Formula for fashion

Published on August 16th, 2011
Formula for fashion

Ever wondered how heels are becoming higher and narrower and women are still able to walk on them despite the fact that they seem to defy all the laws of physics?

Seeing celebs strutting their stuff down the red carpet got us asking the question: “How high can high heels go?’

Apparently there’s a reason why we’re not all walking around on stilts. We actually use all the area on the bottom of our feet for a reason.

When you have a stiletto on, you drop your surface area by 70 percent. When the surface area decreases, the force on that area shoots up, meaning the average high-heel-wearer exerts more force on that tiny patch of ground than an elephant.

Let’s explain that: all the force that women exert on the ground is returned back to their bodies.

While there may not be a limit to how high the heels can go, there is definitely a limit to what our bodies can handle. In order to find out how high heels can actually go, a physics lecturer from England was asked to come up with an equation for the maximum height of heels.

He found that around 13cm was generally the maximum height for an experienced shoe-wearer.

According to physics this may be possible, but we reckon boys and a few girls will agree that walking on normal heels is a magic trick in itself.

This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 South Africa License. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California 94105, USA.