Check out my quotes about high heels in this article in the Times-Picayune today!

Pretty dangerous: shoes come under scrutiny for their potential to damage feet
By Susan Langenhennig, The Times-Picayune
May 24, 2010, 5:00AM
Cigarettes, once upon a time, were thought of as a glamorous addiction. Today, they come with a health warning.

Could it be that certain shoes may one day face a similar fate? Leora Tanenbaum hopes so.

“In all seriousness, I suggest that pointy-toed, high-heeled shoes should come with a warning printed on the shoe box,” said Tanenbaum, author of the new book, “Bad Shoes and the Women Who Love Them” (Seven Stories Press, May 2010). “These shoes are a health hazard. Wearing them for prolonged periods on a regular basis may lead to deformity, pain and ugly feet. Your Achilles tendons may shorten, making it impossible to wear flats even if you want to. Wear with caution.”

Over the past few years, shoes — those things that humans have laced up, slipped into and strapped on for centuries — are coming under new scrutiny for their potential to do us bodily harm.

Tanenbaum’s focus is primarily on those towering, platform, high-heeled torture chambers that have been all the rage for the past five years or so — think Christian Louboutin’s red-soled beauties or just about any pair of shoes worn by Victoria Beckham.

But more innocent-appearing footwear, the kind we turn to when our feet ache — ballet flats, flip-flops, even running shoes — also have come under assault.
Tanenbaum’s book — an amusing as well as eye-opening read that traces women’s abuse of their feet all the way back to biblical times — cites a litany of medical research about the unpleasant and downright ugly dangers of wearing heels higher than 2-1/2 inches. Corns and callouses are mild compared to bunions, bloody blisters, hammer toes and plantar fasciitis (inflammation on the bottom of the feet).

But skyscraper heels may not be the only offenders. A study published in December found that some running shoes can put more strain on joints than a pair of stilettos. Ugg boots and flip-flops also have been cited by the American Podiatric Medical Society for their lack of support, potentially leading to sprained ankles and ligament injuries.

Dr. Casey Kerrigan, a specialist in biomechanics and human gait, examined 68 subjects running on a treadmill both barefoot and wearing running shoes. The shoes increased the torque — or twisting — of joints by more than 30 percent, more than the torque increase typically shown in women wearing high heels.

The study has added fuel to a micro-trend of joggers, walkers and even marathoners forsaking footwear all together and opting instead to go barefoot when they hit the track.
So what’s up with all this focus on the feet?
Dr. Kathleen Stone, president of the American Podiatric Medical Association and a podiatrist in Glendale, Ariz., attributes it to the “aging of the active baby boomers. This is the generation that is coming into more middle age and still attempting to do things and stay physically fit and now their feet are hurting, and they’re asking questions. It’s part of the aging process. The joints and, in particular, the feet take so much abuse.”
Americans’ obsession with wellness also has trickled down to our toes, said Meghan Cleary, author of “The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You,” and a frequent TV commentator and blogger about footwear and fashion.
“Shoes have always been an interesting indicator of what’s going on in society,” she said. “Right now there’s a real focus on wellness across the board, and that’s leading to the attention on shoes.”
Cleary pointed to the growing genre of footwear designed to give legs a workout while you’re walking, such as Reebok Easy Tone, Skechers Shape Ups, FitFlops and MBTs.
“They’ve become best-sellers,” she said of the various tone-up trainers. “What’s interesting is that FitFlops specifically put you off balance so your muscles work harder. Basically the same thing happens when you wear stilettos. They force you to pull in on your stomach and you use your legs in a different way.”
Heel heights also have been inching skyward over the past decade. Today, it’s common to see professionals in business suits hobbling to work on 3- and 4-inch heels. Such footwear once was the exclusive style for women who worked not in offices, but in strip clubs and on street corners.
Christian Louboutin, the shoe designer beloved by Carrie Bradshaw acolytes everywhere, gets some of the credit for starting this trend, with his Hyper Prive wrapped platform pumps.
“Louboutin changed the shoe landscape,” Cleary said. “When he introduced five-inch stilettos, all hell broke loose. Other designers started going higher and higher.”

With shoes like these, the first jolt of pain may come from the steep designer price tag.
After that, it could be the toes or the heels that start to ache.

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