The argument’s been made before to pick a comfy pair of flats over a pair of sexy Louboutins, but now the point has been underscored even more. A new study done on young women has shown that wearing high heels for extended periods of time actually changes the physical makeup of your calves—and could increase your chance for injury. Argh, shoe quandary!
After studying two groups of high-heel wearers and flats-wearers, researchers at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia found that high-heel lovers took shorter, more forceful steps when they walked (even when barefoot) and kept their feet in a constantly flexed position with their toes pointed. The result of maintaining that style of gait so consistently had actually caused the muscle fibers in these womens’ calves to shorten, which ended up putting more strain on the calves.
Dr. Neil J. Cronin, one of the researchers, told The New York Times that “we think that the large muscle strains that occur when walking in heels may ultimately increase the likelihood of strain injuries.”
He also pointed out that the women in the study “were quite young, average age 25, suggesting that it is not necessary to wear heels for a long time, meaning decades, before adaptations start to occur.”
We swear by our heels here in the Birchbox office, so this was pretty difficult news to take. While the research hasn’t definitively pointed to heels causing injuries later in life, the study’s results are enough to make us seriously reconsider our daily shoe selection.
Are you an everyday heel-wearer like us? If you are, does this make you think you should more regularly wear flats?
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