back to article Official science: High heels make you sexy

However uncomfortable, overly expensive and impractical killer heels may be, think again before ditching them for your next night out: new science has proved high-heeled shoes definitely make women look sexy. In the same year CERN boffins found the Higgs Boson in a gigantic underground particle accelerator, an academic study …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. jake Silver badge

    Personally, as a degreed mechanical engineer ...

    ... I find the entire concept disgusting.

    So-called "naughty knickers" work, in context, when applied appropriately ... but heels, fagetaboutit ... too much room for error. I don't find potential permanent damage to my wife's lower extremities attractive. At all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personally, as a degreed mechanical engineer ...

      You sound more like an Uggs man

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You sound more like an Uggs man

        Sure that must constitute a contradiction in terms

      2. jake Silver badge

        Ug. No, not Uggs. Ariats. (was: Re: Personally, as a degreed mechanical engineer ...)

        We run a profitable horse ranch. Proper footwear is important.

        However, personally, after all these years, I still prefer her sky-clad :-)

    2. Mips

      Re: Personally, as a degreed mechanical engineer ...

      "Brainiacs" ? Hey com'on this is Portsmouth we are talking about. You can't be serious, anything in a skirt looks good in Pompy.

  2. Da Weezil
    Paris Hilton


    Seriously.... people get paid for this stuff? I'm In the wrong job!!!!

    Paris - the conclusion is so obvious its laughable.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Really?????

      Exactly. What a waste of time. Plus isn't it a subjective outcome? Dependant on the man placing a priority on the traits that are enhanced. Not to mention that high heels are unlikely to help a DTS pull.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Really?????

        They didn't only test how men viewed the wearers of high heels, they used both male and females to view and mark the videos.

        Now what I want to know is how they can use point light analysis to prove that adding seamed stockings to the high heels further enhances the effect.

        1. Bleu

          Re: Really?????

          ... seamed stockings and a bow just on the ankle line, works on me, although the last pair I had are too laddered to wear now.

          The tragic types who wear high heels to conceal short legs and stalk about leaning forward, all too common where I'm from, ugh!

          Crap `study' but lots of interesting comments from commentards! Not tech, but nice to see.

      2. Annihilator

        Re: Really?????

        "What a waste of time."

        Consider why it was published:

        1) it was part of a study of human behaviour, these sorts of things are useful to know in evolutionary studies

        2) (most likely) it's a good advertisement for Portsmouth Uni, coincidentally 2 weeks before admission deadlines close (15th Jan), particularly for the Sports & Exercise Science course starting in September.

        3) (less likely, but plausible), it's not uncommon for sponsored research work. Wouldn't be at all surprised if I saw Schuh or similar quoting the results.

        But of the likeliest options, I'd go with 2, with a mixture of 1.

    2. Graham Marsden

      Re: Really?????

      Yeah, but heels don't work in isolation.

      The University of Portsmouth could have researched the negative sex-appeal involved in poor choices of clothing, make-up or the lack of intelligence by going down Guildhall Walk or South Parade on a Friday night...!

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Really?????

        heels don't work in isolation

        All I'm going to say is that you may want to rethink that statement :)

    3. theblackhand
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Really?????

      Re: Seriously.... people get paid for this stuff?

      I think you're underestimating the effort required to produce this report.

      Spending 2-3 nights a week in bars watching woman in high heels and fending off bouncers is harder than it appears when you have to do it week in and week out for the duration of the study.

      And the beer doesn't drink itself...

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I'm now officially puzzled

    I may be wrong but I seem to recall some research a few years ago that said ladies who "seductively gyrate and swing their hips" while walking are in fact at their least fertile and therefore don't need to "look sexy".

    PS Mrs Coat has some 6 inch heels that look rather pleasant.

  4. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    I disagree, it's the legs not the shoes

    I live in a country where flip-flops ar de rigeur, and heels are used only for special occasions, and I can assure you from years of visual research, studying legs on motorcycles, that it is the shape of the leg that matters.

    A leg without a well defined ankle, even if shod in a pair of heels, looks like sh*t.

    So stuff your science and study the form.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I disagree, it's the legs not the shoes

      Wearing High Heels changes the shape of the Calf. The muscles become more defined and the overall proportions improve (IMHO).

