Hong Kong is a city made for high heels. The women are petite, the clubs are bursting at the seams every night of the week, you don’t have to walk too far or climb stairs because there are escalators and taxis everywhere, and there is a Louboutin (or similar) boutique on every corner.
Being taller than the average western male, I frequently get stares from Hong Kong’s petite, male and female alike. Stares at my feet that is, as in [looking down] Whaa? She’s that tall and she’s not even wearing heels!?
Heels are such a part of the culture here that I have had people ask me why I’m wearing flats mid-week (didn’t I know, flats are for Fridays?), and how I could consider wearing flats with a dress or skirt (didn’t I know, flats are for jeans?). I don’t need the extra height so I tend to avoid heels, but I will say the city must be changing me a bit because when the Nine West near my office had pumps on sale, I couldn’t resist and bought 4 (four!) pairs.
But, an article from the New York Times has sadly reaffirmed what you (and I) probably already new about wearing heels:
…women habituated to high heels walked differently from those who usually wore flats, even when the heel wearers went barefoot… heel wearers moved with shorter, more forceful strides than the control group, their feet perpetually in a flexed, toes-pointed position… As a result, the fibers in their calf muscles had shortened and they put much greater mechanical strain on their calf muscles than the control group did.
So what’s the risk of this strain?
…the large muscle strains that occur when walking in heels may ultimately increase the likelihood of strain injuries…The risks extend to workouts, when heel wearers abruptly switch to sneakers or other flat shoes. “In a person who wears heels most of her working week,” Dr. Cronin says, the foot and leg positioning in heels “becomes the new default position for the joints and the structures within. Any change to this default setting,” he says, like pulling on Keds or Crocs, constitutes “a novel environment, which could increase injury risk.”
No surprises here, ladies. Just a good reminder to try to wear flats a few days every week.
You can read the New York Times article here.
Heels or flats? Do you think wearing flats has changed the way you walk?