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Stiletto heels - health and safety

(74 Posts)
cassandra264 Sun 21-Mar-21 20:03:51

This issue created a lot of discussion a couple of years ago. A receptionist legally challenged her employers, who wanted to sack her for refusing to wear high stiletto heels in a job where she would be standing for most of the day. Over the years, this practice is known to cause painful foot health problems, especially later in life.

Now, following the justifiable concern over Sarah Everard's death and the safety of women generally, I feel that women,
- especially those who appear on TV and who hold down jobs where appearance is not the most important attribute - (models, singers and Strictly contestants are perhaps in a different category) should be setting a much better, more empowering - and most of all safer - example to us all of what to wear at work.

Stilettos may be fun when dressing up. I have bought them myself in the past. However, worn for most jobs, they seem to me like the 21st century equivalent of the ancient and now discredited practice of Chinese foot binding. They are designed to change the way a woman walks to make her seem more attractive to men, while making it much harder for her to escape difficult situations. Now the figures state that one in four of us has suffered harassment or assault, is it not time to question those external pressures which encourage us to present ourselves in this way? And refuse to pander to employers who say, this is the only way for our female staff to look elegant?

What do the rest of you think?

Buffybee Mon 22-Mar-21 10:47:53

I wore stiletto heels until I was about 50 years old and not because I’m short as I’m 5’6” but because I just loved them.
I must have had about twenty pairs and even wore them with jeans.
I could walk and even run in them and wish I could still wear them now but I agree that it’s not right to make someone wear them, if they don’t want to do.

FarNorth Mon 22-Mar-21 10:48:39

Apparently the very high heels worn on 'Sex and the City' were intended as a parody but they set off a craze for actually wearing such ridiculous shoes.
I agree GrandmaKT. Women who do that make themselves look ridiculous, not glamorous.

(The OP explained perfectly clearly. I'm amazed at those here who are missing the point.)

grandtanteJE65 Mon 22-Mar-21 10:58:01

But if women choose not to wear certain types of clothing or shoes because some pervert kills a woman, they will be laying themselves wide open to the accusation of turning themselves into women who need protection.

Women should be able to wear what they want when not at work, without being attacked in the streets.

Likewise dress codes at work are sensible, but it is carrying things too far to ask a woman to wear stiletto heels - we all know they are neither good for the wearer or the employer's floors.

There are high heels and high heels, A pair of shoes that fit properly should not be causing agony, although obviously your feet and legs have to become accustomed to wearing a high heel

I have worn plenty, because I wanted to - not because any man thought them sexy!

Keeper1 Mon 22-Mar-21 11:09:22

I think the analogy between foot binding and stiletto shoes is that foot binding was a view of beauty being forced onto women and the employer saying that they must be worn was their idea of what was attractive?

I used to wear them all day at work, up and down stairs to the tube and dance in them. The difference I guess is it was my choice.

Alioop Mon 22-Mar-21 11:10:01

When I started my first job in the 80s I had to wear heels, no sandals in summer with your toes out. It was in a shoe shop and couldn't understand the sandal thing at all. That's when I had no bother walking in them though, I'd be like Bambi now. I have spent so long now in flats in sure I'll even be wobbly in my wedge sandals come summer.

Moggycuddler Mon 22-Mar-21 11:12:02

I hate them. Never had a pair. They are an absurd thing - forcing feet, ankles and hips into a totally unnatural and damaging position in order to make legs appear longer and provide a "sexy" walk. I don't know why women ever did it to themselves. Well, no, I do, of course . . . to look more attractive. But still . . .

Quaver22 Mon 22-Mar-21 11:15:04

On the subject of how to dress at work, I started teaching at a large comprehensive school in 1973 where the headmaster would not allow female staff to wear trousers to work. He said that women should only wear trousers for gardening! At the time very short mini skirts were in fashion and he never objected to us wearing those!

NemosMum Mon 22-Mar-21 11:15:11

I don't think wearing stilettos has anything to do with the Sarah Everard case - she was wearing trainers when she was abducted. The main question is: why would you wear something which will ultimately cause so much damage to your feet, knees, hips and spine? If you think they make you look sexy, please remember that bunions are not generally regarded as a turn-on.

missdeke Mon 22-Mar-21 11:18:15

As a holiday rep in Turkey I had to wear heeled black or navy court shoes in temperatures which often hit 40+ degrees. When you are standing outside around pools, on the beach and anywhere else in full sun sometimes for hours on end (the airport comes to mind) then it is no joke! Oh and no sunglasses allowed either.

cassandra264 Mon 22-Mar-21 11:21:04

Thanks for all your responses. I seem to remember that high heels were first worn by aristocratic men centuries ago. They indicated wealth and power and showed that the men wearing them did not need to do manual labour.

I do know some women who now have terrible trouble with their feet - and their backs - in older age, from having been allowed to wear such shoes regularly in childhood before their feet stopped growing.

Worst of all, years ago, a former colleague of mine - who did not suffer harassment at work, it has to be said - died, having tripped and fallen down a flight of stairs wearing such shoes. She broke her neck. Yes, OK, accidents happen. But perhaps if she'd not decided to work for a company with a different dress code, things would have been different.

