Do Men Really Find High Heels Sexier? Here’s The Scientific Explanation


The short answer is yes, high heels do have power over men. Nicholas Gueguen from the department of social behavior at the University of Bretagne conducted three experiments to find out what exactly make women in high heels more attractive. Here are the details.

Experiments were conducted using French women identically dressed in black suits with straight skirts and white shirts.

Most were also all brunettes: because previous studies showed that men were more likely to approach blonde women over brunettes and ask them out on dates. The only differences between the women were their shoes.

Gueguen dangled these women as science bait in front of unsuspecting men.

A 19-year-old woman approached men between ages 25 and 50, asking for their help with a survey.

She garnered the most responses when she wore the highest heels.

83% of the men she approached agreed to spend three to four minutes answering her questions,

47% responded when she wore flat shoes.

On a second experiment, researchers tried to find out whether women would react the same way to women in high heels.

This time, four women asked both men and women to participate in a food survey about what they ate. Again, men were more likely to respond when the women wore higher heels.

82% agreed to do the survey when the women wore 3.5 inch heels,

42% when they wore flats.

But ladies didn't fall for it...

Only about 33% of women on average said yes to the survey request, regardless of the heel height.

Why were men more receptive to the women in high heels?

"To test the obvious attraction hypothesis," Gueguen told the women to find “marks” and walk ahead of them, then drop a glove. A whopping 93% of men chased after the women when they wore high heels to return the glove, compared to 62% of those who did when she wore flat shoes. And while women were also more likely to track down the high-heeled women than those wearing flats, the rates were much lower:

52% for the heel wearers and
43% for the flats wearers.

And lastly, researchers wanted to see if high heels could actually make men more likely to pursue the wearers as mates.

The research team strategically placed women wearing different heel heights in three bars, seating them at tables near the bar where their shoes were visible to those standing at the counter and perusing the field. On average, it took men only 7.49 minutes to approach women wearing the high heels. For those wearing flat shoes, it took nearly twice as long: 13.54 minutes.

The research confirms that “men tend to use physical attributes as a way to gauge women’s attractiveness and to find potential mates.”

“As a man I can see that I prefer to see my wife when she wears high heels and many men in France have the same evaluation,” Gueguen writes.

Well, what exactly is so sexy about high heels?

Gueguen argues that the representations of “attractiveness” in media has a key role.

Apart from that, high heels make women’s hips sway, so they look more feminine and sexy.

But in the study, even when the women in high heels  were seated, they were approached by more men.

“The results showed that high heels were associated with greater sexiness, overall physical attractiveness, breast attractiveness, beauty, attractiveness to other men, and willingness for a date,” Gueguen writes.

However, remember that high heels can cause back pain and increase the risk of ankle injuries. Wearing high heels for a long period of time can even permanently shorten calf tendons.

It all sounds like a lot of risk to take, but women don’t seem to want to give up on high heels anytime soon. Don’t you think?

Sources: 1, 2

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