As an orthopedic surgeon, our co-founder, Fernando Peña, knows that every foot is unique. While this presents challenges for footwear, his knowledge of the human anatomy has been instrumental in crafting heels that are designed to work with the intricacies of your foot to create the most comfortable high heels on the market. He also knows many women struggle with wearing high heels because most heels aren’t created with women’s comfort in mind. Given these past experiences, you may have questions and concerns about wearing heels. We spoke to Dr. Peña to answer some of the common questions from our customers.

How can high heels be comfortable?

We cannot forget that the human foot was designed to work on a plantigrade position (flat on the ground). Anything away from that forces the foot to a different loading pattern that will require compensation and adjustments for the positioning to be sustainable. The trick is to understand how the foot mechanics change while wearing heels and to compensate for the potential issues.

Do high heels cause foot damage?

The key when wearing heels, like so many things, is moderation and amount of exposure. We have learned through the Mediterranean diet that a glass of red wine a day is protective for cardiovascular diseases. Well, I can assure you that a bottle of red wine a day will be harmful to your health. Heels are no different. If worn in moderation, while allowing the foot to rest in between wearing episodes, heels are not detrimental to the health of your feet. I am not aware of a single scientific article claiming that heels are harmful.

What are the long-term effects on your feet of wearing high heels?

This goes back to the exposure factor. If worn constantly, eventually your heel cord (Achilles tendon) may suffer some shortening which will make you prone to plantar fasciitis. The premature development of bunions is also related to an excessive use of pointy high heels. The key to avoid these side effects is moderation.

Can high heels be worn if you are standing all day?

Yes. Standing in high heels all day does not necessarily mean that you are causing damage to your feet. The amount of time will be driven by the level of comfort and the quality of shoes.

Are high heels bad for your back?

Not necessarily. Your center of gravity changes when you wear heels. That means that your legs and back work differently, but it is highly unlikely that you will experience problems with your lower back and lower extremities if heels are worn in moderation.

Can high heels cause knee pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis or other common leg problems?

The human body needs a certain level of flexibility and strength to operate pain free. Any shortcomings in those areas will create aches and pains. When we are young, we have plenty of flexibility and strength to avoid discomfort. As we get older, that balance becomes more and more critical. This goes back to the amount of time per week that heels are being worn. If the amount of time with heels is excessive AND there are not compensatory exercises to prevent the change in flexibility and strength, then heels may play a role in discomfort through the lower extremities.

How should high heels fit?

The main recommendation is to make sure that you feel balanced. Your feet should not be in pain — including the toes and the ball of your feet — and more importantly, you should feel safe and well balanced. Even the most comfortable high heels being worn by a person not used to wearing heels could lead to a day or night of pain or discomfort. Like any new environment to our bodies, a period of breaking-in is very much encouraged and critical to increase the chances for success by making the body build up the strength and balance required to wear high heels.