Friday, November 12, 2010

The Physics of High Heels

I, of course, have zero clue on what's involved in wearing high heels, and I don't plan on changing that any time soon. Still, out of curiosity, I read this article because, frankly, it had crossed my mind how many of these women, especially in the entertainment business, not only could walk, but also dance wearing such high heels. Just go to a typical Broadway musical, for example, and see the moves these women could make while in these pumps.

"Many of my physicist colleagues have no trouble understanding quantum mechanics but can't figure out how women can wear high heels," admitted Dr. Laura Grant, a physicist from Liverpool University.

Yet the recipe for safe stilettos seems fairly straightforward: Two parts sacrifice and a dash of solid steel, said Fred Allard, creative director for Nine West, one of the world's largest manufacturers of women's shoes.

Well, even after reading this whole article, I don't think it has made a sufficient argument that such a thing is "stable". Rather, it is more of having the "skill" to be able to wear these things, very much like being able to ride a bicycle. At some point, after you wear it often enough, you learn how to balance in them.

I'd like to hear from women physicists and engineers on what they think of the physics of these high heels.