Alcohol, Pinkberry yogurt, and cigarettes are the kinds of things we (try to) treat as special indulgences not to be consumed often because we know they’re bad for us. But it seems we ought to put the season’s hottest shoes in the same category as dirty martinis. We’re talking five-to-seven-inch heels — the ones Gwyneth Paltrow wore to all her Iron Man premieres that caused sellouts at Selfridges in London. Not only can these, like martinis, make a person look ridiculous who doesn’t know how to work them, they’re also bad for your health. You probably knew this already, but allow a doctor “aghast” at footwear trends to explain in scientific detail:
“If the heel is continually in a raised position, then it shortens the calf muscle. All the weight is forced on to the metatarsal head and this can cause bunions, corns and calluses; prolonged wear also causes degeneration of joint function,” says Dr Charlotte Hawkins, a specialist in biomechanics and gait. “Overall, it is not a great idea.” So what is an acceptable heel height? “One or maybe two inches.”
We know — fat chance, lady! But if you insist on wearing heels, like, every single day of your life, you’ll probably shorten your Achilles tendon and find it too painful to wear flat shoes. This could be why Naomi Campbell insisted Ugly Betty specially make high-heeled sneakers for her to wear during her softball scenes in the season finale. So if you’re a heel addict and for some reason don’t want to be like Naoms, suck it up and wear your flat shoes from time to time. Consider it preemptive rehab.