There is something about a woman’s appearance in high heels that many of us can not help but turn our heads and discretely look at her.

Women wear high heels because they physically make them taller, making them feel more beautiful, confident and giving them a sense of power. In other words, wearing high heels elevate a woman physically and, more importantly, makes them feel good and happy about themselves.

However, it is also crucial for women to note that they shouldn’t wear high heels too often or for too long periods as it can damage the feet and toes in the long run. So let us take a deeper look into why women like to wear heels and their impact on their feet.

Why were high heels invented?

It is an interesting historical fact that men were the first to wear high heels.

Before the 1700s, male Persian soldiers were the first to wear heels. These high heels helped the soldiers with better stability as they rode and shot arrows on horseback.

In the 1770s, these high-heeled shoes found their way to Europe, where men wore them to show off their upper-class position in their society since only the rich could own horses. This high heel trend was worn by wealthy men eventually faded away.

The famous actor Clint Eastwood who starred in western movies wore high heels. And boy, did he look good!

Later in the 1800s, women started to step into these high-heeled shoes, becoming a new fashion trend. This feminine fashion trend continues to the present day.

The men invented high heels, but now the women enjoy the fruit of that invention. It will be hard to imagine a handsome man in heels. However, you can easily relate to or point out a pretty woman in high heels.

Men originally wore heels to ride horses to be better fighting soldiers. Now women walk in high heels to enhance their kill-er look. What an interesting analogy.

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Why do women wear high heels?

Both men and women, in general, want to look taller. Nowadays, however, it is more socially and fashionable accepted towards women. For example, women in high heels show off a more feminine look. The raised heel makes a woman have a shorter stride, and it also increases the tilt and rotation of the hips.

This tilt of the hips creates an attractive curve to the upper body, particularly when wearing fitted clothing. This causes an enhanced appearance of looking thinner and taller than their actual height. The raised heel also makes the legs appear longer.

Women love wearing heels because they are stylish. They make you look thinner, more confident and enhance your figure. They are also commonly used in weddings as a requirement for the bride. They enhance a woman’s beauty, body figure, and the way they walk.

Why do women wear high heels at work? Some women wear heels to work because they are required. Also, some of the most formal pants have a heel of 1-2 inches, so they must wear those shoes to look professional and presentable. Some professions such as models, flight attendants, and businesswomen tend to wear heels a lot.

What are high heels?

High-heeled shoes, also known as high heels or simply heels, are a type of shoeOpens in a new tab. in which the heel is tall or raised, resulting in the heel of the wearer’s foot being significantly higher off the ground than the wearer’s toes. High heels make the wearer appear taller, serve to accentuate the muscle tone in the legs as well as make the wearer’s legs appear longer


High heels are shoes with two or more inches of cubed heels made of wood, plastic, metal, or other hard materials. Some heels are so high that the wearer has to walk on their toes and hurt themselves if they wear them too long.

High heels are categorized with over 25 different kinds or styles. The most popular ones are:

  • Ankle Strap Heels
  • Cone Heels
  • High Heeled Boots
  • High Heel Sandals
  • Kitten Heels
  • Peep Toe Heels
  • Platform Heels
  • Pumps
  • Sling Back Heels
  • Stilettos
  • Wedge Heels

You can see what they are and how they look online on one convenient website, Amazon.

How high are high heels?

High heels can be anywhere from 1 to 10 inches. However, standard heights are between 3 and 4 inches. Some women prefer higher heels while others prefer shorter ones. High heels with higher angles tend to be harder to walk in than those with lower angles.

For higher heels, a platform is used to raise the front of the foot higher, reducing the angle between the foot and the ground to make it easier to walk in.

High heels either have toe boxes or straps to secure the foot’s front where the toes can fit snugly. Since the front of the shoes has to be slim, these toe boxes or straps tend to squeeze the toes so tight that they change their natural position, especially the big toe.

Basically, when a woman walks in high heels, they alter two things. First, the angles between her feet and the ground increase significantly, making it harder to walk or run (think of when you are tiptoeing), and the front part of her feet is unnaturally squeezed.

Are high heels bad for you?

Because walking in high-heeled shoes differs from walking with flat shoes, they could have a damaging effect if they were to be worn for an extended period.

Since high heels change the angle at which you walk from 0 to 7 degrees, it creates stress on your joints, especially those on the feet, and can cause injuries after prolonged periods of use. Additionally, the toes are so tightly squeezed together inside the small, pointy toe box, they can develop a deformity after prolonged high heel wear. Here are some of the effects that long high heel wear can cause:

  • Back and leg pain joints
  • Sore leg and foot muscles
  • Deformed feet
  • Callouses or corn
  • Bunions

Why do high heels hurt?

