Q&A: Impractical Footwear

Would wearing high heels be a good tactical strategy for a female combatant? Because stilettos have a sharp point at the end that can poke somebody’s eye out, right? Tell me if this is logical or impractical.

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It’s impractical. So, in order, “no,” and, “yes, but still impractical.”

There’s some history here. High heels started as an evolution from men’s cavalry boots. So, there was a practical application: a slightly raised heel would grip into the stirrup more securely than a flat sole would. These went from combat wear, to men’s fashion, to women’s fashion, where the height of the heel increased dramatically. You could think of them as a 17th century version of all those stolen hoodies.

You’ll still see a slightly raised heel on things like motorcycle or cowboy boots, and those can be practical combat wear, but we’re talking about a 1 inch heel at most (see above.) Unlike high heels, these won’t disrupt the user’s balance, and they will provide protection to the foot itself, from casual injury. Again, these are practical considerations for their use, if you need to lock your foot into a stirrup, a raised heel will help you do that.

Ask any bouncer who’s had the job long enough, and you’ll find stories about drunken women trying to take each other’s eyes out with stiletto heels. This happens. They’ll take the shoe off and try to brain someone with it. As an improvised weapon, it’s not great. Wouldn’t recommend.

I mentioned this, but high heels shift your balance. They force the hips forward, increasing the curve of the spine, and pushing the chest out. Women’s high heels are about modifying the wearer’s posture to make them more attractive. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to run or fight in them, just that you’ll almost certainly wish you weren’t. In fact, if someone is in a dangerous situation wearing high heels, in most cases they’re better off removing them and going barefoot. (Yes, breaking the heel is, technically, an option, though it has it’s own issues.)

So, what you’re describing is impractical. If your character is planning for trouble, they’re better off in flats.

-Starke

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