posted by: shoesense in High heels on April 25th, 2008
Yes, there’s a formula devoted to calculating the amount of inches you can tolerate in your heel and it’s been devised by Professor Paul Stevenson at the University of Surrey, UK. So, how high can you go?
The maximum heel height formula is based on shoe size and an elusive Q factor, which takes into account sociological factors such as how shoe stylishness increases a woman’s ability to tolerate pain.
h=Q x (12 + 3s/8)
h is the maximum height of the heel (in cm).
Q is a sociological factor and has a value between 0 and 1.
s is shoe size (UK ladies sizes).
There’s more to it, of course, and if you want to get technical and learn more details, read the whole thing here. An interesting factoid, though, from the same article: did you know that “a 100 pound woman in stilettos will exert pressure under her foot that is 20 times that of a 6,000 pound elephant“? Think about it next time you see that you left holes in the hot asphalt with you shoes and you get panic-stricken about your weight: those heels may look dainty, but they’re, well, literally, lethal.
(As an aside: I don’t think even Dr. Stevenson can explain how SJP aka Carrie Bradshaw can run in 5-inch stilettos, plus a bulky wedding dress, on the streets of Manhattan. That “Q” must be awfully high.)
I got the links and info via a MUST-READ article (no, really: compulsory reading for all you high or low-heel wearers alike) at Cocktail Party Physics, written by bona fide physicist and author Jennifer Ouellette. All the good, the bad, and the ugly about heels-or-no-heels* and an explanation of the science of heels, neatly packaged and humorously delivered. And I’m not talking only figuratively about the “good” part: apparently high heels can help you tone your abdomen and pelvic floor. Who knew? Ok now, off you go to read Jennifer Ouellette’s wonderful post. You’ll be a better shoe-lover for it!
* Shouldn’t that be a reality show? “Heel or No Heel,” hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker. And we’re bidding on shoe-boxes containing shoes ranging from your cheapest knock-off Crocs to the most extravagant Loubous or Balenciagas. Just a thought!