      As a male who sometimes wears heels (to please Mrs A/C I can assure you) I know the above from firsthand. It is not only men who appreciate the shape of womens legs & heels. Mrs A/C does as well. However there is (in our opinions) an optimum height of heel for each person. For a small person, 6in heels look silly and even cartoonish. However for a tall person (over 6ft) they don't yet there is a lot of pressure for tall women to wear flats so they don't appear taller than their partner. Well that might not be true for a certain Mr B Ecclestone (of F1). Many Men are so fickle aren't they? (Mrs A/C is taller than me in bare feet and I don't care)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: relative heel height

        The choice of heel height is probably more to do with foot size.

        A lady with small delicate feet can not wear a 6" heel without a hideously thick platform sole, if they were to try they'd need to on point like a ballerina. More statuesque ladies are more likely to have longer feet, just as they are likely to have longer legs and everything else, so a greater fall can be accommodated in their foot wear.

        In terms of attractiveness, then practising in one's heels is most important. If ladies wear higher heels than they can comfortably cope with then they loose all poise and end up walking like some mutant wading bird, which alas is not in the slightest bit seemly.

        1. stanimir

          Re: relative heel height

          While the science is from the funny type there article clearly says 6cm, not 6 inches.

          6cm is acceptable for most grown up females and not so torturing as 6".

          1. xyz Silver badge

            Re: relative heel height

            No you got the conversion wrong due to a reference frame error. 6 women centimeters = 6 man inches and any woman who tells you 6cm is accepatble is being kind to you.

            1. stanimir

              6cm is accepatble

              @xyz, nice one :).

              I clearly recall a girl saying that 6cm is enough and the rest is just greed however I can also vouch that women like it bigger for pure aesthetic pleasure.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: relative heel height

            "torturing as 6 inch"

            Depends on the wearer. I know a few who practically live in 5", but they are former ballerinas and if they walk during the summertimes in heels and skirt the risk of road accidents goes up dramatically (they're also the few that I know that can walk gracefully on 6" - don't ask me how they manage but it looks delicious).

            It's a simple fact that not everyone can walk on such heels.

            1. stanimir

              Re: relative heel height

              My girlfriend wears some 5" (11cm actually) at work (office, no she is not a dancer) but walking on high stilettos takes flat surface. Pavement and the likes are the torture.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: says 6cm, not 6 inches.

            I thought the ladies said 6 inches was the opening bid, and anyone offering 6cm would be laughed at by everyone in the room.

      2. FreeTard
        Thumb Up

        Re: I disagree, it's the legs not the shoes

        Cannot believe some eejit gave you a thumbs down. So what if your missus likes you in heels, if you get more sex out it job done. Thumbs up from me mate.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I disagree, it's the gait.

        Agreed. As an occasional crossdresser, wearing a moderate amount of heel is an important component of misdirection (i.e. making other people not notice I'm not actually a woman). Not only is the body shape when standing altered, you have to rotate your hips and keep a better upper body balance to avoid falling over when walking. It may or may not be "sexy", but it certainly prevents the typical masculine stompiness.

        But it doesn't need a published study to tell us this. Suggest it's a slow news day, so filling space with a pre-written press release/article from the University of the Bleeding Obvious.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I disagree, it's the gait.

          > making other people not notice I'm not actually a woman

          You think?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I disagree, it's the gait.

            I get some nice comments from my female friends about how good my legs look in heels. Mrs A/C (From above) agrees but makes sure she is the only one wearing heels in Public (most of the time).

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Size fish heel

        In terms of heel "rating" the heel height is based on a standard shoe size (I think it's something 6 in the USA, so UK 4) so the shape of the foot should actually be consistent in the same model of shoe in all sizes. So, yes, I'd expect a difference with actual heel height, but not in the same make of shoe.

        I think a 5" rated heel is my personal taste limit. 3 1/2" rated heel is my wife's walking limit. 2" rated heel is now my wife's limit to wear them for an extended period.

        I don't know how I'd have answered the test since they didn't see the actual shoe. Chunky heels do less than nothing for me, while sculpted stiletto heels do way too much.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I disagree, it's the legs not the shoes

        It's that change to the shape and definition of the calf that makes me prefer seeing women in flat shoes (or bare feet) --- I know the calf I'm seeing is the real thing, and not a trick!

    2. Bleu

      Re: I disagree, it's the legs not the shoes

      There is a pottery shard from ancient Greecd bearing the words `I hate a woman thick about the ankles'. Since reding it the first time, always had resonance here.

