Size DOES matter, darling! As a study finds heels lift your love life, how – from a perter bottom to a boost in the boardroom – the height of your heels can improve your world… one inch at a time
Women have long assured their lovers that size doesn’t matter. Yet this week, scientists ruled that a specific number of inches are key to sexual satisfaction — just not in the way you think.
A study found that wearing a pair of two-inch heels can boost a woman’s love life by helping to tone her pelvic floor.
Researchers said that shoes of this height tilt the pelvis just enough to make the muscles in the area contract, keeping them in such good shape that it may lead to more powerful contractions during orgasm.
But could your stilettos help lift more than just your love life? For, although we’ve long complained about their being uncomfortable, there are scientifically proved benefits to wearing heels — not to mention social ones.
From good posture to getting a promotion, TANITH CAREY looks at how heels could improve your life . . . inch by inch.
ONE INCH HEELS… FOR PERFECT POSTURE
If you want to hold your head high, a shoe of just under one inch high may help — as The Crown star Elizabeth Debicki demonstrates here
If you want to hold your head high, a shoe of just under one inch high may help — as The Crown star Elizabeth Debicki demonstrates here.
Physiotherapist Tim Allardyce, clinical director at Surrey Physio, says: ‘Wearing a heel under one inch high can move your centre of gravity forward, encouraging you to hold yourself more upright as you try to come back from a forward position.
‘As you elevate the heel, your centre of gravity moves forward. This means that to bring your body back to a neutral centre of gravity, you may tend to arch your back slightly and lift your posture into a more upright position.’
Footwear expert Katie Owen, of shoe company Sargasso & Grey, agrees: ‘Wearing styles with a small heel is better for your feet than wearing completely flat ones.
‘A heel will take the strain off the achilles tendon [the tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone] and will actually feel more comfortable than having no heel at all.’
TWO-INCH HEELS… FOR A SIZZLING SEX LIFE
Heels have helped make many women feel sexier and, it seems, that translates into physical benefits, too.
Researchers at Shanghai’s Fudan University, quizzed 1,263 women about the height of the heels they wore — from under one inch to more than three inches.
They found that those who wore two-inch-high shoes tilted their pelvis just enough to make the muscles there contract, keeping them in better shape and likely to contract more strongly during orgasm.
But it’s not just your sex life that can be improved with a pair of two-inch heels.
Four in ten British women struggle with bladder control. And a study published this summer in the journal Translational Andrology And Urology reported that two-inch heel shoes are just the right height to keep a woman well balanced and also to strengthen the muscle fibres in the area.
‘Wearing shoes [like this] for more than eight hours per day was protective for the pelvic floor function of women,’ they explained.
In turn, this could support the muscles that open and close the urethra — the tube that runs from the bladder to outside of the body — helping to prevent leaks.
However, the researchers did add that it was important that the heel width of the shoes should be around three centimeters wide, in order to keep the wearer’s body centred.
…AND A SHAPELY CALF
Two-inch high shoes, like these worn by Lily-Rose Depp, may tilt your legs at such an angle they make your calf muscles work harder — and even make them firmer.
Two-inch high shoes, like these worn by Lily-Rose Depp, may tilt your legs at such an angle they make your calf muscles work harder — and even make them firmer
‘An added benefit of heels is that they can help tone your important leg muscles,’ says Mr Kumar Kunasingam, consultant orthopaedic surgeon of the schoen-clinic.co.uk.
‘High heels do augment and build muscular calves as women become used to walking and effectively balancing themselves with the added height.
‘The toning effect can reach the calves, hamstrings and even glutes, as shoe heels effectively tilt us naturally forwards as we place them on our feet.
‘The wearer then has to work to keep upright by slightly leaning backwards to stand straight and walk forward.’
Podiatrist Simone Paul, of The Third Space Medical, says heels can improve circulation in the legs, too. ‘Two-inch heels activate the calf muscle, which is good for circulatory flow to the feet and legs, as well as providing arch support [in the foot].’
As one of our most respected business women, and the founder of the 30% Club to improve gender balance in the boardroom, Dame Helena Morrissey knows how to dress for success.
While some may claim it’s anti-feminist for women to wear heels in the workplace in this day and age, Dame Helena has always been a keen advocate of them.
‘I’m not embarrassed to admit I wear high heels because I feel more powerful in them,’ explains Helena, author of new book Style And Substance.
While she says there is no exact ‘ideal’ height, her preferred heel is a bit over three inches — taking her up to an impressive 5 ft 10 in.
And it would seem that scientists agree. In fact, when given digitally lengthened and shortened pictures of females, both men and women judge a tall female as more intelligent, assertive, independent and ambitious, a study by the University of Liverpool found.
Helena adds: ‘I don’t think there is a single ‘ideal’ for all women in business — the ideal is what makes a specific woman feel at her best, most authoritative, most confident, most impactful.
‘Personally, I like the extra height that heels bestow and the fact that they help me feel more confident — and improve my posture. I stand up straighter, hold my shoulders better.’