Lucca Mon 22-Mar-21 11:27:20

I remember seeing a young girl at a wedding being held up on both sides by relatives to allow her to walk the few paces from car to reception in her ridiculous shoes !

Bijou Mon 22-Mar-21 11:28:39

Many years ago when I had some spinal problems, I was told by the physiotherapist not to wear completely flat shoes but those with a small heel.

Purplepoppies Mon 22-Mar-21 11:29:01

I wore, by choice, high heels as a young woman. Loved them.
I can't wear them now, in fact I can't even walk in them anymore!
Nobody should be made to wear them as part of a uniform, thats ridiculous.
A nice smart shoe is fine.
As is steel toe caps for builders.
I do know Victoria Beckham and the like have Botox injections into the ball of their feet to combat the pain from constantly wearing stilleto shoes....

sandelf Mon 22-Mar-21 11:30:47

Absoutely agree Cassandra. Nasty items.

jaylucy Mon 22-Mar-21 11:43:09

Before I got married, I always wore shoes with 3 inch heels all the time - stilletos were for going out.
I can well remember the burning on the balls of my feet especially in the summer!
After my wedding I dropped down to 1-2 inches mainly because my now ex was only a couple of inches taller than me- my choice, not his!
Funnily enough, when I returned to full time work as part of our uniform, we were originally expected to wear a certain design of Clarks shoe that was a court shoe - many did, but I couldn't as it was only available in a narrow C/D fitting, I take a wider E. Whatever shoes we wore had to have a covered toe(no sandals in the summer) and have a heel no higher than 2 inches (and the manager used to measure any new ones you bought) mainly under health and safety as apparently you cause less damage to ankles if you slip over on a flatter shoe.
My son's drama teacher always wears heels that are 3-4inches (even her boots have that height in the winter) and she told me that as she has been wearing high heels since her teens, her achilles tendon has shortened so she is physically unable to put her feet flat to the floor !

effalump Mon 22-Mar-21 12:04:02

I used to love wearing high heels but for me 'high' meant 3" generally, occasionally I would go 3.5". I really don't know how women wear the ones they wear now. One thing I can say to younger women who wear them is "look after your feet and don't wear anything higher than 1.5" inches if you intend to walk or just standing for more than an hour". I'm in my 60's now and for the past 10 years or so, I've lived in trainers because I have a fallen metatarsal arch and if I wear shoes that throw me onto the balls of my feet, it feels as though I am walking on bare, broken bones. You can feel them 'crunch'. It is really painful. I now wear the 'toning' type of trainers with the thick rocker soles. Although I am not a fan of Theresa May, kitten heels may well be the way to go.

sazz1 Mon 22-Mar-21 12:09:56

High heel stiletto shoes deform the feet and cause bunions

Fernhillnana Mon 22-Mar-21 12:13:53

Never worn them. Never will. They are absurd, anachronistic deeply unflattering and dangerous. A friend was out on New Years, got out of a car on a slippy car park and went over on her ankle in her ridiculous shoes. She actually heard the bone break like a gunshot. Her ankle has never healed, she now cannot drive and will be crippled for life. I feel so sorry for her and so sad that it was really self inflicted.

Luckygirl Mon 22-Mar-21 12:22:51

They are the work of the devil!

BlueSky Mon 22-Mar-21 12:23:25

“I was glad to see Kamala Harris wearing trainers with a smart suit recently.”
GrandmaKT, let’s hope she’ll inspire other women to do the same!

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 22-Mar-21 12:28:26

Women’s clothing isn’t the problem, men who attack women are the problem.

But yes, if you are forced to wear inappropriate clothing in your workplace you should have the law behind you if you disagree, however, a lot of women like to wear ‘something different than the normal office wear’ because they feel safe in an office environment with people they work with regularly.

Blondiescot Mon 22-Mar-21 12:29:41

I'm a shorty (5'2") but I could never get on with high heels anyway - give me a nice pair of Doc Martens instead! (Clearly I wouldn't be employed by janeainsworth!)

icanhandthemback Mon 22-Mar-21 12:53:24

I love high heels and feel very glamorous in long as I don't have walk anywhere because walking like a duck isn't quite so sexy! When I was younger, I could walk in 5inch heels and wore them to work most days. However, nowadays, old, arthritic joints which sublux do not allow for this. I now wear Doc Martens, Fit Flops and Skechers. If they have memory foam insoles, even better!

Musicgirl Mon 22-Mar-21 13:15:00

Stilettos made a comeback in the eighties when l was in my late teens/early twenties. Even then l found them very uncomfortable, especially when combined with slingbacks. I have an extremely high instep so the traditional court type of shoes is not for me. I need a strap, preferably T bar, or laces and round toes. I have a beautiful pair of Hotter shoes, which are black patent leather with a strap and block heels that have a floral pattern on them. They are attractive without causing agony when worn. No one would guess that they were made by Hotter to look at them.

helen2020 Mon 22-Mar-21 13:48:50

I notice Nicola Sturgeon always wears heels and looks professional and smart