All About Wearing High Heels, Q & A

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I do get email regarding this website. Unfortunately, I am unable to reply to all of it. So, I try to choose the best.

When I reply to an email, I try to post the email with my reply on the most appropriate page on this web site. This web page is intended for miscellaneous feedback involving reader questions.

Exercises - March 19, 2006
Comfortable Pair of High Heels - February 16, 2006
Men Doing Pointe Ballet - February 16, 2006
What age is appropriate to start wearing high heels? - December 9, 2005
High Heel/Shoe Size - November 16, 2005
Adding Heel Height - January 30, 2005
Small and Wide Shoes - January 30, 2005
Metal High Heel Shoes - October 23, 2004 & May 8, 2005
Mud - October 23, 2004
Arch Support - November 3, 2003
6 Inch High Heels and Bent Knees - July 9, 2003
High Heels for Small Size 3 (US) Feet - April 27, 2003
7" High Heel Boots - April 27, 2003
Men in High Heels - February 15, 2003
One Leg Shorter Than the Other - December 15, 2002
7 Inch High Heels - November 3, 2002
Shoe Business - April 7, 2002 (moved to Want to sell shoes? web page)
Unisex High Heels - March 25, 2002
Male Acceptance - March 17, 2002
Unisex High Heels - March 3, 2002
Large Size High Heel Shoes - February 11, 2002
Super/Ultra High Heels - January 20, 2002
Pumps; Used High Heel Shoes - January 6, 2002
Showcasing; Open Toe Boots - November 25, 2001
Very Snug-Fitting High Heels; Male Acceptance - November 18, 2001
Heel Tips - October 7, 2001

Hi there,

I've always wondering how common it is (generally) for women to wear heels that were worn down to the "nail". I've seen these cause floor damage before. Does this happen all the time and how big does someone have to be to cause damage like this?


M. V. - 15 Sep 2001

Heel Tips

Worn down heel tips are quite common. It is normal for heel tips on spiked or stiletto type high heels to eventually wear down over time, until the nail is exposed.

When the nail is exposed, it is time for the heel tip to be replaced. Otherwise, the material covering the heel just above the heel tip can become damaged.

The rate at which a heel tip wears down depends on the type of walking surfaces the heel tip is subjected to, not how big or heavy the person is. Regular heel tips wear out very slowly on most indoor surfaces, like wood, linoleum, and especially on carpet and rugs. However, these same heel tips will wear out very fast outdoors, especially on rough surfaces like concrete and asphalt.

Also, the nail can wreak havoc on floors. Check the article on "Hardwood Flooring, Humidity & Heels" in my NEWS web page (dated 1996).

All metal heel tips and half-metal spike heels are also available. They last much, much longer than normal heel tips and make a wonderful sound that turns lots of heads. However, they can take a greater toll on the legs.

J.J. - October 7, 2001

As a male who wears high heels, 3 to 4 inches, one of the first things I found was that very snug shoes are more secure to me and I rarely have any problems wearing them, and I've worn them most anywhere. The first pair of heels I wore had a 2 inch plateform and 6 1/4 inch heel. I had absolutely NO problem walking in them, even down the street. I love heels. I wish society would okay men in heels.

Ed - 17 Nov 2001

Very Snug-Fitting High Heels; Male Acceptance

Thanks for sharing your story.

A 6 1/4 inch heel with a 2 inch platform has a instep that is equivalent to a 4 1/4 inch heel without any platform. I assume that you know this, but do know the following? The average American woman's foot is about a size 7 1/2 (US women), while the average American man's foot is about a size 9 1/2 (US Men) that equal to a size 10 1/2 (US women).

So, 3 and 4 inch high heels give the average American male the same effect that 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 inch mid heels give the average American women. You need to wear 5, 6, and 7 inch high heels (without platforms) in order to accomplish what a real woman does when she wears 3 1/2. 4 1/2, and 5 1/2 inch high heels, respectively.

Note that a female can usually flex her feet almost 90 degrees downward into the position that the feet are in while she is up on her toes doing ballet pointe dancing. This makes it technically possible for females to walk in 5, 6, and 7 inch heels as long as their feet are long enough. It also makes it possible for females to walk in ballet boots with 8 to 10 inch heels.