    3. I think so I am?

      Re: I disagree, it's the legs not the shoes

      "de rigUeur"

  5. Dave Bell

    Circular reasoning?

    I just wonder how it is that the particular gait came to be seen as sexy in the first place.

    It's possible that the exaggerated hip movements can be traced back to apes, but I think it's a stretch. I think modern culture has a huge amount of invented sexual signalling, depending on the movies, and stage performance before that, and a lot of it is essentially a caricature. We're being presented with a world of sexual availabilily signalled by high heels and breast implants. For the stage, at least, there was always exaggeration of body and facial language.

    1. Bush_rat

      Re: Circular reasoning?

      I believe heels became sexy round the same time London was flooding with shit and other undesirables on roads during the 1800's. They were practacle back then to keep crap from tarnishing your dress. Rich women wore them, people wanted to be rich or be with rich people.

      Of course I could be completely batshit wrong about this. Here's a Wikipedia article for those interested enough to keep reading, but not interested enough to find material on the subject.

      1. Kubla Cant

        Re: Circular reasoning?

        The problem with this hypothesis is that high heels only keep the heel out of the muck. AFAIK the usual footwear for staying above wet and muck was the patten - a kind of overshoe that raises the whole foot.

        I'm sure rich women didn't wear special footwear to keep their skirts clean. Part of the point of extravagant dress such as long skirts is to show that you're rich enough to have somebody else to clean your clothes and rich enough not to be very bothered about replacing them. Lord Byron apparently wore white linen trousers that he threw away after one wearing. I bet his lady friends were even more extravagant.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Circular reasoning?

      @Dave Bell

      Absolutely. The researchers also made that point.

      "There is a strong contemporary association between high heels and female sexuality."

    3. skeptical i

      exaggerated gait, aura of helplessness [was: Circular reasoning?]

      Some theories I've heard (not that I've researched the subject in depth, mind) are the exaggeration of curves (hip sway when walking, butt lifted up a bit, calf muscles stand out more), and the idea that whoever is wearing them is vulnerable -- less easy to get away, on less steady footing than if wearing trucker boots, et cetera. Given that once upon a time high-born gentlemen wore high heels and would certainly not have done so if they thought such shoes projected an aura of helplessness, I have questions about the second theory but given some of the batshit crazy heels I've seen some bimbos tottering around in I can't dismiss it outright.

      <-- I believe some of our favorite historical pirates were not adverse to a bit of heel on their boots, yarrrr!

      1. Hollerith 1

        Re: exaggerated gait, aura of helplessness [was: Circular reasoning?]

        Men wearing higher heels in 1600s and 1700s were telling the world (1) they did not need to walk far 920 they did not need to work. Gentlemen wore heels.

        Woemn wear heels partly to show they are vulnerable: being weaker is part of the concept of femininity. Most 'sexy' outfits emphasise this. One of the reasons women were hobbled for had their feet bound was to make them helpless.

    4. Grave

      Re: Circular reasoning?

      decades of targeted social conditioning and subliminal media brainwashing

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just as well you qualified it (Ladies)

    otherwise I would have been tempted to give it a go.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just true

    Very old indeed, but many years ago there was this assumption that intelligent women use lover heels. Try Russia and you will be better informed.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Special AIR&dD Services

    Methinks more deeper investigation is called for. Any volunteers? :-) .... for Special Operations Executive HyperRadioProActive IT Missions ...... SMARTR IntelAIgent Sorties.

    Which is Theresa May Killer Heels Territory doing Virtual Battle for the Home Office and MI5 in ESPecial ParaMilitary Operations with Remote Virtual Global Control Leverage, an Active Danegeld Supply Source of Flash Instant Cash Jackpot Delivery.

    Governments do put themselves into a terminal tale tailspin whenever they deny enlightening information and newly phormed views with breaking grandstanding news such as is Absolutely Fabulous Fabless Help with Special Instructions from/for Drivers is CHAOS in Action and on HyperRadioProActive Service being offered freely to governments and one non state actor governments alike in the likes of these Open Registered Posts delivering Fuller Transparency and Information OverLode ..... or OverLoad, which would all depend upon one's preferred stable state of mind, methinks, as to whether one is enriched or overwhelmed by Powers with Greater Knowledge.

  9. Andrew Moore

    I don't understand why this is considered 'new' research.