While some may claim it’s anti-feminist for women to wear heels in the workplace in this day and age, Dame Helena Morrissey has always been a keen advocate of them.
According to America’s Brigham Young University, this heel height also makes a woman more careful about spending cash, too.
Researchers found that the heightened sense of balance means women in higher heels are more likely to weigh up their options and buy a product that’s better value, according to a study for the Journal Of Marketing Research.
Marketing professor Jeffrey Larson says the study shows how physical feelings can affect the decisions we make, adding: ‘If you’re someone who tends to overspend, or you’re kind of an extreme person, then maybe you ought to consider shopping in high heels.’
THREE-AND-A-HALF-INCH HEELS… FOR A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR
Lily James pictured in 2016 in Toronto
There’s something about a woman in heels that makes men more chivalrous — just ask Lily James.
A study in The Archives Of Sexual Behaviour found if a woman dropped a glove in the street while wearing flat shoes, it was picked up and returned by men 60 per cent of the time. Yet if she wore heels over 3.5 in high, men returned the glove 95 per cent of the time. It may be that high heels make a woman appear vulnerable, more feminine and in need of assistance.
Heels don’t make females totally helpless, though.
Researchers at Portsmouth University found that an average woman wearing heels actually walks faster, taking 110 steps a minute, compared to 106 steps in flat shoes.
FOUR-INCH HEELS… FOR A PERKY DERRIERE
Who needs to spend hours doing squats in the gym when you’ve got a pair of killer heels, as Scarlett Johansson demonstrates.
In heels, the pressure on the front of the foot rises from 30 lb per square inch to as much as 240 lb.
This tipping serves to push the body forward, forcing the muscles in the calves, thighs and ultimately buttocks to work harder to help keep the wearer upright, according to a University of Indiana study.
Who needs to spend hours doing squats in the gym when you’ve got a pair of killer heels, as Scarlett Johansson demonstrates
And the higher the heel, the more the bottom has to tense to stay upright, with a four-inch heel doing the most to mimic the look of a toned behind.
‘As soon as your toes are forced forward, your body leans forwards and your calf and buttocks start to tense up to oppose that force,’ explains podiatrist Christophe Champs, of PODO London.
‘The glutes look more toned because they are trying to hold you back.’ However, he adds: ‘It’s only a temporary effect because you are not building muscle.’
P.S: STICK TO FLATS FOR BEAUTIFUL FEET…
While heels may make your body look slimmer and more elegant, unfortunately prolonged wear won’t do the same for your feet.
This is because the pressure put on the ball of the foot increases with the height of the heel.
This forces the delicate foot bones into a narrow space, and they form claw toes.
Flat shoe wearers, such as Anya Taylor Joy, are also spared the most common and unsightly foot problem known as hallux valgus or bunions.
This is when regularly forcing the foot into a triangular shoe shape under pressure tilts the big toe over towards the smaller toes and a bony lump appears at the base of the outer joint.
Studies estimate about 30 pc of women suffer with bunions, particularly those who wear high heels for long periods for work.
Flatshoe wearers, such as Anya Taylor Joy, are also spared the most common and unsightly foot problem known as hallux valgus or bunions
High heels pave my way to good sex!
BY ROSIE MILLARD FOR THE DAILY MAIL
There is nothing quite like wearing heels. And however much fashion editors or wildly tall women such as Carla Bruni might try to suggest flats should replace them in women’s affections, we all know that’s rubbish.
When I was a child in the 1970s, I remember my headmistress ringing my mother, a doctor, begging her to write some learned tract for her to use in assembly about how platform heels may ruin the ‘organs’ of girls.
My mother laughed her head off. ‘They might ruin your back but that’s it,’ she said.
There is no question high heels have a sexual alchemy which is irresistible. Even though they can be painful. Particularly now. After two years of lockdown, my feet aren’t used to being in heels. Not that I care.
ROSIE MILLARD: ‘Heels make you feel desirable. The fact my new husband is almost a foot taller than me — he’s 6ft 7in — also means that if I wear flat shoes he is breathing a different atmosphere’
Yes, I will be reawakening my relationship with the chiropodist. Yes, it will be brutal.
Yes, it may involve laddered tights, pedicures, blister plasters or those metatarsal pads for the balls of your feet.
But, oh, how wonderful it is to whip on those leg-lengthening, curve enhancing, sexy accoutrements once more.
They make clothes instantly look better. And, believe me, the best ones are designed so you can actually run for the bus.
I write this as a marathon runner who has had about as many running shoes as heels.
At my wedding day this year, I was going to sport a pair of sensible heels (in other words, dowdy) until the day dawned and my Best Lady Alison and I realised they would not do.
‘Put these on,’ ordered Alison, holding a pair of 4in beauties. ‘They are so much sexier, don’t think about the pain.’
She was right. Heels make you feel desirable. The fact my new husband is almost a foot taller than me — he’s 6ft 7in — also means that if I wear flat shoes he is breathing a different atmosphere.
Are they the key to sexual fulfilment? Well, they might pave the way. In a sometimes uncomfortable but always gorgeous manner.
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