“Stilettos are sexy,” say scientists – and leading shoe designers agree

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Stilettos are sexyHigh heels are sexy, in case you didn’t know.But there’s no need to take our word for it. In 2012, the scientific journal Evolution & Human Behaviour published the results of experiments which examined the basis of the strong contemporary association between high heels and female sexuality.

The investigators (Paul H Morris et al) examined the hypothesis that one motivation for women wearing high heels is that it artificially increases the femininity of their gait. They showed point light videos of women walking in both flat shoes and high heels to participants and asked the participants to judge attractiveness.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the participants judged the women wearing heels as “significantly more attractive” than those walking in flats. Biomechanical analyses which were conducted revealed that wearing high heels led to an increased femininity of gait including a reduced stride length and increased rotation and tilt of the hips.

The investigators concluded that high heels exaggerate sex specific aspects of female gait and that women walking in high heels could be regarded as a “supernormal stimulus.” This confirms what shoe designers have been saying for years: stilettos are sexy.

We’ve assembled high heel quotes from several leading shoe designers explaining how they say stiletto heels truly make women feel special and look divine. Our collection of high heel quotes is below.

Giuseppe Zanotti

“In a flat you can feel beautiful, but a stiletto changes your mood, how you move—like a wild, beautiful animal.”

-to Harper’s Bazaar, April 2014

 Cesare Casadei

“[A high heel] has imagination. For men, this is unknown territory, it’s a highly feminine thing. It gives you goose bumps, the hair stands up on your arms. If you see a woman dressed to kill, wearing high heels, you understand that she can metamorphose, transform herself, that she has enormous power.”

– interview with Massimo Torrigiani, Casadei website

Christian Louboutin

“One moves more slowly in heels. Walking fast is neither sexy nor engaging. Nobody notices the people who race around. If you’re walking in heels, you’ve got time. It’s much more attractive.”

– Answering “Why are high heels so sexy?” Marie Claire interview, February 2012

Manolo Blahnik

“The first thing men look at are a woman’s legs, and there is nothing more flattering than high heels.”

– Interview with Vogue, September 2010


Image credit: the platform cowhide sandals shown above are available from Milanoo.