    The film 'Kinky Boots' gave a concise reason for the appeal of high heels; To wit: "That they presented the buttocks in away that indicated the female was available for breeding"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We isolated the effects of heels on gait using point-light methodology. Females were recorded walking in flat shoes and high heels."

    Someone in another forum suggested that the researchers should have controlled the experiment by including men wearing the same heels. The point-light method would hide the walker's other sex indicators.

    If the results favoured those wearing high heels, of either sex, then it would suggest that it was a cultural artefact rather than a basic difference in male/female physiology.

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    In other news

    Some men like to think of women as people, not objects.

  12. MrT

    I'll not be commiting myself...

    ... until Service Pack 1, on any mission-critical systems.




    Oops, sorry, mixing up my in-depth, detailed reports from the Department of the Bleedin' Obvious there.

    Anyway, I thought that high heels gave a longer stride, not a faster pitter-patter Essex girl trot... (at least that's what I guess they're saying from the bits with pictures). For a control, they should've at least visited a range of theatres showing "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and observed all the lads from local rugby teams dressed as Frank. Again, risks a punch in the face, but that's no less than they deserve for their efforts.

    《《 this would have been the Sherlock icon if the m.forums site let us pick them...

  13. Grikath

    neither new nor original

    There's been quite a few studies like this over the past decade or two, usually by promovendi from the fuzzy sector, and they all come to the same conclusion: high heels make women appear to be more sexy.

    Absolutely not surprising, given that high heels, as mentioned in previous posts, do indeed change the shape of the leg, making it appear longer, emphasising the calf, thigh, and buttocks, which are simple biological sexual/fitness markers.

    That in itself would still not amount to much, since they are only subtle secondary markers. High heels, however, also force an upright posture with "tits and ass out" and a gait that is usually referred to as a "strut". Both posture and gait are things that women tend to do naturally by design, but especially when they are out hunting and up to mischief. Absolutely no heels needed there. Physics and evolution made them that way, and the same mechanism makes us blokes pay attention.

    The sad part about the cultural aspect here is that in most cultures this quite appealing behaviour is rigorously (and sometimes violently) suppressed as "inappropriate".

  14. nsld

    looking at our medal haul at the Olympics

    And speaking as someone with a degree in sport science i would suggest the author might need to rethink his comments on the field.

    I guess that's the problem with tech writers, if you can't do it, denigrate it.

    1. Stuart Van Onselen

      Re: looking at our medal haul at the Olympics

      Well, maybe snarking on Sports Science is probably unfair. But Evo-Psych has become a cesspit of sexism, self-reinforcement, and just-so-stories.

      It may once have had some respect as a "soft-science" but it lost every last shred of that a long time ago, largely due to "research" such as this.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Germaine Greer

    calls them fuck-me shoes.

    who funded this scientific study?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many factors..

    First off, "attractive" is subjective.

    The whole package, however, is a subtle play of curves. There are good heels and bad heels - good heels take care to load the foot bone structure in a way that doesn't cause damage, and are engineered properly (there are a *lot* of mechanics involved in a decent high heel), and there is a "maximum height" above which no woman should go (easily found - if the front leg goes straight into the toes as one straight line you are really at the maximum point - go beyond that and you're looking at damage) - depends on the feet involved.

    Bad heels do not distribute pressure properly and should be banned as torture devices. Platforms tend to quickly trend towards being crap because the height throws off the delicate balance required, and the designer's idea to put a heel fully at the end of a shoe is stupid as well (the heel should really be under the body's weight or they will hurt when walking as you end up creating a lever effect). There is a reason why the classic spike heeled pump has endured so well over the years as a design - from an engineering perspective it offers the best balance between support and height. However, it needs someone with trained ankles.

    Price is not an *absolute* measure of quality, but if you like the elegant sight of a woman in heels and she is your partner I suggest you don't skimp on price or complain about it - it's not design you pay for, it is (in many ways) feel good factor.. With boots it gets a bit more complex because then you also have to deal with the shape of the leg - a leg with decent muscle development is easier to design for (the "modelling" leg is a tad too underdefined, but that's a personal opinion, I like people with an athletic build that at least throw a shadow).

    Anon because I know far too much of this I had friends who had a shoe factory, and as an engineer it's fascinating to see how complex it actually is to create a good pair of heels or boots (it helps having a happy test recipient around :)..

    1. ACx

      Re: So many factors..

