The heels on shoes, even small ones, alter the angle at which you stand.  This makes the body lean forward, which if you didn’t compensate for would make you fall over.

Bad Shoes

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So you realign your body to compensate in order to be able to stand on elevated heels.

This realigned shape is not good posture; you are straining almost all muscles in order to remain in this unnatural stance.

How heels make you stand

In heeled shoes you bend your knees leaning back, compensate for this by bending at the waist leaning forward, compensate for this by pushing your chest out and finally compensate for that by tilting your head back.

The alterations required to your posture are indicated by the arrows in the diagram. Your body wants to stand up straight but this is impossible in heels, so you are forced to stand with a crooked posture.

Over time this crooked posture takes its toll on your body. Knee, hip, back, neck problems.  They are all connected by an incorrect posture and every time you wear heels, you’re exacerbating them.

How heels make you feel

So why do we do this?  Well, for women wearing high heels the effect is exaggerated and easy to understand.  As the diagram shows, heals make females stick out their bum and boobs to compensate for the heels pushing them forward.  The bigger the heel, the more they have to stick things out.  This combined with the increased height makes women feel more confident and sexy.  It’s the difference between feeling like Olive Oil or Jessica Rabbit.

Of course the same perceived benefits (and actual health detriments) are also present with smaller heels, just to a lesser extent.

Barefoot Impractical

The answer isn’t to just stop wearing shoes. In the developed world, we tend to walk about on unnatural surfaces of our own creation. Although the important thing for most people will be that it’s considered socially unacceptable to go without shoes.

There is another way…

Next Section: BareshoesAre all barefoot shoes equal?…