High heels have been made from all kinds of materials throughout history. In the early years, leather and cowhide was preferred. As civilizations progressed, silk and patent leather were introduced, while cork and wood were utilized as cheap resources in times of war.[13] After the World Wars and the increase in production of steel, the actual heel was a piece of steel wrapped in some kind of material. This has enabled designers to make heels taller and skinnier without them snapping.[19] The soles below the ball of the foot of Ballroom shoes can also be made of materials like smooth leather, suede, or plastic. [20]
A 2001 survey conducted by researchers from Pennsylvania State University using 200 women found that 58% of women complained of lower back pain when wearing heels and 55% of women said they felt the worst overall back pain when wearing the highest heel.[23] The researchers explained that as heel height increases, the body is forced to take on an unnatural posture to maintain its center of gravity. This changed position places more pressure and tension on the lower lumbar spine which explains why the women complained of severe back pain at a higher heel length.
If you’ve never tried a thick, pillowy Hoka One One shoe, it’s hard to believe how light they can feel until you slide your foot into a pair. Great for recovery days or when you just need a break from harsh pounding against concrete, the Clifton 6 wraps your foot in foam and centers it over a thick slab of cushioning with a firm heel and soft forefoot. The shoe is slightly curved to help you roll through your stride. This year’s version is the lightest since the Clifton’s original release in 2014, but it is still a better shoe for long miles than speedwork. The upper has been redesigned in an engineered mesh to fit more smoothly and securely, with just enough structure to comfortably cradle your foot.
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Many styles of dance involve the usage of heels. Ballroom dancing shoes are designed for usage based on the style of dance being performed. International Standard Ballroom shoes for women are closed toed shoes with a 2 to 2.5 inch sturdy heel because steps are performed using the heel of the foot.[49] International Latin and American Rhythm shoes are open toed, strapped heels that are an average of 2.5 to 3 inches in height. These shoes have the least sturdiest heel because International Latin and American Rhythm styles are performed on the ball of the foot. Additionally, this style of shoe is designed with a flexible sole to allow for pointed feet. Lastly, American Smooth shoes are closed toed, flexible soled shoes that range in heel height from 2 to 2.5 inches. An additional non-traditional ballroom dance that uses heels is the Argentine Tango. While dancing the Argentine Tango, women often wear pointed heels ranging in 2 to 4 inches in height.[20] The higher the heel height, the more advanced in technique and ability a dancer is. The heels are used to change the overall stance of the woman by tilting the hips forward, making the stomach flatter and pushing the backside out. Additionally, the heels cause unsteadiness which forces women to dance on their toes and lean on their partner which adds to the fluidity of the movements. A relatively modern style of dance called Heels Choreography or Stiletto dance specializes in choreography that blends the styles of jazz, hip-hop and burlesque with the fusion of vogue movements and is performed using stilettos or high heels.[50] Some dancers such as Yanis Marshall specialize in dancing with high-heels.[51]
If you have flatter feet then running shoes with more cushioning is the way to go. Having extra material to absorb impact on ground strike will translate into more distance and less fatigue. Runners with a more neutral foot type can make selections that are considered more “middle of the road”. Make sure you also check the way that your old shoes wear on the outsole, this can tell you a lot about the way you step.
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