Biomechanical effects of wearing high-heeled shoes

Chang Min Lee, Eun Hee Jeong, Andris Freivalds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


A survey of 200 young women wearing high-heeled shoes indicated frequent complaints of leg and low back pain. Consequently, an empirical study examined the biomechanical effects of three heel heights (0, 4.5, and 8cm), while standing stationary and while walking in five, healthy, young women. Four major biomechanical effects were observed. As heel heights increased, the trunk flexion angle decreased significantly. Similarly, tibialis anterior EMG, low back EMG and the vertical movement of the body center of mass increased significantly while walking with high-heeled shoes. Due to these added stresses, wearing of high heels should be avoided. Relevance to industry: In addition to the normal physical job stresses, women workers may experience additional biomechanical stresses placed on them by fashion demands such as high heels. All these effects can significantly increase discomfort levels in those wearing high heels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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