03 February 2015

ObserVation: Heels for Health..

ere is a so called “side effect” concerning wearing heels that I came across while shopping a while ago. It would be interesting if anyone has heard of, or experienced the effect in some way. 
I was with my wife once again in town on the lookout for shoes. As she has a very small shoe size 2-3UK / 34-35EU and wide width, it’s a nightmare trying to find anything that will fit and looking like it hadn’t come from the children’s dept. 
Fortunately there is a shoe shop that caters for very small to very large feet that we frequent to see what’s in season. As a regular customer the owner gives us a call when a new delivery is on its way. They don’t have that much of a choice and what comes in at irregular intervals is usually snapped up quickly, so timing is everything. 
As my wife was trying on shoes I wandered off in the direction of the large sizes and browsed. I held my distance as I didn’t want to bring attention to myself. After a while I wandered back. As we chatted with the owner, out of the blue she said that she had seen I had been looking at the high heels, and she asked if I would like to try them on! 
I did a double take, looked at her and said “pardon?”. Apparently she was not joking, as she repeated the question without any hint that she was anything but serious. 

Now if I would have been alone, I think I would had jumped at the chance. But I wasn’t and therefore I smiled and gave from myself a long drawn out “No…”. I must say I have no idea what my wife would have said if I had said “Yes please!” or "well ok, why not”. She would I think, have gone along with it, but I’m not sure if she would not have been inwardly or possibly outwardly embarrassed. 
I must say that when I’ve embarrassed her in some way it usually leads to her being angry with me and also angry with herself for getting embarrassed. It shows itself in a verbal shutdown for an indefinite time period. All I can get out of her in this mode, is short neutral toned monosyllable answers to anything I ask. This carries on until I start to try and apologise, which slowly coaxes her out into the open again and we talk it through. 
Anyway I had said “no” and so I will unfortunately never know what the result would have been if I had said “yes”. Of course, I could ask her what she would have thought about the situation if I had said “yes”. But I’m not sure where it would lead. 

The shoe shop owner had mentioned in the past, that a number of the local drag artists would buy shoes from her shop as well as other shoe "admirers”. This time she told us of a customer that buys heels for his bad back. He said that it made him stand up straight and that his back pain was better after a while. We laughed at the “excuse” he had made to buy.
We also laughed about this on the way home, of course what I did not mention was my own experience in heels in conjunction with my own back problem. I have very little chance to walk in my heels, it’s down to short runs and manoeuvres around the cellar at home or walking the 45 meter long corridor at work, after the staff has gone home and the main lights are out. Fortunately there is the emergency illumination to make sure I don’t run into doors and the odd copy machine lying about. 
I try to get in at least 3 to 4 corridor “lengths” to give me at least an idea of what it would be like to spend an elevated evening in them. I do notice that the hips have the feeling of not being where they usually are and that I have to stand up as straight as I can to help with balancing. 
With my scoliosis not an easy task, I’ve had it since my teens; I don’t look like Quasimodo back wise, but I do have to make a conscious effect to raise my head that extra few degrees to look straight ahead parallel to the floor. I can’t say my back problem feels “better” while heel-walking, different if anything. My main focus is not to lose my balance and trying to think away the pain emulating from my ankles and toes due to the unusual angle and unfortunately a half a size too small shoe. I don’t really think there was going to be any orthopaedic benefit in walking in them. 

The only thing I would call a “positive effect” was as said, having to stand up as straight as I could. Which I think for my back and stance would be in the long run beneficial for my health. I can just imagine my medical insurance company laughing their heads off after receiving a bill for reimbursement from my last heel buying attack!  
With what I have found in the literature after a short Google in the Net, is that heels are in no way healthy. Understandable when one looks at the anatomical compensation needed by the body and the dramatic increase in weight on the ball of the foot when the heel is raised. The change in posture may give the wearer an, okay let’s use the word, “sexy” enhancement and that’s quite ok. There are far more extreme measures that one can do to oneself when trying to be so called fashionable.
I'm not against heels in anyway far from it, everybody to their own. But what I cannot understand is this trend of doing aerobics in heels! I very much doubt that this will bring anything, apart from a potential sprained ankle. Ok, a short workout in reasonable heels may help you to survive an evening dancing in them, but I think that’s about it. 

I know I won't be wearing heels every day on a regular bases, just the opposite due to the pain and lack of opportunities. I am frustrated that with a shoe size half a tick away on the wrong side of 9UK/43EU/12US there is a very limited selection in relationship to other sizes. On the other hand, I am also glad, because it stops me from potential financial ruin! 

If you have any positive effects while wearing heels please let me know. It goes without saying that I’m not referring to finally being able to reach that otherwise inaccessible top shelf without the use of a ladder! 


  1. Positive health effects of wearing heels? Hmm... None that come to mind. Oh except for maybe helping my butt look great! But that isn't really a health benefit is it?

    But I do notice that I have better posture overall while dressed in fem. I also look at my skin more closely and take care of the occasional oddly growing ear hair!

    BTW, bummer about the shoe size. I consider myself to be so lucky in that I wear a ladies 9.5US. Thus I can find shoes anywhere. Oh and yes it could possibly be a financial problem, so I have to control myself!

