Wearing High Heel Shoes: Definite Health Risks, Any Benefits?

A commentary by James Edwin Gibson

Some workplaces require women to wear high heel shoes. Many women dislike the requirement.

“More than 19,000 people in Japan” have signed “a petition to ban the requirement” according to a recent CNN article.[*] Numerous other news sources also have reported on this petition, which apparently continues to get signatures online.

Employers at various organizations in other countries than Japan also require high heels for female workers. I strongly feel that such requirements need to be eliminated. 

Why I Oppose High Heel Shoes 

I remember watching women struggle to walk in high-heeled shoes. I remember women talking about how their feet hurt at the end of the day after wearing high heels for several hours. Why should women punish themselves this way?

What is the purpose of a shoe? It seems to me that the main purposes of shoes are protecting one’s feet and making it easier to walk and stand. Low-heeled shoes seem much better suited for this.

I think high-heeled shoes seem to be uncomfortable to wear, unsafe to walk in, and inappropriate to wear while driving a car. Furthermore, over the long term they can cause several problems for your feet—assuming you don’t fall and suffer a severe accident in the short term wearing them.

I am not a medical professional and cannot give any medical advice. But if you like, you can research online and find numerous articles either written by medical professionals or that quote medical professionals, which report on the safety hazards of high-heeled shoes. 

Choosing to Wear High Heels 

Women enjoy the right to wear suitable shoes of their choice. But I wonder why so many choose to frequently wear high heel shoes (also called high-heeled shoes). A lot of women wear high-heeled shoes to church services (and other activities). Why does a Christian woman (or anyone) wear high heels?

Can anyone cite any medical benefit to the average person from wearing high heels? Is there any reason for the average lady to wear high heels other than fashion? Is the desire to look fashionable the big appeal? If some fashion show (whether in Paris or in your hometown) portrays specific styles as being “in” this season, will women in your neighborhood rush in droves to buy the newly fashionable shoes? Please seek to resist the temptation.

I urge women to revolt peacefully against the persons/traditions/forces that lead them to purchase and wear high-heeled shoes. Instead, buy and wear comfortable walking shoes. 

Closing Thoughts 

I am thankful men typically do not wear high heels. I personally have never worn them other than trying them on briefly. I hope the day will come soon when no employer finds high heels necessary for female employees. If your job requires them, you have my sympathy. I hope your employer reads this chapter and changes the requirement.

There are various theories on how high heels originated and why they became popular. You can find numerous articles online about the subject if it interests you. For my purposes here, I find it sufficient to state that I do not know of a logical reason (other than orders from an employer or someone else) for modern women to insert their feet into them at all. I certainly see no reason for ladies to wear them for hours daily while walking, working typical jobs, driving a car, or relaxing.

Indeed, I know of no good reason for buying or wearing high heel shoes unless an employer requires it (which seems discriminatory and is hopefully relatively rare here in the United States). However, I am a man. Perhaps as a member of the male gender there is something I fail to understand on this topic.

Some women who wear high-heeled shoes at least sometimes and gave me feedback on their reason(s) for wearing them seemed to basically offer three reasons for wearing high heels: (1) to satisfy a job requirement, (2) to appear taller, and/or (3) to look more attractive. I sympathize with the job issue and hope employers will change that requirement, as I stated earlier. But I respectfully feel that the other two reasons do not justify undertaking the health risks of high heels.

If you know of a good reason for wearing high-heeled shoes, please write to tell me about it and why you think it is a good reason. Thanks! 


[*] Wakatsuki, Yoko and Westcott, Ben; “Japanese minister: High heels for women at work are ‘occupationally necessary and appropriate’ ”; CNN; updated June 6, 2019; website accessed June 8, 2019; other online websites also have articles about this issue.) 


This piece is being submitted to Craft News Report on June 8, 2019. It is adapted and updated from a chapter in the author’s book True Christianity: It May Not Be What You Think. The author has also written on this issue for other websites in the past. 

Copyright © 2019 James Edwin Gibson. James is the author of the books True Christianity: It May Not Be What You Think (2014, second edition 2015, third edition 2017) and Several True (I Think) Stories: Can Truth Be Stranger Than Fiction? (2016, second edition 2017). You may contact James at regarding this column. James thanks his friend Paul for publishing it on his website, thanks you all for reading, and hopes you all enjoy God’s blessings!