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Good News about High Heels: They Build Muscle

Updated on May 18, 2007


High heels sure to get a bad rap! Known to many as an "ergonomics nightmare", they are a fashion accessory many women just won't go without (including myself!) As a runner I have read the articles warning about back problems, leg problems, joint problems, feet problems, ect! But yet I still put them on each morning for work. So I will thrilled when I recently read an article which gave me some GREAT news! High heels aren't all bad.

I recent study of high heels and the muscles they affect revealed that heels actually help build strong calf muscles (great news for runners and bikers). The angle of the foot causes your calf to work harder (think of it like doing heel rises all day long, you are working the same muscles). Finally some good news about my favorite blue peep-toes! Of course there are still drawbacks to heels, so follow the do and don't below to get the most calf-building heels with the least ergonomic problems.

What to look for:

  • A wider heel- try to find a heel the diameter of a quarter.
  • A shorter heel- try to keep it to 3 inches or under.
  • Supportive souls- make sure the shoe has good support for the ball of you foot and your arch.
  • Comfort- they are lots, and lots, and lots of shoes our there, find a pair that is comfortable for you, you don't have to "sacrifice fashion" as they say, you just need to shop around more.

What to stay away from:

  • Skinny heels- try to avoid any heel smaller than a nickel in diameter.
  • Tall heels- heels over 3 inches start to cause problems because the bed is outweighing the good. Even though you are using your calf muscles, you are putting a large amount of stain and pressure on your back and legs. (Not to mention a fall from that high could hurt!)
  • Little or no support- Cheaply made shoes are going to offer little or no support, which will lead to back and leg pain
  • Fashion over comfort- That saying "pain is beauty"- erase it from your mind! That saying was for when woman were squeeze themselves into corsets! We don't wear them anymore and nor do we have to wear uncomfortable shoes- there are lots of options out there, and shoes are being made better than ever, so find a pair that fits right and feels good, and if it doesn't- no biggy, keep shopping!


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    Jessica 10 years ago

    I couldn't agree more. I wear heels all day every day, between 4" and about 5" usually, and am always complimented on how shapley my legs are.