However, a male can only flex his feet only about 45 degrees or half as much as a female. So, it is usually difficult for males to walk in 5 inch heels and usually impossible for males to walk in 6 inch and higher heels.

In order for a male to walk in ultra high heels, he needs to use a medieval torture device like one of those advertised on Heike's website. Males can stretch and bend all of the ligaments in their feet and ankles to wear 6 and 7 inch high heels, as well as ballet boots. However, beware that this is usually a one-way, permanent process.

Once the male bends his feet 90 degrees downwards, he can never wear heels lower than 5 inches or so. The ligaments can never be pushed back into their original shape. It is similar to breaking a chicken leg a little bit and then, trying to push it back in (only to find it hopelessly dangling).

My book mentions that Marcia, a devoted high heel wearer, was able to walk in 5 inch heels the first time she wore them. Also, girls and women, who are skilled in ballet pointe dancing (and those with similar ability) are usually able to wear very high heels (including ballet boots) the very first time, too. They are very lucky people.

The information I have provided is for everyone, including those who are not as fortunate as the lucky ones. In terms of the "properly fitted shoes" and "incremental approach" information, it is not necessarily the only way to approach wearing high heels.

However, it is the best, most sensible, and most helpful information that I have been able to get. It enabled Marcia to master wearing and walking in 3, 4, 5 and 6 inch heels for over 20 years. It enabled her to wear 6 inch heels without platforms for 3 to 4 day periods at a time without ever taking off the heels and without any discomfort.

In terms of snug fit, I have heard some other people say that they prefer tight shoes as well. However, tight shoes can cause damage slowly. It may not become apparent until later on. There should never be any discomfort due to tightness, unless you want to risk having problem feet for the rest of your life.

It is important to think about long term foot health and preventing potential problems. Once a foot problem develops, it can be too late. A foot problem can rob one's ability to wear high heels ever again.

It is possible for society to okay men to wear high heels, as it once was in France or some other European country long ago. Fashions change all of the time. However, in order for this to happen, three points need to be addressed.

1) Society is made up of individuals with their own differing opinions. Look at politics and religion. The same is true for men in high heels.

I find that most women do not object to men wearing high heels and surpisingly, most men do not either. Unfortunately, there are some who will object and they will laugh and/or call you a faggot or sissy. However, there is not much else that they can do.

Jealousy might also be a problem. It is no secret that some women who can not wear high heels hate those who can. Some men may hate you for the same reason. This is a problem with no solution other than ignoring those who are jealous.

2) Most clothing items have a distinct masculine or feminine look. Otherwise, they are unisex.

Most high heel shoes and boots that exist today are too feminine looking for men to wear. The answer is unisex. Someone has to design unisex high heels that have a masculine and handsome look, as well as a feminine and beautiful look. This is not impossible to do.

A few years ago, Steve Madden designed new high heel boots that I felt were equally masculine and feminine. They had chunky 3 1/2 inch high heels and 1/2 inch platforms with big toe boxes that teenage girls brought like hot cakes. However, most women over 20 did not adopt them. These Steve Madden boots could of easily been the perfect unisex boots, if Steve Madden made them in long enough and wide enough sizes for men and marketed them as such.

3) In addition to supply, there must be demand. Men would actually have to buy and wear these unisex high heels. You and others like you would have to act and make it happen. Otherwise, the designer and manufacturer would be hurt and have to stop it all.

J.J. - November 18, 2001

For those looking for unusual styles, there is a bar scene in "Whore" where there is a shot under a table of a pair of open-toe boots!

T.J. - 22 Nov 2001

Showcasing; Open Toe Boots

I remember the scene from the 1991 movie. Unusual shoes and boots with very high heels deserve to be encased in glass and showcased as true works of art.

As for of high heel open toe boots, Loewe (the Spanish high-end fashion retailer) had my absolute favorite pair in their Spring 2000 collection. Unfortunately, high heel open toe boots do not sell well. They are much too obvious as flirt material for fashion wear. They are more appropriate for club and fetish wear, but they must have open toe boxes that do not interfere with toes and toe nails in order for them to be worn often.

