How shoes affect behavior

Among all the influences that affect your well-being today, shoes may be the deciding factor.

While high heels are orthopedically harmful to the arches and the tendons in the feet and legs, they do exert one beneficial effect for women: A study in France demonstrates that men are more likely to act helpfully toward women wearing high heeled shoes.

The study at Université de Bretagne-Sud shows that high heels are an important influence that shape how men treat women and make judgments of them. In the initial phase of the study, the French researchers observed what took place when women in flat shoes or high heels approached individuals and requested answers to a survey.

The research showed that men’s helpfulness and willingness to answer the survey questions was directly linked to the height of the female survey-taker’s heels. On the other hand, the height of the heels did not influence the helpfulness of other women.

Next, the researchers had women drop a glove and see if men would pick it up for them. The men were more likely to pick up the glove for women with high heels on.

For the last part of the study, the researchers discovered that men drinking in a bar started conversations more quickly with women wearing high heels than they would with women wearing flat shoes.

“Women’s shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men’s behavior,” says researcher Nicolas Guéguen. He says that the results of his research demonstrate that men continually concentrate on women’s physical traits when they interact and make judgments about women.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.