Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Killer Heels; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images Our Columnist Looks at Our Obsession with Elevated Footwear

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Killer Heels; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images Our Columnist Looks at Our Obsession with Elevated Footwear

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles Saatchi the naked eye

ALADY in stilettos exerts more brute force than a bull elephant. Weighing just 100lb, a woman wearing high heels focuses all of her weight into one tiny area -- and the pressure she exerts on that little spot is magnified so powerfully that it's greater than the impact of a large elephant.

The high heel began its ascent into fashion when they were used on boots. In a much shorter, thicker design they were adopted to stop feet from slipping through stirrups when riding horses.

It was the footwear of choice for both men and women -- the saying "well-heeled" was meant to indicate the owner was so wealthy that he could afford extravagantly highheeled boots.

Anyone of note wore high heels, until the French Revolution of 1789, when it was decided they were the vulgar accessories of the aristocrat.

The style was revived by women once again in the 1900s, and has made a permanent mark in fashion, as well as your wooden floors, when the thinner high heel made its first appearance in the Thirties.

Over time heels evolved, when movies and TV shows like Sex and the City made the extremes of a towering stiletto the uniform of everyday wear, in offices as well as at social gatherings.

Heels have been gaining inches steadily, and designers have used them as a canvas with which to have fun -- the Armadillo heels, pictured here, were designed by fashion favourite Alexander McQueen.

But physicians worry that heels have gone too far, or basically too high, in recent years. An increasing number of women are being diagnosed with Morton's neuroma, alongside a myriad of other conditions, as a result of their footwear.

This affliction creates a numbness in the foot as the nerve that runs between the toes is affected. Heeled shoes push the toe bones against the nerve, eventually causing the condition to develop. …

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