappy material hurt my feet. If a heal is too high it hurts my leg muscles, but I have some muscle trouble. 2–3 inches is comfortable, but because of my muscle trouble I’m not stable like I used to be. I have trouble now on a skinny heal, I previously I could walk and run in them with no problem. I still wear 4 inch heals, but not often. Doesn’t hurt my feet, again it’s just a muscle stability thing for me now.

When people have painful feet I usually ask them if they get pedicures. Don’t let them remove all the calluses and hard skin! Some people have plantars fasciitis or other very legitimate foot problems.

LadyMarissa's avatar

IF you take the time to look for a comfortable shoe, heels can be as comfortable as any other shoe!!! When the shoe hurts your feet, it’s usually because they weren’t bought for comfort but for vanity/looks only. Walking can be dangerous in & of itself. IF you’re paying attention to what you’re doing, heels are no more dangerous than flats.

Heels elongate the legs & assist in making you look taller & possibly slimmer. They give a woman a gait that men seem to find appealing. I never found them to be neither uncomfortable nor dangerous & I used to go hiking in 7 inch spikes back in my younger days. I wore them so often that it hurt to walk in flats…so I didn’t. After I had my stroke, I no longer had the leg muscles required to wear heels, so now I’m relegated to flats. Some of the wild, out of this world designs now days aren’t designed to be comfortable or safe but that leads back to my initial comment, .IF you take the time to look…

Oriental women used to bind their feet in order to please their mate & wearing heels isn’t that much different. According to Today…Persian men in the 10th century, who wore heels while on horseback so their feet would fit better in the stirrups. This trend that was then adopted by Europeans at the turn of the 17th century. I have also read that short women took to wearing heels so they would be closer to the height of their spouse & it also helped to make their feet look smaller. So, like many things we do, we do it to look more appealing to our man!!!

kritiper's avatar

To make them taller and the high heels change the profile of the legs/leg muscles making the legs look sleeker and sexier.

ragingloli's avatar

Societal conditioning.

janbb's avatar

Never weaqr them unless I am going to a wedding and that is once a year if that.

raum's avatar

Walking on the balls of your feet make you look taller, your legs leaner, lifts your butt and the curve of your back pushes your chest forward a bit. Women also swing their hips more when walking in heels.

Basically a misogynist torture device to accentuate female curves—but also fun to accessorize. LOL

Kardamom's avatar

I don’t like them, and think they look ridiculous. They force women to stand and walk in an unnatural manner, and they ultimately wreck the feet, and hurt the back.

Imagine men being forced to wear high heels to look sexy. To me, that is how silly they look on women. Men (other than drag queens) would never do it. Because they don’t have to.

kritiper's avatar

That’s right. Men don’t have to wear those cockamamie “shoes!”
But I don’t see anyone forcing women to wear them…
I can totally see wearing a sensible shoe (with a wide heel that’s easy to walk in) with a 2” heel…

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli I’m with you on this one.

I used to be able to do anything in heels, even run, I wore them so much. As I age, I prefer a comfortable expensive top-sider or sandals…lol, may not be as sexy but that’s never been my goal. Plus my job for the last 16 years, nobody much sees me, so no need to be impressive except special occasions.

ucme's avatar

Nothing to do with appearing taller, although that’s obviously an appealing bonus if that’s what your after.
More to do with how they position the feet & as a consequence, the legs. Gives poise & definition making the wearer feel more “powerful” or even just plain & simple attractive. One reason why women mostly wear them either at work if they’re in the business world or only on special occasions, both see the desire to make a mark to some degree.

stanleybmanly's avatar

They are just another item on the endless list of frivolous and even destructive nonsense relegated women to divert them from more productive and sensible pursuits.

Inspired_2write's avatar

They have bought into the idea that they are not as sexy ,lovable etc unless they purchase high heels that coordinate their clothes to look fashionable and successful.
Too many follow the fashion trends that are dictated from mostly male designers in the modelling industry.
When it comes to survival how may would even are about there shoes?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Inspired_2write Well yes, that’s a lot of money on the line between salons, clothing, shoes, make-up, perfume, nails, spa’s, etc….

To me, it’s very interesting because regular people now feel compelled to participate in the glam life, they love it, they will go bankrupt to have those nails, hair, tan, botox, etc…it’s absolutely insane. I don’t want to put all that on heel wearers, by any means, but it’s such a superficial society with such odd reverence for the rich and beautiful.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ll add that for certain types of dancing it actually helps the dancing. If you want to salsa you need to be up on the balls of your feet, you are in that position anyway. Dance shoes usually have about a 2 to 2.5 inch heal. I dance a lot.

