Many women enjoy the look of wearing heeled shoes, which makes the attraction of wearing them not so appealing to the pain many experience. The arched back brought on by the heeled shoe alters the positions and angles at which joints are allowed to move. The pelvic and abdominal organs must adapt to these positions, which puts strain on the body. The high amount of pressure focused on the ball of the foot adds stress to the ball. Even the heel experiences strain. When walking in 4 inch heels, the force on the heel of the foot is equivalent to the force felt when running. The way the heel creates the look of long, muscular legs actually takes away from the propulsive power of tendon and leg muscles. This power has to be taken from somewhere else, so knees, thighs, hips, and buttocks are strained. However, with a few changes, you can still wear your favorite heels and achive your sexy walk by changing a few things. (Also, review my Vol 1 DVD on Feminine Movement which gives detailed instruction with examples of how to walk in heels).
Luckily, there has been a response to the pain of walking in heels. Shoemakers have come up with a less painful design by integrating technology already found in athletic shoes. Recently, high-heeled shoes were released with pouches of gas similar to those found in running and basketball shoes. These air bags are made from “two layers of fabric connected by thousands of fibers. The fabric layers are surrounded by pressurized gas and encased in and attached to a flexible plastic capsule”. These pockets distribute weight more evenly across the shoe, so the shift in center of gravity is minimized. They are inserted in the heel and under the front sole in a variety of hybrid high heels in order to counterbalance pressure put on the ball of the foot while walking and on the heel of the foot while standing.
Now, some might wonder why it would be beneficial to buy these shoes when inexpensive gel cushions can be used. One obvious reason is that inserts can be seen if the shoe does not enclose all sides of the foot. The best reason, however, is that the air bags do not erode. When compressed by a footfall, the capsule compresses and then springs back into shape to provide cushioning and absorb shock from the next footfall. So, in addition to being comfortable, these shoes are attractive and durable. Hyrbrid heels will not completely rid all the strains caused by high heels, but they are a start. “There’s still a lot of room out there for development,” says Karen Mickle, a PhD student at the University of Wollongong’s Biomechanics Research Laboratory. Footwear scientists predict many more advances in heeled footwear are on the way.
High-heeled shoes are a classic way to enhance appearance because they create a classic poise and walk. They are able to transform the body to move in a provocative way mainly because they shift the center of gravity and cause the body to use more muscle and movement to maintain balance. Women have forever been complaining about the way these shoes make the body ache, so innovations are finally being made to high-heeled shoes, although no solution has yet been found to completely rid all the strains of wearing these tall shoes. Engineering comfortable heels could turn out to be problematic since it may require alterations of the classic high-heel design that has been around for the past 50 years. Still, it is a step forward in the world of shoe engineering to move away from the athletic department and into an untouched fashion zone. To locate these shoes, do an internet search, for stores in your city/state.
Post Script: Before wearing heels stretch out your feet and lower legs with bare feet and begin to stretch your toes and lower legs, by standing up on the ball of your feet and pulling UP very tight–holding– relaxing–repeat several times. Then switch and stand on your bare HEELS with toes pointed towards the ceiling (support yourself by holding onto something for balance-support) while standing on your bare heels you want to feel the stretch in your lower leg. Also, stretch the arch in your feet, by pointing your toes (like a ballet dancer) very tight, then relax and repeat each toe/arch stretch 5 to 10 times. Point that toe!! This will enable you to wear a higher heel longer, and slows down “being sore” afterwards (generally women report their lower legs and their arch can feel sore for 1-2 days). So… before your next outing with fabulous 3 or 4 inch heels…remember your “high heel” stretches ~ before and after! And, when sitting while wearing your heels …Point That Toe so you don’t appear to have flat, longer feet. Try it, It Works!