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Tuesday, 6 March, 2001, 17:00 GMT
Feet suffer for fashion
High-heels are worn by many women
High-heels are worn by many women
One in five women suffer painful feet because they wear shoes to please partners or employers, according to researchers.

And with kitten heels, cone heels and wedges all destined to fill shoe-shop shelves this year, the survey showed fashion still plays a large part in dictating what women wear on their feet, despite the fact they could be risking long-term problems.

One in ten will wear uncomfortable shoes if they look good, according to the survey carried out by researchers from the St Barnabas Clinic in Oxford, who surveyed over 160 women.

For many, the sense of empowerment and improved self-esteem gained from wearing high-heels and other fashion shoes outweighs concerns over foot health

Philip Joyce,
The results, published in the British Journal of Podiatry, show that although women follow fashion, only one in three like wearing high-heels.

Women in the UK have little respect for their feet, the survey showed.

Just one in three identified a clear link between footwear choice and foot health.

Over 80% would not change the type of shoes they wore solely to improve a problem.

And one in six thought a correctly fitting shoe pressed the toes together.

The researchers say, given their findings, they estimate three out of four women may have a serious foot problem by the time they reach their sixties.

Fashion 'the priority'

Women's commitment to fashion over fit extends to finding shoes for their children.

The Oxford survey found almost half thought there was no need for children over eight to have their feet expertly measured when they go to buy new shoes.

They thought children should be able to wear fashionable shoes from that age, although the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists warn the bones in children's feet are not fully developed until they are 18.

Philip Joyce, the podiatrist who led the research, said: "Fashion has a strong influence on the choices we make, and for many, the sense of empowerment and improved self-esteem gained from wearing high-heels and other fashion shoes outweighs concerns over foot health.

"Improvements in women's foot health are only likely when healthy, well-fitting shoes become a norm for society, within or without the realms of fashion.

"However, there is little evidence to suggest that shoe manufacturers give foot health a high priority."

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See also:

20 Sep 99 | Health
Platform shoes pose health risk
08 Jun 99 | Health
Children's feet at risk
11 Mar 98 | UK
The sole of London
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Homage to Imelda's shoes
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