Some people talked about posture, and when I wear a 3 inch heal I feel my posture is at its best, my walk is sexier (I used to get a lot of compliments on my walk back in the day, I naturally put one foot in front of the other, more to the center of my body when I’m in heals) and I remember to keep my stomach in. Really high heals do make people look ridiculous, they throw off the posture, I completely agree. Each individual of course has a different height that might throw off their stance or walk.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor Good article. I don’t think it mentioned that as women entered the work force in the business environment many felt the added height helped women be perceived as equal with men. Supposedly it helped, I don’t know if it really did.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This isn’t to say that men aren’t exploited for their own foolish hang ups. They are every bit as necessary to distract through deployment of the superficial from more pertinent matters. The difference with women is in the necessity for distracting THEM from the additional issue of parity with MEN.

Inspired_2write's avatar

@KNOWITALL Yes and just imagine “IF” instead on spending on chemicals that will eventually wear down the skin cells, ( and banks acct) they could save that money and travel or afford a country home life style. Why give advertisers money for a fleeting moment of looking good although superficial.

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michellerenaud's avatar

Here are some theories:

1. Similar to Chinese foot-binding, it inhibits the mobility of women. Much easier to keep your woman in her place if she can’t run.
2. Obviously, it elevates the wearer. This is useful if you’re living somewhere that is covered in shit.
3. If you’re taller,surely you’re more important.
4. Maybe it is attractive to some men.
5. It helps when riding horses to have a heel.
6. It makes some wearers feel more powerful.

Oh and random tidbit, men used to wear high heels too:

martianspringtime's avatar

As others have said, social conditioning. Women have historically been conditioned to wear clothing items that make them more vulnerable and less capable (corsetry, heels, etc). Whether that is still consciously or unconsciously part of the choice is debatable, but the more plain answer for modern times is that they are fashionable. Height could surely be an answer also. Obviously it’s going to depend on the wearer, so the real answer will differ person to person.
I don’t wear heels often, but when I do it’s usually because the shoes themselves are attractive to me and because I like the height they give me and the definition they give my legs. Heels typically do not give me foot aches, but I do tend to get nasty blisters from them so I tend to only wear them to events where I will not be standing for too long. I personally prefer a platform shoe because I like the juxtaposition of a chunky big shoe against my chicken legs~

LexiAnn84's avatar

Because they elongate the legs and make your butt stick out more. They sound sexy click clacking down the hall. Men always notice. I wear heels every day and it makes my boyfriend very happy.

JLeslie's avatar

^^If they are so high that they make your butt stick out then that’s not good for your spine. I loved high heals when I was younger, and still wear them sometimes, but “good” posture still always looks best. Although, I know some cultures value an arched or sway back more than a straight back. Not good for women. In Brazil they get butt implants and lifts to emphasize their butts like America gets breast implants. We do it in America too, but much more popular in Latin America.

LexiAnn84's avatar

Well I don’t usually wear anything higher than 4 inches and I kinda meant in general they can make our butts look different. I think it all depends on the individual woman, so many variables like how we walk, what we wear, our confidence level etc. But you’re right about the butt implants lol.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie As long as a person isnt clunking heels around like a baby calf, they are great. Some women just seem unable to walk in them gracefully lol

JLeslie's avatar

I took ballet as a kid, straight back and butts tucked in are valued in that type of dance, but ballet has all sorts of problems too for a lot of women, especially their feet, so you can’t win.

I teach zumba, and a lot of zumba instructors lean forward, and I always want to tell them to stand up straight! Lol

@KNOWITALL I don’t understand women who wear them and can barely walk, why do they think that’s sexy? I used to get compliments on my walk all the time when I was young. I think maybe children aren’t being told how to walk. Women aren’t putting books on their heads anymore I guess. Lol.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie They think wearing heels is just buying them, no training.

Gma sent me to poise class, we did the book on head, make-up (day vs evening), exercises for girl bodies, interview discussions on various subjects, how to give good picture looks, color wheels for our complexion, etc… Not many people do that anymore.

JLeslie's avatar

About 10 years ago it was almost impossible to find a nice pair of heels under 4 inches, most were 5 inches. That was really annoying. It was either flat (or maybe an inch) or Beyoncé high. That’s ridiculous. I think the girls who were young teens during that time when it was impossible to find a 3 inch heel had a disadvantage and it also affected how they view heels and flats.

Not to mention I think it’s unattractive to have to take your shoes off before the night is over or to dance. That never has happened to me because of shoe height, although I’ve had plenty of uncomfortable shoes at every height, but some women seem to “need” to take off their heels before the night is done.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, the older I get I’m more into kitten heels myself, easier.

Definately unattractive in public, bring some ballet slippers along, ugh the germs on your bare feet…lol

jca2's avatar

A lot of women who were from the days of women wearing heels every day, all day, have bad feet now. Bunions and hammer toes and horrible foot issues. I’m glad we don’t live in that era now. I will wear a heel on a rare occasion like our annual fancy holiday parties and maybe a wedding now and then, but otherwise I’m into sneakers or yoga shoes or something else that’s supportive and comfortable.

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