It is a debate that has raged for decades. Are high heels a torture device meant to objectify and hobble women, or an empowering fashion statement? Does the damage to your feet outweigh the benefit to posture?
Well, you may be able to check one reason off the list. One study says men don’t care! Or so go the headlines.
Scratch that. What they mean is men can’t tell the difference.
Experts at Northumbria University are studying the reactions of men to women walking while wearing high heels and others without heels.
But the experts say research has shown that men cannot even tell if a woman is wearing high heels when they walk.
It is part of a wider research project into attraction and the signals sent out by movement like walking and dancing.
Now another study is looking at women between 18 and 35 and what signals are sent out when the they walk with and without heels.
Male observers in the experiment cannot tell which figures are wearing heels.
De Neave said: “Women are spending money on high heels, which can be dangerous, presumably to make themselves look good and add to what nature has given them.”
The study is investigating if the change in body posture brought about by wearing heels, such as the illusion of longer legs, tilting torso and more prominent rear, sends a signal which has an impact on men. (Daily Telegraph)
It’s almost impossible to find more information about this particular study. From what I can find about the related studies they are most likely using computers to capture the way volunteer women walk, in both flats and heels, then creating avatars of them. Men then view these avatars–without feet. This is just a guess, but it’s the best I’ve got at the moment.
However it’s being conducted, the men are unable to tell the difference between gaits. One of the major theories in favor of high heels is that they change your gait, tipping the pelvis, emphasizing the calves, etc. Maybe those changes are too subtle for the university’s computer to catch. Maybe the women in the study are too self conscious to include the attitude shift that happens when one wears heels. Or, maybe the study is bunk. Time will tell.
One thing I do know is that men are commenting on this story in droves. The majority swear they notice when a woman’s wearing high heels, many say it’s one of the very first things they notice. That’s news to me! It could be that only those guys are commenting, but I suspect that men are only remembering the times when footwear made an impression, good or bad.
You know what? I really don’t care either way, if men notice, or they don’t, or if they prefer flats to sandals to to boots to wedges to espadrilles. (Gentlemen, if you made it through that sentence and know what every word meant, you get a cookie.)
My shoes today are three inches high, a bit more than I typically prefer. They’re not made for standing for long periods, though they are super comfy. …but they’re SO PRETTY! I love how I feel when I wear them, and I love the way they look.
You can take my heels off my cold, dead feet when a house falls on me.