A Shoe Revolution

Why Victoria Beckham Quit High Heels

Esther Chung

In past years, Victoria Beckham was never seen without a pair of heels on her feet. However, this March, she dropped a bombshell revelation, shocking the fashion world by announcing she would no longer be wearing her signature high heels. Beckham tells The Telegraph, “I just can’t do heels any more. At least not when I’m working.”

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We will no longer be seeing Victoria Beckham in her signature high heels. Photo Courtesy of Leserkeis

Although surprising, she is not the first celebrity to ditch heels. Influential people like Alexa Chung and Kim Kardashian have traded in their stilettos for more comfortable and healthy alternatives. So, what is the basis for this radical switch made by so many celebrities? And must all high heel wearers do the same?

Heels are one of the most popular shoe choices for women of all ages, all around the world. Often dubbed the universally flattering shoe, people everywhere love high heels for many reasons.

However, many of these people often do not know the adverse effects these shoes can have on  the body. Emma Supple, inventor of Supple Arches and podiatrist at a family chiropody and podiatry clinic in London, warns against wearing high heels too often, noting that “shortening of the heel cord complex is one of the most noticeable effects.” In other words, the heel cord, otherwise known as the Achilles tendon, shortens with frequent wearing of high heels. This shortening makes it painful to walk on flat ground or wear flat shoes. This problem causes great discomfort, but luckily, it is reversible, according to Supple. For those with a shortened Achilles tendon, stretches and physical therapy are two ways to get back on one’s feet (no pun intended). In severe cases, however, surgery is the only solution.

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The indicated area shows the location of the Achilles tendon. Photo Courtesy of Pexels

Although Achilles tendon shortening is the most common consequence of wearing high heels, Supple says heels can potentially cause “all the foot problems you can think of and more.” This long list includes: damaged nails, hardened skin, bunions, and changes in foot shape  and function. Worse yet, those who wear heels often end up with knee and hip problems later in their lives. While many of these complications are minor or curable, they are definitely things one is better off not dealing with. But must all people stop wearing high heels? The answer is no. Supple says she is one of many podiatrists who “work to keep people in their heels in comfort.” Although it may be best if it is not an everyday thing, wearing high heels (in moderation) is acceptable, especially when paired with shoe inserts that help take stress off of the wearer’s feet. Some examples of products that help minimize damage to the foot are arch supports, insoles, and gel patches for specific parts of the shoe.

Whether an individual wears heels often or just on special occasions, it is important to remember the risks that come with them, so future complications can be avoided. Daily high heel wear is not recommended, and it is advised that shoe inserts be used to minimize stress to the feet. Even if one chooses not to ditch high heels completely, it is always a good idea to have a pair of spare flats on hand. Ultimately, it comes down to common sense—when feet start hurting, it’s time for those heels to come off.