      Actually, its not subjective at all. Its biological. Core attributes always dominate. Always have done. Your man above, with his kinky boots comment, is pretty much spot on. Sorry to break it to you but despite all the social and PC bullshit, we, men and women, are animals with animal instinct.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So many factors..

        Actually, its not subjective at all. Its biological.

        Disagree. Some people say that you can divide the male species up in "breast" men and "leg" men. The former couldn't care less about what shoes a woman wears because they never get that low :). Not being all the same is what keeps things interesting..

      2. Stuart Van Onselen

        Re: So many factors..

        Of course a lot of it is biological. But a lot is also cultural and thus subjective. We're a damn long way from our animal roots, so attributing *all* the blame on "nature" and discounting "nurture" entirely is naive*.

        Unfortunately "studies" like this shed very little light on the subject, as they provide no breakdown on the balance between biological and cultural influences, and don't actually tell us anything that we don't already bloody know! (Within the context of Western norms, anyway.)

        *) Also, there is a high correlation between calling political correctness "bullshit" and being an asshole. Just sayin'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So many factors..

      "as an engineer it's fascinating to see how complex it actually is to create a good pair of heels or boots"

      Frankly it amazes me that anyone can mass-produce "person-shaped" anything, especially since the commonest starting materials are flat (perhaps not in the case of shoes, but certainly for clothing).

      Then again, all the women I speak to assure me that most of the time they don't actually manage it. I get reports that "There's nothing in the shops this year. Everything makes me look like a box/bin/pipe/wall/...".

      Anon, since the women in my life seem to manage to look wonderful anyway.

  17. Arachnoid

    Makes you wonder how we ever made it out of caves what with making the wheel before the heel.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      The wheel got us out of the caves

      Then the heel brought us back - otherwise there'd be no baby cavemen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The wheel got us out of the caves

        If we'd invented the heel before the wheel we'd never gotten to leaving the caves, being too busy with making said baby cave dwellers :)

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Could everyone here stop saying that attractiveness is subjective? That's pretty well known (almost as well known as why women wear high heels, in fact). The whole point of doing statistics like this is to see if there is a pattern underlying the subjectivity.

    Personally, I hate high heels and watching women trying to move around in them is more likely to cause laughter and contempt than arousal.

    Now, a good pair of wellies? Now you're talking! Say "ooo-arr", darling...say it like you mean it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Subjectivity

      watching women trying to move around in them is more likely to cause laughter and contempt

      You've never seen an elegant woman then, or have been reading too much feminist material (I note that even Greer is looking more feminine these days).

      Part of my youth was spent ballroom and latin dancing at a reasonable level, and my dance parter was also an enthusiastic gymnast. Especially under load you soon recognise what is a quality pair of heels and what is rubbish, and my dance partner quickly took to applying the same demands she put on her dance shoes to her going out shoes. I recall one time where she found a pair of shoes that was so good, she bought two pair and had one pair resoled for dancing (it takes a special soft leather and rubber heel tips). When training she used 4", but she had no problem with 5" for presentation (depends on the dance, of course, some are too intense to risk 5").

      As a gymnast, balance and poise wasn't exactly a problem for her, but dancing shoes were critical in keeping a sure footing and she and the other female dancers in our club would roam local and distant shoe shops for good heels. It's funny how they too seem to hunt in packs :)

    2. Stuart Van Onselen

      Re: Subjectivity

      Could everyone here stop saying that attractiveness is subjective? That's pretty well known

      Actually, some people seem to disagree. See the post by ACx a little higher, who seems to think that it's entirely objective and biological.

  19. b166er

    Happy New Year everyone.

    Thanks for the fireworks, Reg!

  20. jon 72

    Fascinating stuff

    but where are the results for blokes wearing heels?

    1. Eddy Ito
      Thumb Up

      Re: Fascinating stuff

      I was thinking the same thing. "A point-light system that placed markers on the subjects' bodies was used to show the raters just the movements of the walkers rather than their actual form." That statement alone makes it seem quite trivial to have a few guys strut their stuff and be rated in a like manner. It also makes it easy to compare if there is any difference in perception among body types based on movement. Who knows, maybe the paunch bellied ale guzzlers among us are found to have the most silky smooth and attractive motions if only we'd wear a couple inches of heel. I imagine it would be easy enough to find an adequate supply of test subjects down at the local pub most nights. Of course given how much ale they'd have to consume before walking about in heels might make their gait a bit uneven but there would be plenty of swing and gyration.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: the results for blokes wearing heels

      They're here:

      And if you've followed the link, you'll now know why the article thought it best not to mention it.

