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The Science of High Heels

The Science of High Heels

THE SCIENCE OF HEELS 

Here’s a little riddle. What article of clothing causes problems with the spine and warps the feet, but 72% of women still wear them?  Okay, okay! So it’s not a great riddle, but chances are you guessed what I’m talking about: high heels.

Even though the thought of wearing high heels for prolonged periods of time makes lots of women (myself included) cringe, hundreds of thousands of women across the country slip them on every day. Although, the little devils aren’t without their perks, it’s a well-known fact that many men perceive women in high heels to be sexier.

In a recent study by the University of Bretagne’s Social Behavior Department, Nicholas Gueguen designed a set of experiments where identically dressed women, some wearing flats and others heels, approached men and asked for their assistance. The results were pretty clear. For one of the women wearing heels, 83% of the men spent three to four minutes answering her questions. On the other hand, only 47% of them did the same when she wore flats. Many would find this usurping.

The results were slightly more interesting when researchers decided to see how women reacted to heels. To test this, several women asked both men and other women to participate in a survey. Once again, men were far more likely to agree to being surveyed by women in heels. A whopping 82% of them said yes to the high-heeled ladies. Women, however, didn’t go for it. Regardless of whether the surveyor was wearing heels or flats, they only accepted 33% of the time.

Later in the experiment, researchers decided to take it to the next level. They wanted to find out if high heels could actually make men more likely to pursue the wearers. To do this, they headed to a local bar. Because they needed to determine whether or not a woman’s shoes had any effect on the likelihood of getting picked up, they strategically placed the ladies at tables where their feet were in full view. They had set the bait, and now all they had to do was sit back and watch.

The results were in, and on average, it took men just 7.49 minutes to go up to a women wearing heels, while it took 13.54 minutes for the women wearing flats. All of the results seem to confirm that men have a tendency to gauge a woman’s attractiveness based largely on physical attributes.

Whether or not you believe high heels make a woman look sexier, it’s difficult to deny the effect they have on men. If nothing else, this info shows that whether you want to be approached or left alone, there truly is a shoe for every mood.


Deanna grew up just outside of Nashville, Tennessee and is a middle child in a big family. Currently a junior in high school, Deanna enjoys serving as president of the Student Council, competing in Future Business Leaders of America, and working on documentaries for National History Day. When she isn't studying, she loves traveling. Whether it’s trekking through jungles, reading on sunny beaches, or studying Arabic in Morocco, when adventures calls, she’s waiting to answer. After surviving her junior and senior years of high school, she plans to study medicine in college.



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