These Loewe boots reminded me of some ancient Roman and Greek sandals in such way that I wished that there were a society or nation in which they were the standard footwear for the women.

J.J. - November 25, 2001

I am french and I am making a worn 4' high heels all leather made classic pumps collection, like the red model of your book first page presentation, in any size, any colour (no patent, no suede), even very worn or used, like Lolas of Classic Pumps. I write you to know if you could find me addresses od second-hand women shoes where I could buy such pumps, or if you know women or ladies who couls sell me some pairs, their price would be mine. Such models are unfoundable in France. Thank you and have an happy new year.

L.B. - 1 Jan 2002

Pumps; Used High Heel Shoes

Basic high heel pumps come in all different heel heights from 2 3/4 inches to 5 inches high (as measured from the highest part of the heel straight down to the floor), depending on the designer. The red pumps that appears on my book cover has heels that are exactly 4 1/2 inch high. They were the "basic pair of pumps" sold by the Wild Pair shoe store chain across the U.S.A. in the 1980/90's and made with genuine leather in Spain.

Unfortunately, Edison Bros. (the parent company of Wild Pair) of St. Louis, Missouri owned several other shoe companies that caused them to go out of business. So, it will be difficult to find women wanting to sell their (genuine) Wild Pair pumps, as they are now irreplaceable. Also, it is my policy to never provide any addresses of individuals for privacy reasons.

However, there are many ways to easily purchase used high heel shoes. The best way currently is through Ebay, the online auction house. Note that on the bottom of Ebay's main page, there are links to other Ebay Global Sites. Besides the U.S.A. site, there are Ebay sites in Canada, United Kingdom, and France that may be of interest to you. Just search for keyword "heels" ("talons" in the French site.) Also, check them periodically as the merchandise changes.

J.J. - January 6, 2002

hello my name is XXXX. i live in india, i am high heel lover and i myself wear highheels.i visited your web site and i am imperesed. i have a question to ask? i have problem in walking in highheels(6 inchs) i unable in balancing them. i want to know how do i walk in 6 inchs heels. my high is 5'2''. and i want to know "do men like girls who wear high heels" (that is for my boy friend.)

i hope you will answer my question.

MS - 14 Jan 2002

Super/Ultra High Heels

You did not mention your shoe size. You must have big feet in order to walk well in 6 inch heels (without platforms).

In my book and book excerpt (on this website), you can find written "for foot sizes 5 to 7, the 5 inch heel is the absolute maximum height for normal everyday walking (or the normal amount of walking an average person does everyday). 5 inch heels are like super high heels for petite women. For foot sizes 7 1/2 to 9 1/2, the 6 inch heel is the absolute maximum height for normal everyday walking. For foot sizes 10 or larger, the 7 inch heel is usually the maximum height for normal everyday walking. However, this applies to people with average sized toes only."

In lieu of shoe size, I often use the following (less accurate) guideline. "You need to be at least 5 feet tall in order to walk well in 5 inch heels, at least 5 feet 6 inches tall in order to walk well in 6 inch heels, and at least 6 feet tall in order to walk well in 7 inch heels." Since you mentioned that you are 5'2", I suggest that you limit yourself to 5 inch heels (or possibly, 5 1/2 inch heels).

If the feet are too small for the high heels, extreme pressure will be placed on the toes. The toes can become severely damaged and require surgery to repair. Furthermore, one can lose her ability to wear any high and mid-heels ever again.

If your feet are big enough, special training is usually required to master walking in 6 and 7 inch heels. There are various training methods.

The inability to balance oneself in high and ultra-high heels is usually because the foot arches are not high enough to match the height of the heels. Each foot arch must be strong enough (in the high arch position that the foot arches are forced into when wearing the heels) to support the person's entire body weight.

In regards to your second question "do men like girls who wear high heels", it seems to me that most (if not all) men like girls who wear high heels. However, men can also be sensitive to the occasion at hand. There are situations in which wearing ultra high heels is inappropriate. Also, there are some men who do not like their girlfriends and wives to wear high heels in public for various reasons.