  21. nuked


  22. Trevor Marron

    Makes me wonder---

    How come all the women who live in countries where shoes are not worn get laid then?

    "Biomechanical analyses revealed that wearing high heels led to increased femininity of gait including reduced stride length and increased rotation and tilt of the hips."

    The missed the word 'perceived' out of that sentence.

  23. Arachnoid

    I dont see any others of the animal kingdom having issues with reproduction despite not wearing high heels.Me thinks its simply a fashion trend with psychological implications much the same as showing an ankle,the bustle,the low cleavage etc have done over the years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actual science and shit

      Well, given that they did actual sciency stuff of trying to reduce cultural and fashion influences by showing people the movement without actually showing their form suggests that it was something a bit more basic.

      I'm not sure you'll like their follow up study "People Fuck Other People Even If They Think They Could Look More Physically Attractive".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      .. on the other hand ..

      I dont see any others of the animal kingdom having issues with reproduction despite not wearing high heels

      Thats because it's just too much work. It would be far too hard making heels for hamsters. Making corsets is already hard enough.

      Anyone seen my medication?

  24. Bad Beaver

    Here's to Science.

    You gotta love it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like a woman who wears

    combat boots, drinks pints and smokes roll-ups. Girly girls spend altogether too much time pratting around with pointless stuff.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: I like a woman who wears

      Like making themselves attractive for those of us who prefer more girly girls than pseudo men?

      'Women are from Venus' etc

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Your tax dollars (well, Pounds in this case) at work!!

    Work it, baby! Work it!!

  27. Dana W

    That is just pathetic. This has to be the lamest, saddest thing I have EVER read on El Reg.

    1. I Am Spartacus

      Then you're reading the wrong articles.

      el reg - the limbo dance of journalistic capabilities.

    2. Dana W

      I have once again upset El Reg's army of dateless, furious one handed typists.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        I have once again upset El Reg's army of dateless, furious one handed typists.

        Hah! I have Dragon Dictate installed :)

        The dirty Mac, please..

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sexy photos

    Heals are sexy until... You can't find close parking, it's a beautiful night for a walk, you want to stop at the beach, there's a romanic downtown with cobblestone streets, the sun/moon is setting over the end of a wooden boardwalk, it's early but the feet hurt, "rub my feet", etc. I'll a sexy woman with a big smile and feet equipped for moving.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    BTW, nice creepy bracketing you did there.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well Duh......What is amazing is that, in these difficult economic times, you get people spending money on such idiotic "research"!

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. jake Silver badge

    Funniest thing about this whole thread ...

    Not a one of you commented on the real reason why adult women wearing heels is perceived as attractive to men ... It's because it increases their leg-length & makes 'em look (proportionally) just barely pubescent.

    Bottom line? If you're attracted to high-heels, lads, you're a latent pedo[1]. And you women actually trying to attract a mate with them ... do you really want to go that route?

    [1] Guys attracted to actually wearing them, probably not so much.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funniest thing about this whole thread ...

      If you're attracted to high-heels, lads, you're a latent pedo

      Wow, you must really have some deep issues. I'm impressed - you even skipped Godwin's law..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Funniest thing about this whole thread ...

        Absolute rock bottom trolling, was your holiday period THAT bad Jake?

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Funniest thing about this whole thread ...

          *period* might be the operative word.

          I'll go and hide now..

  33. Lone Gunman


    I wonder whether the colour of the shoes makes a difference to how men perceive them? I notice I get far more comments for my scarlet heels or my leopard print ones (which are mid-height) than my black ones regardless of the height.

    Can't say a 2.5" heel really counts as a high heel these days - needs to be 3" or greater IMHO. Several people have mentioned the engineering required to be able to take the weight and balance properly, something that seems to be sadly lacking in a lot of heels along with getting the size right as many places don't offer a half size, so you either end up with shoes that you walk out of as they are too big or stuff your feet into something too small and feel as though your feet are in a vice.

    Being of the female pursuasion I like wearing heels and the height of them depends on how much walking I'm likely to be doing or the overall look I'm going for. Some outfits look better with a kitten heel and some with a killer pencil thin 3-4" spike. Finding a pair that isn't ankle breaking height or look like they should be gracing the feet of a prostitute is a problem these days. Will be very glad when that trend buggers off.

