If you’ve ever wondered whether there’s a right way and a wrong way to measure high heels, then you’re right.
Unfortunately the demonstration given above is the wrong way to measure heel height.
The right way to measure heels is to simply measure a straight line from the ground to the bottom of the sole at the mid point of the top of the shoe’s back. Like this:
When measuring a single-sole shoe you can ignore the height of the sole because it is the same at the toe area as it is at the heel.
The picture above demonstrates this. By applying the correct measuring method to the high heels above shows that they have exactly 6 inch heels.
Perhaps surprisingly, not everyone measures heel height quite like this although it is the most common way to go about it.
Zappos, for instance, has a diagram showing measurements being made directly along the length of the heel, rather than as a vertical drop.
Former Australian retailer Shoes of Prey used to measure heels by ignoring the height of the heel cap (which is the small bit on the very bottom of the heel). Again, this was not the most common method.
If heels are measured diagonally (as shown above) then the heel height measured will be greater than the true “rise” of the heel.
Measuring the height of platform heels
Platform heels are measured in the same way as ordinary “single sole” heels, however you also measure the platform height and usually give both measurements.
For example, a heel might be described as a 6 inch heel with a 2 inch platform. The difference between the two figures gives the true rise (in this case 4 inches).
You can see an extreme example of measuring platform heels on the gigantic platform shoes below.
Heel height will change with shoe size
Finally, it is worth noting that the advertised heel height for a particular shoe will usually vary depending on the size of that shoe model that you purchase.
Varying the heel height this way makes sense because it keeps the same pitch and proportions of the heel no matter what the size.
Often, but not always, manufacturers will not just list the heel size but will also state what size that measurement was taken on (usually a US 7 or 8 but this can vary too).
This is common practice, so you shouldn’t get too upset if your heel height varies from that advertised.