J.J. - January 20, 2002

Your web site is very informative. I found your answers to be very thorough. Please, if you have time, respond to my email regarding the following:

I have a vision to offer shoes to women with large size feet. This desire comes from having experienced the difficulty and frustration in obtaining good looking, good wearing shoes ever since my foot grew to a size 10. Now my daughter and granddaughters suffer too with their size 11 feet. A grown woman will make do with plain boring shoes, but teenagers are thoroughly demoralized from having to wear "ugly" old lady type shoes. I want these shoes to be stylish, as well as comfortable, unlike the sparse offerings from most retailers. I am thinking that I should find a shoe manufacturer that is willing to work with designs (or has designs) for big foot women. I also think I'd need to find my own freelance shoe designer. Here are some of my questions:

1. What is the typical fee charged by freelance shoe designers?
2. What do manufacturers generally require for ordering specific shoe designs in terms of volume, cost? Would they be receptive to low numbers until I could get the business off and running?
3. If a manufacturer has some good designs, what are my chances of buying their product wholesale and being a reseller who works from the home (initially)?
4. How much should I be prepared to invest in such a venture?
5. What's the best way to start researching?

Any answers you can provide will be sincerely appreciated. I thank you in advance.

S. - 09 Feb 2002

Large Size High Heel Shoes

Historically, brick-and-mortar shoe stores in the United States of America have always carried women high heel shoes in sizes 5 1/2 to 10 (U.S.). There are many women with size 10 (U.S.) feet, but only a few with size 11 (U.S.) and larger. So, women's size 11 (U.S.) and larger high heel shoes are available from only a few retailers via mail order and Internet.

I have already addressed the business question once before on my Designer web page, that is linked to on my Contents web page (near the bottom). As for your money questions, it varies. Manufacturing costs depend on the quality of materials used and the particular shoe manufacturer involved.

The best quality shoes, but most expensive usually come from the European countries including England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Similar quality, but less expensive shoes come from South America including Argentina and Brazil. The least expensive shoes, that may also be of lesser quality, come from Asia including the People's Republic of China and Taiwan.

Note that if you order from overseas, you need to consider manufacturing and shipping time. It can take over 6 months to receive a bulk shipment of shoes.

Beware that is already addressing this large size high heel shoe issue. You can find their link on my Shopping and other web pages.

J.J. - February 11, 2002

"...Steve Madden designed new high heel boots that I felt were equally masculine and feminine. They had chunky 3 1/2 inch high heels and 1/2 inch platforms with big toe boxes..."

Would you happen to have a photo or drawing of these Steve Madden boots your describing?

Thank you-

JHM - 27 Feb 2002

Unisex High Heels

Note that I received this email is in regards to what I wrote about "male acceptance" on this Q & A web page (page 2) on November 18, 2001.

I first saw the boots worn by a teenage girl walking by me in New York (around 1998). From the front, they looked like a pair of black army (military) boots. They had rounded bubble toe boxes, just like army boots. However, they were missing laces and that is what caught my eye. Then, I noticed thin platforms that resembled the thick soles of army boots. They also surprisingly had thick chunky high heels.

I do not have a picture of the boots and could not find them on Steve Madden's current website. However, Steve Madden's current boot style "FREE" is similar.

The front part of the boot is very similar, but I think the heel was a little bit different. The inner portion of the heel was either thicker or slanted, like in current boot styles "BRICKK" and "BRIDGE". The outer portion of the heel was straight as in style "FREE", not flared as in styles "BRICKK" and "BRIDGE".

Alternatively, someone might be able to design a good pair of unisex high heel boots by simply adding chunky 3 1/2 inch heels to regular army boots. Good unisex styling is usually achieved by eliminating or equalizing both feminine and masculine characteristics.

