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Heels went out of fashion starting around 1810, and then in 1860 they returned at about two and a half inches. The Pinet heel and the Cromwell heel were both introduced during this time.[12] Their production was also increased with the invention and eventual mass production of the sewing machine around the 1850s. With sewing machines, yields increased as machines could quickly and cheaply "position[n] the heel, stitc[h] the upper, and attac[h] the upper to the sole."[9] This is also a prime example of how the popularity of heels interacts with the culture and technology of the time.
Fans of Adidas’s springy Boost foam quickly fell in love with the first Solarboost, one of this 2018’s best shoes. The updated SB19 packs the same cushiony-soft midsole as the brand’s Ultraboost, but beefs up support through the midfoot and adds a streamlined “tailored fiber” upper without adding weight or bulk. It also tacks on stabilizing guide rails to secure the heel at the midsole, which are intended to help the Achilles move freely and focus a runner’s energy forward. Our testers appreciated the original Solarboost’s solid energy return and support from the upper, though some felt like it could stand to be more breathable, which Adidas remedied in this version with new air mesh.
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Studies on foot shape have shown that women’s feet aren’t just smaller, narrower versions of male feet—there are differences in overall shape that affect shoe fit. Women’s feet tend to be comparatively wider in the forefoot, with a narrower heel. Running shoe makers take this statistical difference into mind when designing their shoes, and generally build their shoes with different heel shapes and sometimes different heel materials between the two models of the same shoe. Companies like Altra, with its Fit4Her technology, specifically design shoes that anatomically mirror a woman’s foot.
In the UK in 2016 temporary receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home unpaid after she refused to follow the dress code of firm Portico. Thorp launched an online petition calling for the UK government to "make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work".[37] Two parliamentary committees in January 2017 decided that Portico had broken the law; by this time the company had already changed its terms of employment.[38][39] The petition was rejected by the government in April 2017 as they stated that existing legislation was "adequate".[40] Existing legislation allows women to be required to wear high heels, but only if it is considered a job requirement and men in the same job are required to dress to an "equivalent level of smartness".[41]

In a 1992 study, researchers from the University of California, Davis and Thomas Jefferson University wanted to investigate the effects of increased heel height on foot pressure using forty-five female participants walking across a pressure plate in various heel heights.[24] A Biokinetics software was used to analyze the exact pressure locations on and along each participants' foot. The researchers were able to conclude that an increase in heel height lead to an increase in pressure beneath each of the Metatarsal bones of the foot. Additionally, they found that the highest heel heights caused constant pressure that could not be evenly dispersed across the foot.


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Researchers have also found that because women tend to have wider hips than men, our feet are more likely to strike the ground toward the outside of our shoe soles. The inward rolling of the foot that results from this is known as pronation, which explains why more women are believed to overpronate than men. Some women’s running shoes account for this increased tendency with different materials used for support through the sole.
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