The Science of Being Safe on Your Stilettos

Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Science of Being Safe on Your Stilettos


Byline: COLIN FERNANDEZ

A COUPLE of tottering steps is usually enough to warn that your heels are dangerously high.

But scientists have come up with a foolproof formula they say can estimate exactly what heights stiletto enthusiasts can go to without toppling over.

Armed with their mathematical equation, they believe women can work out to the inch if their killer heels will leave them on shaky ground. The magic formula to stiletto safety is apparently h = Q(12+(3s/8)).

It may seem a bit much for the average Jimmy Choo fan to take in. But scientists insist it is all down to simple maths.

H is the maximum height of the heel in centimetres, s the shoe size, and Q a 'sociological factor' which includes the number of units of alcohol consumed by the wearer and the years of experience wearing high heels.

'Although at first glance our formula looks scary, it's actually pretty simple,' said Dr Paul Stevenson, from the University of Surrey, who devised the formula for the Institute of Physics.

'It's based on the science you learned at school and which you never thought you would use in real life - in this case Pythagoras's theorem. …

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