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High heels in middle school?

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

High-stepping before high school

It's the look, the trend, THE thing to do. Or is it? Wearing high heels is not necessarily a fashion must-have look for middle school this season!

High-stepping before high school

As if the beginning teen-aged years weren't hard enough, add in learning to walk in high heels while balancing a slew of new textbooks and you'll have one fashion-overwhelmed teen.

Middle school is a time of change --  in bodies, awareness, friends and attitudes. As middle-school girls grow and develop, they typically feel self conscious and insecure. For some, wearing high heels helps quell these inhibitions and imparts an added sense of confidence.

Natasha, a 12-year-old entering seventh grade this fall, says that heels make her taller and feel more "grown up." Her mom accepts this and only asks that she wear heels cautiously (due to some obvious safety concerns) and in good taste (she's not a fan of stilettos).

While this example isn't what we'd call a "preoccupation," evidence suggests that wearing high heels is a result of the sexualization of girls in US culture. The 2007 report from the American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, cites doll manufacturers, prime-time television, the Internet and peer pressure as major conduits of unrealistic physical expectations.

Even this report does not negate the fact that wearing high heels, even in middle school, does have some aesthetic advantages:

  • They change the angle of the foot and accentuate the calves.
  • they change the wearer's posture, requiring a more upright carriage
  • they make the wearer appear taller
  • they make the legs appear longer
  • they make the foot appear smaller

This list of advantages is usually enough for your average middle school girl; however, wearing this trendy footwear exacts a price. Experts do not recommend wearing high heels frequently or for too long, because this may result in foot ache, blisters, corns etc. Furthermore, wearing high heels can permanently damage the foot and calf muscles and lead to varicose veins and edema.

The good news is that the fashion forecast calls for heels that minimize the negatives. If you and your middle school girl determine that heels are acceptable to a mutually agreeable degree, here are some things to keep in mind before your purchase:

  • Choose high-heeled shoes with round, open toes and square toes; they're more comfortable than pointed toes.
  • A chunky or wedge heel is more comfortable and easier to walk in than a stiletto or pointed heel.
  • A thick sole also allows you to wear higher heels and is more comfortable than a slim sole.
  • Add an insole to the shoe for more comfort.
  • Have your daughter learn to walk in them before the first day she wears them.

Walking in high style is fun and flattering for your middle-school daughter -- just be sure she does so with good taste and caution.

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