Sunday, April 10, 2011

Supporters walk a mile in heels & flip flops

Yesterday marked the first day of a new annual event to promote sexual assault awareness and to honor women who have survived sexual assault. The event was created by Kalyne Weisplatt and sponsored by the Santa Cruz sheriff's department. I discovered it by this news article by KION 46/FOX 35 news. This is an honorable cause I do not want to disparage that cause in any way, so please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say. 
A figure from The Barefoot Book
showing the effect of heels on body
weight distribution. Adpated from
Rossi (2001).

When I first read the headline I thought, “What on earth could this be? A mile in heels?” After reading the article, I understood their cause (which I applaud), but I think their method could do more to raise awareness for the barefooting cause than sexual assault.
As I read the article, one line in particular caught my eye: “They [the organizers] had decorated flip-flops for guys who couldn't walk a mile in heels.” Am I the only one who reads this statement as a red flag for heels?

In addition to raising awareness about sexual assault, I think this event raises some questions about footwear:

• Should women be wearing shoes all day that a man cannot tolerate for one mile?

• WHY can’t men walk a mile in heels? Is it because walking in heels is so unnatural that it takes substantial practice to master? Is this why women suffer from knee arthritis 4x more often than men? Is this why women have bunions more often than men?

• Should our society discourage the use of heels by women? Over 20,000 women/year end up in hospitals because of high heels.

Next year, I think they should forget the flip flops and have the men walk in heels, too. In fact, maybe THAT would be a good event for us barefooters to hold. What do you think?


  1. Wow I'm amazed at how far the leg tilts forward! I've had this debate with many women. I even had one tell me her doctor told her to wear heels while pregnant, that it would help her back pain!!!!!

  2. Yes - I think that women should NOT be wearing those types of shoes at all. I gave up my heels when I transitioned to a more natural lifestyle. I get some admiring looks and positive comments when I walk through Chicago barefoot sporting my hot pink nail polish.

    P.S.: I am loving your book about Barefooting, Professor.

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Welcome to The Barefoot Professor blog, intelligent talk about running, walking and living barefoot. I encourage your comments, even if you disagree with me. In this spirit I don't even moderate the comments. However, PLEASE use critical thinking skills when leaving comments, and avoid inflammatory words. Please keep your comments short and to-the-point. THANKS.