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The Outlook for High Heels in 2014 and Beyond

 Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois January 01, 2014

By John M. Sigle, DPM, FACFAS

American women have a real passion for high-heeled shoes, and some have an obsession for them. Kelly Ripa, morning talk show host for Live!, has taken her obsession for heels to a new dimension. For the past few years she has sponsored the “High-Heel-A-Thon” charity footrace, and thousands of ladies competed in a 150-yard dash in heels. Good idea for charity, but a bad idea for women. Despite having a stress fracture in her hip during 2010, Kelly still hobbled on stage in crutches and heels. OMG!

Heels have also become like a trademark for other celebrities like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. They too experienced serious spills in their heels, but they didn’t throw them away. Lady Gaga was seen wearing heels to a yoga class after hip surgery.  Following Beyoncé’s fall on stage, there was an outgrowth of high heel workout classes across the country. Another OMG!

Since the ‘70s, the average height of high heels has risen from three inches to six inches. Designers are getting bolder and heels are as high as 7 to 11 inches.  According to an ABC News article, “High Heel Shoes Reach New Heights,” designers are featuring wedges, platforms, and stilettos that resemble claws and lion’s paws.  Some are also designed to look like cow and horse hoofs.

Podiatrists across the country don’t know whether to applaud their popularity or to pray for them to fall out of fashion. They are seeing an increase in foot injuries for women like ankle fractures, bunions, hammertoes, neuromas (pinched nerves), and shortened Achilles tendons. Many of these injuries are related to improper footwear.

All of the evidence in the world is not going to change women’s minds, and it’s highly doubtful that warning labels will be put on high-heeled shoes. Some people say that high heels are as important to women as cars are to men but… I don’t think so!

Are high heels on their way out or here to stay in 2014 and beyond? Well, it looks like the designers are in no rush to push them aside. Instead, they are looking at ways to improve the ergonomics of their design to make them more foot friendly.  Some shoe companies are pairing designers with architects to redesign high heels that are still provocative and sensual, but more comfortable and supportive.

If you are interested in getting a glimpse into the future designs for high heels visit myfootandanklecenter.com to watch a short video produced by United Nude. If you are finding it more difficult to wear your favorite high heels, don’t wait to call podiatrist Dr. John Sigle, at the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois, 217-787-2700, to schedule an appointment. Dr. Sigle will be able to assess your condition, offer solutions to eliminate your pain, and help you wear your shoe of choice.

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 Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois| January 01, 2014

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