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If you're looking for a pair of heels that are a little bit more ladylike, GoJane has you covered with sweet and sexy stiletto heels that will make your legs look a mile long. Try a pair of platform pumps in classic suede in a variety of shades, or go for a pair featuring a funky print or pattern. If that's still not sultry enough, we also carry our fair share of strappy, sky-high heeled sandals that will get you from spring to summer in style. From metallic versions to knee-high gladiator heels, you'll find all of the latest stiletto trends in our arsenal.
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The intricate and complex history of high heels has led to a variety of cultural thoughts and lens through which people view them today. Firstly, it is very exclusively gendered in the sense that few men wear high heels in present times. Secondly, magazines like Playboy, as well as other media sources portraying women in a sexual way, often do so using high heels. Paul Morris, a psychology researcher at the University of Portsmouth, argues that high heels accentuate "sex specific aspects of female gait", artificially increasing a woman's femininity. Respectively, the arching of a woman's back facilitated by wearing high heels signals a woman's willingness to be courted by a man. Keeping this sexual undercurrent in mind, heels are considered fashionable for women in most cases. It could be semi-formal with a "button down silk blouse…jeans and high heels." Or, it could be formal with a dress or pants suit. Finally, 20th and 21st century cultural values have dictated that high heels are the norm in professional settings for a woman. Some researchers argue that high heels have even become part of the female workplace uniform, and operate in a much larger and complex set of display rules. High heels are considered to pose a dilemma to women as they bring them psychosexual benefits but are detrimental to their health. The 21st century has introduced a broad spectrum and variety of styles, ranging from height and width of heel, to design and color of the shoe.
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High heels have a long history, dating as far back as the tenth century. The Persian cavalry, for example, wore a kind of boot with heels in order to ensure their feet stayed in the stirrups. Furthermore, research indicates that heels kept arrow-shooting riders, who stood up on galloping horses, safely on the horse. This trend has translated into the popular 21st-century cowboy boot. Owning horses was expensive and time-consuming, so to wear heels implied the wearer had significant wealth. This practical and effective use of the heel has set the standard for most horse-back riding shoes throughout history and even into the present day. Later, in the 12th century in India, heels become visible again. The image of a statue from the Ramappa Temple proves this, showing an Indian woman's foot clad in a raised shoe. Then, during the Medieval period, both men and women wore platform shoes in order to raise themselves out of the trash and excrement filled streets. In 1430, chopines were 30 inches (76 cm) high, at times. Venetian law then limited the height to three inches—but this regulation was widely ignored. A 17th-century law in Massachusetts announced that women would be subjected to the same treatment as witches if they lured men into marriage via the use of high-heeled shoes.
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In a 2012 study, researchers examined the risk long time high heel wearers would have in regards to calf Muscle fascicle length and strain. The control group consisted of women who wore heels for less than ten hours weekly and the experimental group consisted of women who wore heels for a minimum of forty hours weekly for at least two years. The experimental group was told to walk down a walkway barefoot and in heels while the control group walked down barefoot as cameras recorded their movements to calculate muscle fascicle lengths. The data showed that wearing heels shortened the length of the medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle fascicles in the calf significantly as well as increasing stiffness in the Achilles Tendon. The experimental group also demonstrated a larger amount of strain on the muscle fascicles while walking in heels because of the flexed position the foot is forced into. The researchers were able to estimate that when wearing heels, the estimated fascicle strains were approximately three times higher and the fascicle strain rate was approximately six times higher. Additionally, they were able to conclude that the long term usage of high heels can increase the risk of injuries such as strain along with discomfort and muscle fatigue.
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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. 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. 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. Some dancers such as Yanis Marshall specialize in dancing with high-heels.
Wearing high-heeled shoes is strongly associated with injury, including injury requiring hospital care. There is evidence that high-heel-wearers fall more often, especially with heels >2.5cm high, even if they were not wearing high heels at the time of the fall. Wearing high heels is also associated with musculoskeletal pain, specifically pain in the paraspinal muscles (muscles running up the back along the spine) and specifically with heel pain and plantar calluses (only women tested).
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. 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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Modern high heels were brought to Europe by emissaries of Shāh Abbās I of Persia in the early 17th century. Men wore them to imply their upper-class status; only someone who did not have to work could afford, both financially and practically, to wear such extravagant shoes. Royalty such as King Louis XIV wore heels to impart status. As the shoes caught on, and other members of society began donning high heels, elite members ordered their heels to be made even higher to distinguish themselves from lower classes. Authorities even began regulating the length of a high heel's point according to social rank. Klaus Carl includes these lengths in his book Shoes: "½ inch for commoners, 1 inch for the bourgeois, 1 and ½ inches for knights, 2 inches for nobles, and 2 and ½ inches for princes."” As women took to appropriating this style, the heels’ width changed in another fundamental way. Men wore thick heels, while women wore skinny ones. Then, when Enlightenment ideals such as science, nature, and logic took hold of many European societies, men gradually stopped wearing heels. After the French Revolution in the late 1780s, heels, femininity, and superficiality all became intertwined. In this way, heels became much more associated with a woman's supposed sense of impracticality and extravagance.