Walking variations in healthy women wearing high-heeled shoes: Shoe size and heel height effects

Enrica Di Sipio, Giulia Piccinini, Cristiano Pecchioli, Marco Germanotta, Chiara Iacovelli, Chiara Simbolotti, Arianna Cruciani, Luca Padua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The use of high heels is widespread in modern society in professional and social contests. Literature showed that wearing high heels can produce injurious effects on several structures from the toes to the pelvis. No studies considered shoe length as an impacting factor on walking with high heels. Research question: The aim of this study is to evaluate walking parameters in young healthy women wearing high heels, considering not only the heel height but also the foot/shoe size. Methods: We evaluate spatio-temporal, kinematic and kinetic data, collected using a 8-camera motion capture system, in a sample of 21 healthy women in three different walking conditions: 1) barefoot, 2) wearing 12 cm high heel shoes independently from shoe size, and 3) wearing shoes with heel height based on shoe size, keeping the ankles’ plantar flexion angle constant. The main outcome measures were: spatio-temporal parameters, gait harmony measurement, range of motion, flexion and extension maximal values, power and moment of lower limb joints. Results: Comparing the three walking conditions, the Mixed Anova test, showed significant differences between both high heeled conditions (variable and constant height) and barefoot in spatio-temporal, kinematic and kinetic parameters. Significance: Regardless of the shoe size, both heeled conditions presented a similar gait pattern and were responsible for negative effects on walking parameters. Considering our results and the relevance of the heel height, further studies are needed to identify a threshold, over which it is possible to observe that wearing high heels could cause harmful effects, independently from the foot/shoe size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalGait and Posture
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Gait analysis
  • High heels
  • Kinematic parameters
  • Kinetic parameters
  • Shoe size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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