Are High Heels Overrated?
Recently at a dance, I noticed the lead singer for That 80's Band had on combat boots and a short skirt. Totally cute. This confused the heck out of me, a long time, die-hard, high heel aficionado. What happened to my unbending notion that high heels equal sex appeal? That dainty shoes define feminine? Totally flummoxed now, I decided to delve into this a bit further.I am definitely not alone; upon perusing the internet, I discovered thousands of sites about high heels, even one that lists movies with high heels in them. This fascination seems to know no gender barrier. Women, men and crossdressers seem equally enthralled. What could be sexier than a black patent stiletto? Move your mouse over heels to the right. Even the word stiletto sounds sexy.
The pointed toe stiletto, originally called winkle pickers, has been popular since the mid 50's when heel heights soared to 5 inches and beyond. This created a shoe that enhanced and beautified the foot while causing all sorts of foot problems. With a 3 1/4-inch heel, pressure on the forefoot is more than seven times greater than with a flat shoe.ˆ1
The high heel has been in and out of popularity and has always been a source of discomfort. Besides the foot, the back and knees are also effected with undue stress.
The stiletto also had practicality problems; driving was tricky and sidewalk grilles were deadly. The wearer was pretty deadly too, of course. Men were more afraid than at any other time in shoe history, especially on the dance floor. Museum curators were suicidal at precious floors pock marked by tiny weapon-like heels. ˆ2
I have read that the force of the heel is between 2 and 6 tons of pressure per squareinch. Other styles have come and gone, but in places like Frederick's of Hollywood, the stiletto still reigns.
So why do we torture our feet? I, like many a transgender, have been wearing heels up to 5" for years, and many a night I have gone home with sore feet. My soles are sore sometimes, but toes take the most abuse, being crammed in that small pointed toe box and having nearly all my body weight on them. I sometimes wonder if I have some masochistic tendencies, or maybe I just tolerate the discomfort because it is a constant reminder of something sexy on my foot. Remember the phrase from "The Final Conflict": Beauty is pain.
In recent years I have been looking for relief from crushed and twisted toes and pulverized soles. I am not willing to give up style for comfort, but I have found some alternatives to the pointed-toe high heel.
One, the high heel sandal--quite a popular shoe among movie stars and models. For years I stayed away from open toe shoes because I thought it a bit strange to wear them with tights. It was, like, where are the toes? Fortunately I am no longer hindered by hair on my legs. As long as the straps don’t cut into the foot, sandals are a huge relief for the toes. Depending on the height of the heel, the plantar surface of the foot can still suffer if the shoe isn’t constructed well.
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Two, the rounded-toe shoe. Making a recent comeback in popularity, the rounded-toe shoe can offer comfort to weary feet. The rounded toe gives a little extra breathing room for the toes and the soles seem to be a little more padded than sandals. They make the foot shorter in appearance, too, a real plus for transgender wearing size 10 and above. Find a pair with a strap across the arch, and the appearance is even shorter. The heels come in a multitude of heights and shapes. The selection of rounded-toe shoes has improved over the last 3 years. Some of those showing up in fashion magazines are even downright sexy.
Many people believe high heels make the feminine physique sexier. Did you know that high heels make your derrière protrude by about 25%? That's probably where the back problems come from. This exaggerated protrusion can be an advantage for a crossdresser, given the fact that most crossdressers' buttocks are smaller than a female's. Also, a statement by one female heel enthusiast:
Because of the forced erotic shape of the shoe when wearing a high heel (Studies have shown that the shape of a woman's foot in a high heel more than resembles the shape of her leg and foot during extreme sexual arousal.), such shoes hold an interesting place in the mind of the female wearer.ˆ3
And probably more so in the mind of the male admirer.
A lower heel with a nice shape to it can be just as beneficial to the individual who doesn't need or want added height. While we are on the topic of height, what about a nice rounded-toe flat? Will this be the next avenue for the shoe fashion designers to go down? I think this is a distinct possibility. So what if our derrières don't stick out an extra 25%? If a desired look can be obtained without pain, maybe flats or even boots is a better way to go.
Perhaps attraction to the high heel is overrated. Imagine a pair stuck on Miss Piggy or Minnie Mouse. Nope, can't see any attraction there. Does the sensual appearance of the shoe transfer to the rest of the body, or is it the body that brings out the fascination of the shoe? Perhaps the look is just a small part of it. Perhaps attitude is the answer. So, throwing aside my outdated notion of wearing only heels and dainty shoes for sex appeal, I took some combat-type boots, hooked them up with a short plaid skirt, and voila--it works. I think. Here are the photos; you be the judge.
Lets face it, high heel shoes are not the most practical invention ever created. So why do they have such a dedicated following? You could say that if you have to ask, then you just don't get it. There are however, specific reasons for the attraction. It is a well known fact that wearing high heel shoes makes the foot appear smaller, elongates and slims the appearance of a womans legs, and at the same time her altered stance forces her breasts up and makes her rear end protrude 25% more. This position is also forcing the foot into a tiptoe position (the "courtship strut") which is known to be a sign of availability in several animal species. This presents signs of both availability and submissiveness due to the wearers forced attention to balance and required shorter stride. The foot is also put in an arched position that many women find is similar to during sex. The high heel shoe elevates the wearer as if they have been put on a pedestal. This gives the woman an increase in confidence not only because of several inches added to her height, but because high heels will get her significantly more attention, and even the act of putting them on will make them feel more sexy. There is an unusual balance of power and weakness in the wearing of high heels. The high heel shoe is the only object to gain the highest level of popularity in the fetish world. This is partly due to the fact that high heel shoes are like works of art in themselves, like small sleek curvy exotic sexy sculptures. They have always been in style, despite what some trendy fashion magazines may say, changing their minds every few months. Clothing items don't have the visual fetish appeal without the wearers body filling out the curves, but shoes stand on their own as coveted fetish objects. There are countless people who collect exotic high heel shoes worldwide. As a sculptor of giant and miniature high heel shoe sculptures, I find that my shoe sculptures get the most attention from the press and shoe devotees around the world. It also seems that red is by far the most popular fetish shoe color, but thats a whole different story. Bruce Grayˆ4
3 http://jennyspage.co.uk/history.htm everything you want to know about heels.
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