    1. Thanks for the comment Nadine. If heels makes your butt look great, and this makes you feel great, and we take it that feeling great is a healthy attitude to ones body, then in your case I'll except that heels via a great butt as a health benefit. ;-)

  2. Abi, I glad your wife didn't pick up when the owner asked you about the shoes you looked at and you covered yourself with no. You take care of those feet of yours and health.

    1. Thanks Jo, yes I think I made the right move in saying "no", but after posting I got to wonder what I would have done if I had said "yes", or that my wife had said "give it a try". I think I'll do a short followup post to this soon.
      Abi xx

  3. You should have come back the next day, Abi. I'm sure the shop owner would have liked to help you to find some good shoes.
    Thanks for this post which reminds me of my college days when a classmate asked me to put on one of her pullovers. I still wonder why. She must have felt the woman inside me. I was so embarrassed and feared to be exposed and reacted just like you. It was not the first time I didn't grab the chance to change my life fundamentally.
    I love heels. Fortunately I wear ladies 10/10.5US, so no problems to find some that fit.

    Waiting for your next post Abi!
    Hugs Feli

    1. Actually Feli, I could have gone back, but at the time I had “enough” shoes in my stash to keep me going. It was just being confronted with the chance to try on heels in a shop when my wife was with me that made me hesitate.
      By the way what was the colour of the pullover to make you so embarrassed to not put it on?

    2. Do you really want to know it?
      Well, Abi, it was a red-colored, round-necked one with three-quarter sleeve, I mean. Obviously a pullover for women only that would have feminized me quite a lot. At this time I wore long hair! So what might have been the next step for her? A skirt? Tights? High heels? Make Up?
      But I has been the victim of my own fear. Today I regret...


  4. Abigail
    I agree with the shop owner that heels can help with low back pain. About 25 years ago I fell out of the attic and have suffered with bulging and herniated discs in my low back. Sometimes the pain is bad and I see my chiropractor but often it is within my rather high level of tolerance. Before my injury I liked to snow ski and worried that with my back this pleasure may be a thing of the past. I finally tried to ski. If you alpine ski you will know that the boot and binding raises your heel to force you to press your knees forward. After my first day on skis my back felt wonderful. I realized that the elevated heel with my knees flexed changed the curvature of my low back and removed pressure off my spine. I found the same relief standing on a sloped surface with my toes pointed down and similar relief if I place my heels on a curb or rise. This is basically the position of your foot in a higher heel.
    I can sometimes squeeze into a US 11w and after some time in my heels my feet may hurt but my back feels better.
    The advice from the shoe shop lady about heels helping back pain is correct. I do not agree with her physics that heels make you stand straighter. Wearing heels creates that wonderful feminine linkage of curves and it is the flex and curve that heels impart that reduces strain on the back in my opinion and experience.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Pat, sorry it took so long flu got in the way. I’ve never skied, but I can understand why the heel is raised. I would have thought getting back to skiing would have been the reason for your wonderful experience with your back, but its good you tried the “experiment” on a sloped surface and curb.
      For certain back problems it seems that wearing a low heel can give help to relieve pain. For my L5 compression it has little to no effect.

  5. Hi Abigale....a bit late because I wanted everyone to know about Caroline's 3'rd birthday, but I featured your post on T-Central.

    Calie xxx

    1. Thanks Calie, just posted a “heelnote” to the post where I speculate what may have happed if I had “yes” to the offer.

  6. Abi I stick to 2" heels max because I am already tall and because more than four hours in higher heels than that and my feet start to ache. I have some problems with my right Achilles tendon at the moment and wonder whether my many years of wearing pumps has in some ways contributed to it. I know my N does not wear overly high heels herself and like a lot of women I know strives for a balance of style and comfort.


    1. Thank you Joanna for your comment, lovely to hear from you! I can fully understand why you stick to a low heel, if I ever get out and about I would do the same. I do have a few 3 inch heels that I wear around the house when the opportunity arises, I even forget sometimes I have them on!
      It’s quite possible your tendon problem is heel connected, but then I would have thought on both feet.
      Yes, style and comfort, achieving a balance between the two is the goal.

  7. Greetings, Miss A,

    I'm working my way through the backlog of blog posts from the past few months, so forgive me if you've already addressed this in a later post, but I do hope you had the opportunity to pay a return visit to that shop and give those heels a try.

    I've been full-time for over a year now, but I've yet to try heels. It's not a lack of interest; I have two weak ankles, particularly the right, which I've fractured twice and sprained countless times.

    That said, I hope to give them a shot later this year. Assuming the eight feet of snow on the ground here ever melts, that is. (It's snowing yet again as I write this, for the fifth time in the past six days. Sigh... :-/) Perhaps L.L. Bean will come out with a snow shoe that features a 5" heel...

    Saw your private message, hon; I'll have a reply to you as soon as I reach it in my queue. Thank you for being so patient the past two months. :c)

    Have a lovely weekend, Abigale!


    1. Lovely to hear from you Miss C!
      Sorry about the ankles, I can now understand your apprehension about heels when we talked about them in the past. You do a lot of running, but of couse you have the right shoes to support you for that. Try the heels Cass but stay low.
      I have in the mean time a second post dealing with heels, a third will follow some time would you believe!
      I think investing in a stylish pair of stilts would be a good idea.
      Take care