Women at pains to wear heels

Vanity knows no pain, it seems, with seven out of 10 Irish women wearing high heels even if they hurt.

And Irish women are ahead of their European counterparts when it comes to suffering for their high heels.

A study published yesterday found that almost three-quarters (72%) of Irish women will wear high heels even if they cause pain or discomfort.

Another study revealed that 68% of Danish women will wear heels even if they hurt. Germany and Britain tied at 58%, followed by France on 53% and Spain on 48%.

Last month, stiletto supremo Christian Louboutin acknowledged his heels were not designed with women’s comfort in mind.

“High heels are pleasure with pain,” he was reported as saying. “If you can’t walk in them, don’t wear them.”

He later said: “I try to make high heels as comfortable as they can be, but my priority is design, beauty, and sexiness. I’m not against them, but comfort is not my focus.”

The Irish study of just over 1,000 women, commissioned by Compeed, found that wearing heels makes women feel feminine (67%), sexy (53%), and confident (51%).

However, two-thirds of Irish women admitted they had got blisters and suffered excessive pressure on the balls of their feet from wearing high heels.

More than half of the women admitted buying three or more pairs of shoes that they have only worn once or twice because they hurt their feet.

Podiatrist Veronica Daniels said it was worrying that Irish women were willing to wear shoes that damage their feet.

“Prevention and early treatment of problems are key to preventing long term damage,” she said.

“At this time of year, for example, women tend to wear shoes without tights or socks, so they need to be particularly careful of the potential damage that can result from the friction of the shoe or sandal against the bare foot.”

Ms Daniels said women needed to spend more time choosing their shoes and buy shoes that are the correct size.

“Always walk up and down the shop three or four times and think about how your feet feel in the shoes you are trying on,” said Ms Daniels.

An Australian study published earlier this year found that women who regularly wore heels were doing their calf muscles permanent damage.

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists in Britain has warned that high heels are a high risk for getting arthritis.


Kevin O’Hanrahan, clinical psychologist, HSEWorking life: HSE clinical psychologist Kevin O’Hanrahan

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