Hello Everyone; To continue on…with the information regarding the Physics Behind Walking In Heels. Again, thanks for Jess Kofold for her research into the Physics and scientific research explaining what role heels have in creating the infamous high=heeled gait, or strut. Unfortunately, the dynamics behind these shoes also explains the pain associated with wear. The good news is this. New shoes are now being designed that will help mitigate the negative effects of the physics behind these shoes. Also, I have been working on creating a more comfortable way to walk in the higher heels, and I will explain how this is accomplished, at the end of this article.
We reviewed the Sance, Upper Body and Lower Body.
Next, is Bounce.
During normal stance, body weight is spread evenly from the heel and ball of the foot. So, the center of pressure (COP), which is the average location on the foot where the most weight is distributed, is located in the middle of the foot. When standing in a heel, pressure moves toward the ball of the foot. On a high heel, 90% of the weight is focused on the ball of the foot. When walking in heels, the COP’s location at the ball causes the contact phase to be felt mostly by the ball and the push-off phase is performed almost entirely from the ball. This transforms the smooth step sequence into a more “jerky” stride. (Picture the difference between a ball that is bounced rather than rolled). When rolling the ball. there is a smooth transition between different parts of the ball touching the ground, just like shifting between steps of the ground and feeling most of the impact, similar to the ball of the foot in a heeled shoe. Just like the basketball, having the contact phase felt by mostly one section creates a walk with bounce to it.
Each gait cycle in a heeled shoe is faster than cycles in flat ones because of the shift in the center of gravity. “To initiate a walking step, you lean forward until you lose your stability. You begin to fall forward, and you step with one foot to catch your fall and reestablish your stability”. Because a shift in the center of gravity makes a person less stable in heels, stability is lost more quickly when walking in high-0heels instead of flat shoes. More gait cycles are covered in a given distance, so someone walking in heels has very quick steps that cover a short distance.
Aside from the quick, bouncy step, the supermodel walk needs showy hip swaying, better known as a sashay. Once again, the shift in the center of gravity is the main cause of this action. Pelvis and hip movement contribute greatly to maintaining balance and standing posture by exerting continuous muscular action to ensure equilibrium When walking in heels, the muscular action taken is turning the hips and pelvic region more, scientifically known as “torque”. The new cat walk, was actually created….because of the newer 4 inch heels. The main purpose of the cat walk is to keep itself balanced. The hip swaying, swift bouncy strides, and pro9minent stance are all in reaction to the shift in centers of gravity or pressure. The illusion of muscular legs, on the other hand, is a result of positioning of the heel of the foot.
Now, most TG women have muscular legs, and this is a positive in helping with balance. However, it is important for all TG women to practice moving their center of gravity, into their hips. I teach my clients, hip sways and hip rolls (like a belly dancer) to help “open up and move the pelvic/hip area”. Also, to avoid the supermodel walk, for your everyday life……it is important to practice creating “your” balance…using your shoulders and head. Just as many women, have carried water pots on their heads (and books on their heads in modeling school) this head balance, helps maintain balance when walking in higher heels. In Vol 1 I speak about feeling a string of energy going through your body, up and out the top of your head. As if there were a string pulling you UP from the top of your head. Pulling your inner energy up. This was the most important lesson I learned when practicing walking in heels. I did not have balance as a teen age girl. In modeling school, learning to pull this energy field UP from my pelvic through my chest and out the top of my head…was the answer for me to obtain a balanced, graceful walk. Centered. Balanced. Holding your chin up. Feeling the “spirit” in your feet and upper thighs, while you reach with your upper thigh and foot on each step. Feeling the string pulling you up– inside your body, lifting you up, creates the same effect as–using your shoulders for balance or using a book on your head. In addition, this helps you pull your chin back and parallel to the floor, using your eyes to glance down…to see better.
Now that you understand the Physics Behind Physique, get your favorite pair of heels and strut your stuff! Or, come and work with me privately. This is not easy for everyone, and it looks silly…when we can’t walk well in heels! I know, I was one of those girls who had to learn!