    As you can tell, shoes are a bit of a specialist subject for me!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fascinating

      As you can tell, shoes are a bit of a specialist subject for me!

      :) Most women I know are, although most of my female friends combine attitude with altitude and wouldn't be seen dead in kitten heels..

      If you avoid thick platforms you can usually find elegant heels in the 4"..5" class that you can actually survive in, but heeled boots tend to be easier to wear with a high heel, provided they are a tight fit (one of the reasons you want to stay with leather - it stretches to fit). I hope the platform trend comes to an end as it is simply not elegant at all.

      You may want to check on where the heel is, though, because that could be the source of your discomfort. Alexander Wang, for instance, gets it wrong and puts it at the very end of the shoe bed which creates a lever effect and makes your toes hit the ground much harder. OTOH, Jimmy Choo tends to get it right and puts a heel under your weight (slightly curved in from the back) so you have control. A make which is more affordable but a bit offbeat is the Italian brand Biondini - they only do high heels but it's a bit difficult to find a local retailer or get an overview of their range.

      If you have a problem finding the right size you may want to find a good shoemaker who can stretch shoes. It takes some time, but it can add the half size you need. That's what we often had to do with dancing shoes to get a perfect fit - nobody is born with 2 identical feet..

      Enjoy your (expensive) hobby - rest assured many men will be watching :)

  34. Francis Boyle

    The flaw

    in the experiment is simply asking the subjects to judge the gait they found most feminine. I can judge that Minnie Mouse is more feminine than Mickey* but that doesn't mean I want to fuck her.

    *Try explaining that - there's a thesis in there somewhere.

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like a woman who can move

    And to really move means some heel maybe but not very much. Ballerinas can move alright and wear no heels at all. I'm not attracted to a woman who imagines she's fashionable crippling herself while wobbling ludicrously while causing herself sprain injuries. Chinese men used to think feet on a grown woman bound to keep them to baby size sexy - a similarly oppressive, disgusting and vile practice as the one which now exists in our culture.

    A/C because I'm married.

  37. squigbobble

    Women have proportionally (to their torso length) longer legs than men... heels just exaggerate this effect. However, it's not sexy when a drunk women in stilettos takes a step back onto your foot.

    I prefer people (women being a subset of that) with more common sense than fashion sense (hipsters who forked out for a fixed-gear bike, I'm looking at you!) ergo women who wear shoes that can be walked in for more than 5 minutes lose points but who cares anyway.

    The point that the presumably male researchers have really missed is not why women are trotting around in daft shoes but for who; it's not men, it's to impress other women.

  38. Skid

    Reminds me of an old survey ..

    ... which asked men about womens legs. 1% said they liked long legs, 1% said short legs and 98% preferred something in between!

  39. A J Stiles

    Sounds like thinly-veiled justification for sexism

    All this sounds like a thinly-veiled justification for sexism.

    The fact that we have one very dominant culture in the world, and that it gets imprinted pretty much from birth, makes it hard to spot a cultural phenomenon when we see one. I'm willing to bet that if you could find some test subjects coming from a culture where everyone wears either bare feet or flat shoes, they probably would not show the same bias towards heels.

    Meanwhile, a bunch of misogynists are going to point to this and say "See -- it's all biological!" in an attempt to explain away their disgusting treatment of women.

    Yet if you took fifty "Top Trumps" cards, each representing a woman as a series of individual measurements (none of which related to primary sexual characteristics) and another fifty representing men according to the same measurements, then you shuffled one of the women's cards in among the men and one of the men's cards in among the women, the only way you would be able to spot the ones that had been exchanged would be if the designs on the backs of the cards were different.

  40. Dixie Nourmous

    A friend of a friend

    A friend of a friend bought his missus some 6" red high heels, to which she said " I wont be able to walk in those" to which he replied " You wont be doing much walking dressed in them Love"

  41. Jesrad

    Or the other way 'round

    The researchers assume that the high heels make the wearer more feminine because they affect the gait and balance of wearers, but it could very well be the other way around: that the viewers have been taught by their environment that the specific gait and balance of walking in high heels are to be associated with feminity.

    So which is it really:

    high heels -> specific gait -> perceived feminity


    specific gait -> high heels -> perceived feminity ?

  42. Heelfree

    "groundbreaking study" ha ha!


This topic is closed for new posts.