My women friends admire me. Not because I am a success at my job or because I have accomplished amazing things. My friends admire me because I still wear high heels.
As a middle school teacher, I’m on my feet most of the day; and I am, on the average, 6½ times older than my students. But unlike most of my colleagues, I have not given up on shoes with 4” heels. If I must go into that good night, I’m not going gentle. I’m striding with my shoulders back, stylish and confident and kicking up a little dust. Dylan Thomas would be proud.
Sure, style and confidence have something to do with it, but there are real reasons why we women should hang onto those Manalo Blahniks.
1. The elevated heel position causes our leg muscles to work harder, especially our calves. That means that walking in those stilettos is building great legs, tight butts, and, according to a number of physical fitness trainers, better abdominal muscles. If walking in high heels works our thighs, quads, calves, hamstrings, and hips, consider doing squats and lunges. There are, from LA to Denver to Manhattan and the UK, gyms that offer high-heeled workouts for women—and adventurous men.
Everything is a lot harder wearing high heels. Just ask anyone who has taken a class called Stiletto Strength. Not for the faint of heart or anyone who has undergone knee surgery, but participants get a killer workout.
2. High heels improve our balance. Because there is less contact with the ground, we practice using our leg and abdominal muscles to keep us upright and stabilized. A regular yoga practice would be good for all of us, but putting on a pair of shoes is a lot easier and fits into our schedule.
3. Wearing high heels has another, most surprising health benefit. (Wait for it.) Dr. Maria Angela Cerruto, a urologist at the University of Verona, Italy, tells us that the action of leaning slightly forward to counter the elevated angle of the heel increases the ability of pelvic muscles to contract, which makes for easier childbirth and more gratifying sex—and fewer episodes of urinary incontinence. Even the oldest of us has at least a passing interest in one of those.
Christian Louboutin, designer of the celebrated shoe with the famous red sole, goes next level. “What is sexual in a high heel is the arch of the foot,” he says, “because it is exactly the position of a woman’s foot when she orgasms. So putting your foot in a heel, you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation.”
Of course podiatrists, orthopedists, knee doctors, and surgeons are screaming, “Sensible shoes, ladies!” but we don’t listen.
And since we refuse to give up our alluring footwear, follow these simple guidelines:
High heels have been associated with wealth, sex, and social status for hundreds of years from Egyptian queens to King Louis XIV with his 5” high-heeled red slippers. He decreed that only nobility could wear red shoes and nobody at all could wear shoes with heels higher than his. A few centuries later, we’re all free to wear heels of any height and any color… even red.
Go for it.
By Sherri Daley
For more on our love/hate affair with high heeled shoes, take a look at Rosy Prose’s blog, My Toes are NOT Pointed!