Suffering for fashion
Many believe high heels make women look good. It's no surprise that the Cannes Film Festival's organisers seem to favour having stars walking up the red carpet in them. But all this glam comes at a cost: wearing heels over 10cm high can damage your ankles.
A study by the Hanseo University in South Korea suggests that continuous wearing exposes women to the risk of strains and makes them prone to losing their balance.
A total of 40 women who wear high heels at least three times a week took part in the study. The strength of their ankles was measured regularly and two of the four main muscles became dominant after a period of between one and three years. It created an imbalance in their feet.
Dr Yong-Seok Jee from Hanseo University said that the habit of wearing heels can result in deformed feet, back pain and unhealthy walking patterns. He recommends women limit the use of these kinds of shoes and exercise their ankle muscles properly.
High heels are considered by some sexy and feminine, but ironically the fashion started with men's feet. These shoes were a form of riding footwear, and would be seen on the feet of 17th Century Persian soldiers. Elizabeth Semmelhack of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto says: "When the soldier stood up in his stirrups, the heel helped him to secure his stance so that he could shoot his bow and arrow more effectively."
Before becoming a staple of modern women's wardrobes, high heels were used by Louis XIV of France. These shoes were status symbols. Let's face it - nothing screams privilege like uncomfortable, luxurious and impractical clothing. They say the wearer doesn't have to work in fields or walk very far.
What do you think: are high heels a symbol of women's elevation in society or just something to be booted out of fashion?
to be prone (to something)
to be deformed
to boot out