When I taught biomechanics, I used to ask a question about the impact of heel height on the determinants of gait. There is a rather interesting literature on the kinematics of walking in high heels, let alone the sociobiological interpretations of the changes in kinematics, most of which is evolutionary nonsense (the science, that is). Now, someone has added to that body of literature:
Foot Ankle Int. 2013 Feb;34(2):273-81. doi: .1177/1071100712465817. Epub 2013 Jan 10. Effect of shoe heel height and total-contact insert on muscle loading and foot stability while walking.
In short, these authors looked at the impact of total-contact inserts (TCIs, usually used in running shoes) on biomechanics and comfort of walking in high heels. The paper is a hoot, from the methods:
Fifteen inexperienced high heel wearers walked under 6 test conditions formed by the cross-matching of shoe insert (with and without TCI) and heel height (1.0, 5.1, and 7.6 cm) at a speed of 1.3 m/s.
The results, however, suggested that the inserts improved comfort (p <.001) and stability (through various measures of EMG and kinematics).
Ha! Must get me a pair.