“Despite the widespread use of high-heeled footwear in both developing and modernized societies, we lack an understanding of this behavioral phenomenon at both proximate and distal levels of explanation.”
Prompting the development a new (experimentally-tested) hypothesis by David M. G. Lewis, Eric M. Russell, Laith Al-Shawaf, Vivian Ta, Zeynep Senveli, William Ickes and David M. Buss, presented in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, Nov. 2017.
“[…] we hypothesized that high heels influence women’s attractiveness via effects on their lumbar curvature. Independent studies that employed distinct methods, eliminated multiple confounds, and ruled out alternative explanations showed that when women wear high heels, their lumbar curvature increased and they were perceived as more attractive. Closer analysis revealed an even more precise pattern aligning with human evolved psychology: high-heeled footwear increased women’s attractiveness only when wearing heels altered their lumbar curvature to be closer to an evolutionarily optimal angle.”
Note: The authors cite the work of Ig Nobel Physics Prize winners (2009) Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for analytically determining why pregnant women don’t tip over. Ref. “Fetal Load and the Evolution of Lumbar Lordosis in Bipedal Hominins,” Nature, vol. 450, 1075-1078 (December 13, 2007).
Also see: Heel thyself (The Guardian, Nov. 2014)