woman sitting on the sofa with stilettos

Stilettos – Are they Good or Bad for You?

Who can forget Carrie Bradshaw’s lively array of pointed heels on her fashionable TV show? Or the powerful red stilettos announcing Meryl Streep’s arrival in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’? From red carpets to the roadside, the stiletto is, without a doubt, the most iconic and seductive of all footwear.

The history of high, high heels

  • Ancient Egyptian murals depict heeled shoes which were worn by nobility to set them apart from the rest of society. The Greeks are credited with having invented the ‘platform’ heel with high wooden and cork soles.
  • But it is legendary French fashion designer, Roger Vivier who is credited with creating the very thin heel using a steel rod, which we all know as the stiletto.
  • Did you know that the stiletto heel takes its name from the deadly sharp stiletto dagger?

The good

  • stilettosAny shoe with a very thin and tall heel is a stiletto. The stiletto refers to the heel and not the shoe. So, for the stiletto-savvy, the sky’s the limit with the endless assortment of strappy heels, sophisticated stiletto pumps, peep-toes stilettos for parties and stiletto boots to choose from.
  • From hand-crafted, embellished velvet from Roger Vivier and Manolo Blahnik, sexy stiletto sandals from English label Jimmy Choo to the modern plastic and vinyl interpretations from D Squared2, women the world over swear by the magical power of the stiletto.
  • With a minimum 2-inch requirement, the stiletto is the best shoe if a lady (or anyone else!) wants to appear taller, slimmer and walk with an enticing sway of their hips.

The bad

  • The stiletto does indeed work magic, adding not just height but confidence to many of its stylish patrons. Unfortunately, even the most ardent shoe maven will admit that stilettos are the most painful of heels to wear, putting undue stress on both the wearer’s feet and calves.
  • Research reveals that the coveted 4-inch heel puts as much as 30% extra pressure on the foot due to the abnormal weight distribution.
  • Studies in South Korea reveal that the stiletto can change the muscle balance around the ankle joint, contributing to instability and balance issues.
  • Arthritis, circulation issues leading to spider veins, ingrown toenails, blisters and lower back pain are some of the other problems that regular users of stiletto heels struggle with.

Healthy style

  • Moderation is key when it comes to your spikes. Wear your stilettos occasionally for a party or a conference when you want to look and feel your best.
  • Don’t drink and stiletto! As amusing as it may be, statistically accidents involving stilettos and women are highest after the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol lowers their powers of concentration and balance – this leads to ankle twists, breaks and nasty falls.
  • Another insider trick which Hollywood stylists and A-list stars try is to wear a pair a size larger and use double-sided tape and in-soles to keep from slipping. This will immediately reduce the formation of blisters and in-grown toenails and reduce foot pain.
  • Elementary physics tell us that if indeed you do need a vertical or confidence boost every day, try a pair of wedges. The wedge heel is fairly uniform and adds support to the entire foot, not just the Achilles heel.
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Shibi Kumaramangalam
Shibi, like the song in ‘West Side Story’, is oh so pretty, witty and bright! Modest too, but we can discuss that later. A Chennai native (34) who now dwells in the capital, there is nothing she loves more than a good story. Except for a good handbag. A self-professed shopaholic with impeccable taste, the young women’s rights lawyer and mother was ‘discovered’ by an Indian Express editor in Chennai at a famous boutique eight years ago and she has not looked back since. Fashion writing allows her to combine her two greatest loves and Shibi has been published in The Hindu, the Indian Express, Femina, Scroll, Bodahub, Hi-Blitz Magazine and many more. A militant optimist, Shibi abhors armchair activism and suggests that everyone ‘Be the Change’ instead of complaining about Modiji. Or run for POTUS – anybody seems better qualified than Trump. She also loves animals and has orchestrated many a doggy/kitty rescue; her most fervent hope is to see the status and treatment of both animals and women improve in India and the world over. Also, she requests you to RECYCLE and to REUSE. Climate change is real, people. Jai Hind!