High heels are a type of shoe in which the heel, compared with the toe, is significantly higher off the ground. These shoes go beyond simply protecting the foot from the ground or improving efficiency of walking. High heels make the wearer appear taller, accentuating the calf muscle and the length of the leg overall.[1] There are many types of high heels, which come in different styles, colors and materials, and can be found all over the world. They have significant cultural and fashionable meanings attached to them, which have been largely shaped by historical contexts over the past 1,000 years. Wearing high heels is associated with some health problems.
Many styles of dance involve the usage of heels. Ballroom dancing shoes are designed for usage based on the style of dance being performed. International Standard Ballroom shoes for women are closed toed shoes with a 2 to 2.5 inch sturdy heel because steps are performed using the heel of the foot.[49] International Latin and American Rhythm shoes are open toed, strapped heels that are an average of 2.5 to 3 inches in height. These shoes have the least sturdiest heel because International Latin and American Rhythm styles are performed on the ball of the foot. Additionally, this style of shoe is designed with a flexible sole to allow for pointed feet. Lastly, American Smooth shoes are closed toed, flexible soled shoes that range in heel height from 2 to 2.5 inches. An additional non-traditional ballroom dance that uses heels is the Argentine Tango. While dancing the Argentine Tango, women often wear pointed heels ranging in 2 to 4 inches in height.[20] The higher the heel height, the more advanced in technique and ability a dancer is. The heels are used to change the overall stance of the woman by tilting the hips forward, making the stomach flatter and pushing the backside out. Additionally, the heels cause unsteadiness which forces women to dance on their toes and lean on their partner which adds to the fluidity of the movements. A relatively modern style of dance called Heels Choreography or Stiletto dance specializes in choreography that blends the styles of jazz, hip-hop and burlesque with the fusion of vogue movements and is performed using stilettos or high heels.[50] Some dancers such as Yanis Marshall specialize in dancing with high-heels.[51]
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Jewelry and bags are great, but did you know that heels can also be a perfect statement piece? When wearing all black, add that pop of color to your look with a fun neon or brightly-colored heel. If you’re feeling extra fun, grab a matching bag as well to add that special something to your look. For those girls on the shorter side, chunky platform heels are totally back in style. They can give you that extra boost and can be dressed up to look professional or cute and sassy. Whatever style you're trying to rock, Forever 21 has the perfect high heel for you!
Alternatively, World War II led to the popularization of pin-up girl posters, which men would often hang in their bunks while at war. Almost all of these girls were pictured wearing high heels, leading to an increase in the relationship between high heels and female sexuality.[3] The tall, skinny stiletto heel was invented in 1950, strengthening the relationship between women, sexuality, and appearance.[10] There was a weakening of the stiletto style during both the late 1960s / early 1970s and also 1990s when block heels were more prominent, followed by a revival in the 2000s.

A 2001 survey conducted by researchers from Pennsylvania State University using 200 women found that 58% of women complained of lower back pain when wearing heels and 55% of women said they felt the worst overall back pain when wearing the highest heel.[23] The researchers explained that as heel height increases, the body is forced to take on an unnatural posture to maintain its center of gravity. This changed position places more pressure and tension on the lower lumbar spine which explains why the women complained of severe back pain at a higher heel length.


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Many styles of dance involve the usage of heels. Ballroom dancing shoes are designed for usage based on the style of dance being performed. International Standard Ballroom shoes for women are closed toed shoes with a 2 to 2.5 inch sturdy heel because steps are performed using the heel of the foot.[49] International Latin and American Rhythm shoes are open toed, strapped heels that are an average of 2.5 to 3 inches in height. These shoes have the least sturdiest heel because International Latin and American Rhythm styles are performed on the ball of the foot. Additionally, this style of shoe is designed with a flexible sole to allow for pointed feet. Lastly, American Smooth shoes are closed toed, flexible soled shoes that range in heel height from 2 to 2.5 inches. An additional non-traditional ballroom dance that uses heels is the Argentine Tango. While dancing the Argentine Tango, women often wear pointed heels ranging in 2 to 4 inches in height.[20] The higher the heel height, the more advanced in technique and ability a dancer is. The heels are used to change the overall stance of the woman by tilting the hips forward, making the stomach flatter and pushing the backside out. Additionally, the heels cause unsteadiness which forces women to dance on their toes and lean on their partner which adds to the fluidity of the movements. A relatively modern style of dance called Heels Choreography or Stiletto dance specializes in choreography that blends the styles of jazz, hip-hop and burlesque with the fusion of vogue movements and is performed using stilettos or high heels.[50] Some dancers such as Yanis Marshall specialize in dancing with high-heels.[51]
First things first: How high do you want to go? If you love the look of being a statuesque beauty who towers over the crowd, a pair of sky-high heels for women will definitely do the trick. If you're wearing heels out for a night of dancing with your S.O., consider their height and yours: If you're already pretty tall, pick lower heels or they'll be staring at your chest all night, but if you're a bit vertically challenged, high heels can bring you up to eye level. Also, think about your comfort level: If you're not used to wearing high heels, it's better to choose shoes with a lower, thicker heel that make you feel more stable.

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Heels went out of fashion starting around 1810, and then in 1860 they returned at about two and a half inches. The Pinet heel and the Cromwell heel were both introduced during this time.[12] Their production was also increased with the invention and eventual mass production of the sewing machine around the 1850s. With sewing machines, yields increased as machines could quickly and cheaply "position[n] the heel, stitc[h] the upper, and attac[h] the upper to the sole."[9] This is also a prime example of how the popularity of heels interacts with the culture and technology of the time.
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