Ann Sylvia



Document Type



Women have been wearing shoes of various heel heights for hundreds of years. However, the effects of wearing high-heeled shoes upon a woman’s gait has not been significantly studied. Recently, high heeled shoes along with their purpose and place in society has come under fire with the current First Lady’s donning of 4.5” (0.11 m) Louboutin stilettoes. The vocal majority of criticisms seemed to center on the symbolization of high heels, denoting femininity and an elite position of wealth and power while a small minority focused on criticizing the potential negative health effects. Heel heights and styles fall in and out of popularity as trends change, currently high heels of 4” (0.10 m) and over are very much in fashion. Both men and women wear heels of various styles and heights daily; therefore, it would be beneficial to understand if biomechanical changes in various heel heights could affect health. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the biomechanical differences in common heel heights in the lower extremity during walking gait. Four female participants walked in three heel heights: barefoot, 2.5” (0.06 m) heel and 4.5” (0.11 m) heel. A two-dimensional kinematic analysis was conducted to examine walking gait with various heel heights. The findings of this study suggested that shoes with moderate and high heel heights to be limited in use and worn in moderation in order to minimize potential adverse health concerns to the body by altering the natural movements of the walking gait. Future studies are warranted to examine the long-term effect of wearing shoes in various heel heights and on different slopes.


Physical Education

Thesis Comittee

Tong-Ching Tom Wu (Thesis Advisor)

Christopher Swart

Angela Bailey

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.