With all the bad things associated with wearing high heels above, no wonder why wearing high heels can be very painful. High heels can hurt because it changes two characteristics that normal, flat shoes possess. 

Walking in high heels is like semi-tiptoeing. Imagine if you tiptoe when you walk, you will not walk very far comfortably. You can walk in regular flat shoes for long distances because they do not change the current joints and muscles configurations that humans evolved to after hundreds of thousands of years of walking on flat surfaces with bare feet.

Walking in high heels means all the toes are squeezed tightly together in a tiny, pointy toe box. This is not comfortable for the toes to be in as they tend to be naturally and slightly separated from each other. Tightly squeezed toes can reduce blood circulation, unnecessary stress, and strain on the toe joints as a person walk with high heels. As a result, prolonged wear will cause the front of the feet, especially the toes, to hurt because of those reasons.

Wearing high heels for work is one of many reasons why you have foot and toe painOpens in a new tab..

I had many older customers who wore high heels to work in the 1960s and 1980s. Many developed bunions, which is the joint enlargement where the big toe is connected to the foot. Bunions are painful, and they change the shapes of the feet permanently. These affected customers had a tough time finding any flat shoes that did not cause their bunions to hurt. Foot pain is the price they had to pay for having a good look when they were younger.

If your feet hurt from wearing high heels, you can do a few things to reduce the pain at the end of the day.


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Soak your feet in a foot bath:

The heat from the warm water will soothe all the aching joints and muscles, help blood circulation.

Get a pedicure with foot massage:

If you get a pedicureOpens in a new tab. at a nail salon, beside from soaking your feet in a whirlpool tub, your feet would get a great foot massage.

Why can’t I walk in heels?

Wearing high heels take practice, and you can not just put on high heels and walk normally.

You should begin with lower high heels first. This way, you will feel how walking on high heels should be. Also, starting with lower heels will help your joints get used to walking differently and strengthen the supporting muscles so you will not sprain your ankles by accidentally bending them.

Start with a short walk first, and take your heels off as soon as you feel uncomfortable walking in them.

Even though high heels are not practical nor safe compared to other flatter shoes, they are in a unique class of their own that I think will continue to be for a long time: they make women look more attractive.

So if you are trying on high heels for the first time, here is what you need to know:

Do remember the bad things about high heels they can cause that I mentioned above.

Know your limitation as far as how high your shoes could be.

How long your feet let you walk in high heels before they start to hurt.

This way, you can enjoy your high heels without the pain and the deformity of your feet later in life.

If you think you are overweight, you should try to lose some weight first before wearing high heels because of two reasons:

Extra weight will exert unnecessary pressure on the joints and muscles on the lower legs, feet, and muscles, causing them to hurt in a short amount of time, and you will not be able to wear heels for long.

Some of the extra fat also accumulates on the feet, making them larger and not fitting in smaller shoes.

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If wearing high heels is on your mind because of an important event coming up, such as a wedding, you can check out the most popular diet trend, the Keto diet. There are many books written about this diet program. You can find them on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

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Whichever diet program you choose, do stick with it until you see the results.

Wearing high heels is the delicate balancing act between looking attractive and permanent foot pain. Learn how to wear them and stop when they hurt so you will not cause any long-term issues like bunions that could prevent you from walking comfortably later in life. Also, this balance is not the same for everybody. So you have to step in to find it yourself.

Heels that are comfortable

Since there are many different kinds and styles available, and there are no two same feet, you need to find shoes that you like and fit you comfortably so you will be happy walking in them without any pain.

Comfortable high heels are an individual preference that you must go through a trying-out process until you find the style that fits you perfectly.

Go on Amazon to find one that pleases your eyes first and try them on to see they are comfortable to walk on later.

To end this, I like to share my thought.

Whenever I see a pretty lady in high heels walking by, I appreciate that she took her time to find a pair of heels that she likes to wear to enhance her beautiful, feminine image for the world to see. At the same time, I compassionately feel the pain she has to go through later, no matter how little, after taking off her heels.

For that, thank you, high heels.

Notice concerning medical entries:

Articles having medical content shall serve exclusively for the purpose of general information. Such articles are not suitable for any (self-) diagnosis and treatment of individual illnesses and medical indications. In particular, they cannot substitute for the examination, advice, or treatment by a licensed physician or pharmacist. No replies to any individual questions shall be effected through the articles.


High-heeled shoe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-heeled_shoe.

First photo by The Paris Photographer on Unsplash

Second photo by Mikayla Storms on Unsplash

Third photo by Ann Danilina on Unsplash

Fourth photo by Femme Spirit on Unsplash

Fifth photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

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