Running in high heels – yeah, there’s a study on that

I think we can all agree that high heels are impractical for running and will increase muscular fatigue, but Chinese researchers tried to determine just how much by asking female subjects to run on a treadmill, wearing high-heeled shoes with a variety of heights.

The higher the heel, the slower you'll run, study finds.
The higher the heel, the slower you’ll run, study finds.

The results of a new Chinese study on the effects of running in high heels aren’t exactly uplifting – or surprising: Running in high heels directly increases energy consumption and causes neuromuscular fatigue.

Thirteen women took part in this study, running on a treadmill in shoes with a heel height of 1, 4.5 or 7 cm. The analysis revealed that oxygen consumption and energy expenditure increased with the rise in heel height. When the heel height topped out at 7 cm, the values rose significantly.

“People are often being in a hurry [sic] state to adapt to quickening of life pace,” the study’s intro reads. “Therefore, jogging with high-heeled shoes becomes an unavoidable situation … Information about jogging under high-heeled shoes condition would be important to the modern life women.”

Makes you wonder how much extra energy consumption was going on at Toronto’s StyleSense Stiletto Sprint, where four-inch heels were the minimum requirement.