If you've browsed a shoe department lately, you may have noticed that high heels are growing—and not just in popularity.Towering platforms, extreme wedges, and treacherous stilettos have flooded the marketplace in recent months, and most every designer and celebrity seems to be doing their part to participate in the trend.
Runways, red carpets, and glossy magazine spreads have all been inundated with the look. Ever the style catalyst, Lady Gaga donned Alexander McQueen's 12-inch heels in her "Bad Romance" music video after three professional runway models refused to wear them on the runway last fall. This past weekend, even Tina Fey, the queen of nerd chic, strutted out in five-inch pumps to perform her opening monologue on "Saturday Night Live." Clearly, we have a fashion craze on our hands, or feet.
So why the sudden footwear rise? Experts say the recession is to blame: "We have entered a moment of heightened impracticality in footwear," Elizabeth Semmelhack, author of "Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe" told CNN. "Heel heights noticeably grew during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the oil crisis in the 1970s, and when the dotcom bubble burst in the 2000s." Women's shoes are now at an all-time high, a
nd Semmelhack believes during tough economic times, there's "a greater need for escapism."
However, this escapism isn't without its hazards: "There is never a shortage of high-heeled women in pain in my midtown Manhattan office, but yes, there is an increase lately," says Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, Doctor of Podiatric medicine and surgery and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association says.
High heels make women feel taller, skinnier and sexier. Beyonce popping and bouncing across stage in six-inch heels that look more like weapons is enough to make any woman believe she can survive a few nights on the town in stilettos. Even though Beyonce has admitted she is killing her feet by dancing in stilettos, she never gets on stage without them. The high heel shoe will simply never go out of style, but there are ways to minimize fashion’s damage to your feet.
Go for a wedge or platform style. The wedge style distributes your weight evenly across a greater surface putting less pressure on the balls of your feet. Platforms minimize the relative distance of the sole of the foot to the ground. The height of the platform decreases the relative height of the heel. Have a pair of standby shoes. Instead of walking long distances in high heels wear a pair of flats or tennis shoes and change into your high heels when you arrive. If your feet start to hurt halfway through the night don’t be ashamed to slip back into those flats.