J.J. - March 3, 2002

Dear JJ

Fascinating website and discussion. In your discussion of emails you make an observation between the difference of flexibilty between men and women stating that men must adopt some stretching device to wear very high heels and the deformation is permanent. There is absolutley no anotomical difference between the feet of men and women. ... I am size 40 (UK) and I wear women's boots of more masculine styles of between 3 and 5" and I have done so outside for more than 15 years with no problems of flexibility or acceptance. I think your book should take account more of the growing phenomenon of male heel wearing.

W.F. - 10 Mar 2002

Male Acceptance

Dear William,

[ In your discussion of emails you make an observation between the difference of flexibilty between men and women stating that men must adopt some stretching device to wear very high heels and the deformation is permanent. There is absolutley no anotomical difference between the feet of men and women. ]

I was obviously referring to "feet and ankles". Women can get up on their toes and do pointe ballet, while men can not without seriously injuring their feet and/or ankles. So, there must be a difference between women's feet and ankles and those of men. Any good ballet instructor will also tell you this.

However, you may prove this wrong by demonstrating your ability as a man to learn and do pointe ballet. Click here for more information about Pointe Ballet .

[ I am size 40 (UK) and I wear women's boots of more masculine styles of between 3 and 5" and I have done so outside for more than 15 years with no problems of flexibility or acceptance. I think your book should take account more of the growing phenomenon of male heel wearing. ]

I have never seen any man dressed as a male and wearing high heels in public in the U.S.A. (except in the BDSM scene and the movie "The Punisher"). There may be a "growing phenomenon of male heel wearing" in your country (United Kingdom), but not here in the U.S.A..

One of the greatest joys of life is looking at women wearing high heels. Unfortunately, I am not sure whether the same will ever be said of men.

However, I am a supporter of equality between women and men in every aspect of life. In regards to fashion in the U.S.A., there is currently a tremendous difference between what women and men wear. Women can be seen wearing everything, both feminine and masculine styles of clothing. However, men are not normally seen wearing feminine stuff including makeup, skirts, dresses, anklets and of course, high heels.

If women can wear high heels in public, then men should be able to (if they so desire). However, men should avoid feminine styles. The only style of high heels that will ever look appropriate on men are chunky ones, regardless of how fat or skinny the men are. High heels that are not chunky are simply too feminine for men to wear and certain to incite ridicule and laughter.

J.J. - March 17, 2002


Why am I asking, isn't a picture is worth a thousand words.

Could a wedge heel be acceptable as unisex high heels depending on how "chunky" the wedge is?

Thank you-
JHM - 21 Mar 2002

Unisex High Heels

A chunky wedge heel may work, but a plain chunky heel would be better.

1) Chunky heels are more pretty/handsome than wedge heels.

2) Chunky heels make nicer noise than wedges (on uncarpeted floors). One of the reasons that stilettos are so hot is that they make the nicest sound - "Click, click. Click, click. Click, click.". Women who wear stilettos want to be noticed. They want to turn heads. They want every eyeball in the neighborhood to be staring at them.

3) Wedge heels retard walking speed more than chunky heels. One of the things that amazed me was how fast girls were able to walk in those (1998) Steve Madden chunky high heel boots.

Back in the 1970's Disco era, there were multi-colored shoes with 3 inch heels and 2 inch platforms for men. You can see a guy wearing them in the movie "Saturday Night Fever". Those shoes did not wear well because they were "too heavy" to walk in. Women may want to be slowed down by their footwear, but not men.

The Steve Madden boots also offered 1/2 (or 3/4 inch) platforms and big toe boxes. Thin platforms that are not too heavy are really good as they help prevent calluses on the ball-of-the-feet, when walking outdoors. Big toe boxes provide more room for the toes and cause less problems. These would be very important features for men.

Also, these boots seemed to come only in black color, which is the best choice for men. All of these factors combined would of made them perfect as unisex high heel boots, had they been made and marketed as such.

J.J. - March 25, 2002


for years I'm serching for ashoemaker who's able to make 7 " heeled shoes without platforms. A few years ago I found Solanj in LA. But het quit at the moment I wanted to order. Can you help me to a skilled sheomaker anywhere in the world who's able to do this.

best regards
B.V., 1 Nov 2002

7 Inch High Heels

Dear B.V.,

Thanks for asking this question, as I now have a bit of additional information regarding 7 inch high heel shoes without platforms. If you have read my book, you may recall that this was the only heel height that Marcia could not quite master because her feet were not big enough.

