A New Policy on High-heeled Shoes

Andrea Schroeder



Throughout history, women have bent over backward to feel and look attractive. Many of the methods used to obtain this goal are dangerous to their health. The high-heeled shoe, one of the most popular types of women’s foot apparel, belongs in this category. The pump puts a tremendous amount of stress on a woman’s knees, back, heels, and toes. To avoid these potential problems, women should be warned about the dangers of wearing high-heeled shoes.



Without knowledge of the damage done by high-heeled shoes women are put in danger of permanently harming their bodies. "High heels hurt and can cause significant health problems including bunions, heel pain, toe deformities and painful trapped nerves" (1). Many women experience lower back pain resulting from the extended wear of high-heeled shoes. Women are also more likely to sprain an ankle while wearing heels than while wearing flatter shoes. The constant wearing of a heeled shoe can shorten the Achilles tendon over time, causing the wearer to lose a range of motion in the foot. This can result in causing pain during any exercise, even one so simple as walking(1). Another health concern is the strain on the knee, which can result in osteoarthritis, a chronic degeneration of cartilage in the joints. A two-inch heel is enough to cause an increased amount of strain on the inner side of the knee, possibly setting the stage for the onset of this condition (2). Below are two diagrams showing the health dangers of extended high-heel shoe wearing, Figure 1.1 shows the injuries to the foot and Figure 1.2 shows the damages to the rest of the body.

Figure 1.1

Source: www.ama-assn.org/insight/en_hlth/atlas/newatlas/mufront.htm (3)

Figure 1.2

Source: www.ama-assn.org/insight/gen_hlth/atlas/newatlas/foot.htm (4)

Many women also have to waste money going through a corrective surgery that otherwise could have been avoided if they had been aware of the damage caused by high-heeled shoes and had been more moderate with the amount of wearing time. "The total estimated cost for this avoidable surgery is $2 billion annually" (1). This wastes time and labor, both of which could have been easily saved by an informational warning about the risk of wearing high-heeled shoes.




Since there are so many ill effects resulting from high-heeled shoe usage, women should be informed of them. I propose the best way to do so is to place a warning label on all high-heeled apparel boxes. This label would appear something like the following:

This label would be the most effective if placed in a visible area on the shoe box. The ideal region would be on the side, next to the size label. In such an obvious location, women could easily locate and read the warning label.



The warning label would alert women to the danger they may put themselves in everyday if they are not careful. Perhaps an increasing number of women would be sensible enough to take their shoes off whenever possible if they must wear them for an extended amount of time. For example, a woman could leave her high-heels on at a restaurant, but on the way to and from the restaurant, in the car, she could remove the high-heels. This would allow her feet to relax and relieve the strain that is caused by high-heeled shoes.

If women read and understand the warning label, less money would have to be wasted on foot and knee surgeries due to the effects of wearing high-heeled shoes. Wearing the shoe for no more than a couple of hours a day will eliminate the shortening of the Achilles tendon problem, as well as many of the other foot health concerns (1).


Additional Benefits

The label making market would certainly benefit from the warning labels. Since the shoe companies would have to buy the labels, the label making company would be able to profit from shoe factories.

Women following the suggested restrictions of wear on the warning label would be happier because their comfort would increase. By following the time limit, women would avoid causing foot problems that make high-heeled shoes increasingly uncomfortable to wear. They could enjoy the event in which they are engaged in, instead of worrying about how much their feet hurt.



Making women aware of the health problems due to high-heeled shoe wearing would be accomplished by requiring all shoe companies to have a warning label on each box of high-heeled shoes before it leaves the shoe box factory. Also, each store selling high-heeled shoes would have to sell only boxes with warning labels on them.

The new policy would have to be enforced by supervising each shoe store. This would be accomplished by employees of the Department of National Health evaluating the percentage of high-heeled shoes being sold without warning labels. An official could assess each high-heeled shoe store four times annually. This inspector from the Department of National Health should distribute surveys to the employees of the shoe stores to see if they sell only shoe boxes with warning labels. The inventory of the store should be checked for warning labels as well. With this information a fair judgment could be made whether the shoe store should stay in business or not. If the store is known to have sold high-heeled shoes without warning labels it will be fined $10,000 on the first and second offense, but on the third offense, it will be forced to terminate its business. By these evaluations, it would be made certain that customers are not buying high-heeled shoes without warning labels.






Sources from:

  1. www.aofas.org/highheels.html
  2. www.slrmc.org/quest/sp_99/index.htm
  3. www.ama-assn.org/insight/gen_hlth/atlas/newatlas/mufront.htm
  4. www.ama-assn.org/insight/gen_hlth/atlas/newatlas/foot.htm