Do daughters inherit the ability to walk in high heels?

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A woman’s ability to walk well in high heels is inherited from her mother, new research suggests.

Balance, poise and even choice of heel height are all passed on through the maternal line, says fashion store Debenhams.

Debenhams’ Head of Accessories Design Natelle Baddeley said: “Whether its genetics or training in teenage years, we may never know, but it’s clear that the saying ‘like mother like daughter’ applies to walking in heels.”

Debenhams said that the striking links between a mother and daughter’s taste in high heels were revealed during their recent customer research into consumer trends. When asked about their perfect choice of high heeled shoes, women who were unrelated produced a wide range of answers, showing enormous statistical variance in heel height, style and colour.

Mothers and daughters however, differed in their answers on all three topics by only a few percentage points, with a well-heeled 92% having matching answers.

Despite having a multitude of colours, styles and heel heights to choose from, each chose shoes which bore a remarkable resemblance to the other.

Daughters who loved four inch heels had mothers who also loved four inch heels.

When questioned on their favourite colour of shoes, 79% had the same answer. Mothers who loved striking reds had daughters who also loved striking reds.

Daughters who loved extremely narrow pointed heels, had mothers who loved extremely narrow pointed heels.

However the most striking evidence suggesting a maternal link for the ability to wear high heels well emerged during crucial walk tests.

A towering 87% of mothers who could stride confidently across a room in a wide range of heel heights had daughters who could do the same. However, mums with limited heel height skills had, alas, passed this deficit onto their offspring.

Said Debenhams Natelle Baddeley: “The correlation was striking. We could almost pick out who was mother and daughter in a crowd just by the similarities as they walked in high heels.

“Even though we now know that a link exists, we still don’t know what causes it.

“Is it genetics? Or do young girls become accustomed to and copy their mother’s tastes in shoes simply by wearing them during “dressing up” as a child?

“Our research suggests that all daughters are destined to literally step into their mother’s shoes as they grow older.”

Debenhams research was conducted individually, so that choice in shoe style could be made free from an accompanying partner.
The small differences between a mother and daughter’s tastes were most pronounced when the daughter was below the age of twenty, but converged again as they grew older.

The link between mother and daughters extends across all demographics, including celebrities. Even Suri Cruise, daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, has shoes which bears a remarkable resemblance to those worn by her mum – which, Katie says, her daughter chooses herself. More on that story here.

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