However, there are real genetic women with feet that are big enough for 7 inch heels. Just look at the tall women in professional basketball, like 6'5" Lisa Leslie and 6'4" Rebecca Lobo of the WNBA.

Unfortunately, 7 inch high heel shoes without platforms are rarely worn. Perhaps, tall women feel that they are already tall enough.

7 inch high heel shoes without platforms force the feet into an almost vertical position, similar to feet doing ballet on pointe. However, the toes are bent, forming balls-of-feet as in regular shoes. These 7 inch heels can form an extremely sexy look with tall women, that is more commonly seen with petite women wearing 5 inch heels without platforms and women of average height wearing 6 inch heels without platforms.

If you visit all of the shoe stores listed at PGTS (listed on my LINKS web pages), you can find several stores that sell 7 inch high heel shoes without platforms. However, all of the shoes appear in the basic opera pump style with regular pointed toe boxes.

While some women have pointed feet, most women do not. 7 inch heels place a lot of extra pressure on the balls-of-feet and can crush the toes with regular pointed toe boxes and possibly, aggravate bunions.

So, these shoes are useless for most people or for novelty purposes only. These shoes can be worn only for very short periods of time (like a few minutes to an hour) without damaging the toes.

Also, depending on the size of the toes, one or two shoe sizes larger (than normal size) may be better. Some people have short toes, while some people have long toes. With 7 inch high heels without platforms, the balls-of-feet become shorter in length. So, the shorter the toes, the better. Women with long toes may find shoes that are one or two sizes larger to be better. They have to try all of the different sizes.

As mentioned in my book, it is possible to train to wear 6 and 7 inch high heels and walk well in them and even, use them as normal shoes. If this is what you are interested in, custom made high heel shoes with larger toe boxes (like long pointed and rounded ones) are usually necessary.

Merujan Matokyan of Solanj in Los Angeles was one of the most skilled custom high heel shoe makers in the world, having over 55 years of experience. Mr. Matokyan's shoes, even the 6 and 7 inch heels without platforms, were custom made to fit the feet perfectly in terms of length, width and toe box, so that they could be worn for long periods of time (like all night or even, a few days straight) with little or no discomfort (assuming one already had or developed high enough or strong enough feet arches to match the height of the heels). When Mr. Matokyan died, it was a huge lost to the fetish community.

However, there were and are other custom high heel shoe makers around the world. Also, in all likelihood, there will always be some of these custom high heel shoe makers to service the ever-growing fetish community.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to make good 7 inch high heel shoes without platforms that are truly wearable. Also, the higher the heel, the more important sizing matters. One little flaw in regards to sizing can make the shoes too painful to wear and useless. Furthermore, custom made ultra high heel shoes are costly, ranging from several hundred to a few thousand dollars (US) a pair.

So, I have always refrained from recommending any specific custom high heel shoemakers, unless I had some good, reliable and trustworthy information about them. See my CUSTOM web page for more information on how to locate them yourself.

Also, find some links on my web site to LaPiazza in Germany. While I do not endorse them, they offer an exotic selection of fetish high heels (that reminds me of Solanj) with some heels that approach 7 inches.

Since I wrote my book, more of the intermediate heights between 5 and 7 inch heels (like 5 1/4, 5 1/2, 5 3/4, 6 1/4, 6 1/2 and 6 3/4 inches) have appeared in the marketplace. These different heights may function or work better for some people.

If and when you locate a custom high heel shoemaker who will make your 7 or so inch heels without platforms, be sure to consider getting ankle straps (or ankle boots). With very high heels, ankle straps help immensely in walking and provide a safety measure for the ankles. They will also prevent a shoe from slipping off. Having a 7 inch heel shoe slip off of one foot, while wearing one on the other foot can be a recipe for disaster.

J.J. - November 3, 2002


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All About Wearing High Heels

This page was last edited on March 19, 2006.
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