Bright Side

Why Thousands of Women Are Giving Up On High Heels and Putting On Sneakers

In Medieval Asia, there was a “cute” tradition of wrapping girls’ feet in tight bandages to stop the growth of their feet. This lead to thousands of different injuries and health issues. Do you think that anything has changed since then? Employers often require women to spend at least 5 days a week wearing shoes that deform their feet. Yes, we are talking about high-heeled shoes. But the good thing is that today, women are pretty much ready to give up on wearing high heels and go to the office or to a social event wearing sneakers.

We at Bright Side tried to find out what is happening to the modern shoe dress code right now. And you know what? We’ve found something interesting.

Are women against high heels?

First and foremost, women have stopped agreeing to deform and injure their feet just to conform with society’s beauty standards.

Recently, the Japanese internet campaign #KuToo shook the world population. Women from Japan made demands from their employers to let them wear comfortable sneakers and flats to the office.

The KuToo name is an intended pun — the combination of the name of the popular movement #MeToo and Japanese words kutsu (shoes), and kutsuu (pain).

Even Hollywood stars are willing to get rid of uncomfortable high heels.

Actresses that are supposed to walk on the Red Carpet in super high heels are also ready to tell everyone that they feel pain and discomfort. So, during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Kristen Stewart took off her shoes right in front of some really amazed photographers.

Actresses Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph got rid of their high-heeled shoes too. During the 2018 Oscar ceremony, when they were supposed to name the winner of the Best Short Film nomination, Tiffany and Maya went on the stage with their own high-heeled shoes in their hands. One of the women was barefoot and the other was wearing slippers.

And doctors are actually supporting these rebellious women.

Doctors keep reminding women that wearing high heels often leads to really serious health issues. The unnatural foot position causes the center of gravity to shift, the front part of the foot carries more weight, and the muscles become really strained. As a result, women are more prone to arthritis, arthrosis, swelling, flat feet, and varicose veins, and also experience serious problems with their back.

For those who are not yet ready to give up on wearing their favorite heels, doctors recommend:

  • Choose shoes with a thick heel: these shoes are somewhat better at distributing the weight and they reduce the risk of an ankle sprain.
  • Avoid the narrow tips that squeeze and deform the toes.
  • Choose the right size shoes in order to prevent the feet from sliding back and forth (this friction causes calluses and other wounds that can bleed).
  • Do exercises to strengthen the muscles of the ankles and the shins (for example, you can try to keep balanced on each leg for 30 seconds).

The sales of sporty shoes are increasing.

It appears that the sneaker business is booming. In 2014, the Nike company earned more than $16 billion by selling athletic shoes, and Adidas earned more than $8 billion. In 2018, the same companies earned $22 and $12 billion, respectively.

At the same time, sales of high-heeled shoes are dropping: in just 2017 alone, they dropped by 11%.

A lot of this is caused by the fact that more and more women are changing their attitude toward comfort. And the dress code is changing a lot right now. If before, wearing sneakers with a light summer dress was considered bad taste, today this look is believed to be ultra-trendy.

What caused a modern boost in the popularity of sneakers?

The work of marketers plays a big role here. They taught us to look at sneakers, not the way we see regular shoes, but as if sneakers were a piece of art. As a result, the world has got some very comfortable shoes that are mass-produced, while keeping feel and comfort in mind. They look good and feel great.

There are sneakers that are connected with underground and sub-cultures. There are sneakers that were dedicated to memorable events (for example, the Olympic Games in London). And in spring 2019, Adidas released a series of Game of Thrones sneakers because the show was coming to an end. Now, fans can easily buy models like the House Lannister or House Targaryen.

Sneakers as a lifestyle

Classic white, some that go well with your hair or nail color, a thick sole, with holes, with bands, with suede on top... Nowadays, you can buy pretty much anything you want.

But, of course, there are special exclusive models that collectors look for (yes, there are people who look for unusual or really trendy sneakers). They patiently wait for the new release of a certain series, unite in closed communities, and take part in exhibitions like Sneakercon.

Some people have been fans of collecting sneakers for several years and they have huge collections that are worth as much as $500,000.

So, what will win — high heels or sneakers?

Good news for regular customers: shoes are going to become more and more comfortable and eco-friendly. Since 2012, the knitted sneakers that were made before the Olympic Games in London have been popular. The top part of these sneakers is made of a piece of knitted material.

Another fast-developing direction in shoe production is 3D-printing. Today, it is already possible to create shoes or sneakers that fit your foot perfectly.

It is very likely that uncomfortable high heels will be a thing of the past, in the future and they are unlikely to completely disappear from runways. Recently, designer Iris van Herpen presented unique crystal shoes at Paris Fashion Week. They were not only 3D-printed but also laser-cut.

And what do you prefer to wear — beautiful high-heeled shoes or comfortable sneakers?

Preview photo credit dr.footwalking / instagram