What is the right heel height for men that wear heels?
There are two aspects to this question, first a bio-mechanical one and secondly a more sociological one.
Let's get the bio-mechanics out of the way first. I'll use the biological sex male and female here for clarity. A human male foot (on average) is wider than a female foot, which also means that some male feet are the same width as female feet. The length of a male foot (on average) is longer than that of a female, though again there are a number of males who have feet which are the same length as female feet. The consequence of some male feet being as wide and as long as a female foot is that they can comfortably wear shoes which were intended for wear by females. The consequence of male feet being generally larger than females feet is that they can, comfortably accommodate heels which are higher than would normally be worn by females, especially as the length of the foot increases.
So from a bio-mechanical point of view, it's largely a question of how big your foot is and the condition/flexibility of your muscles & tendons as to what shoe and heel height is right for you. In the end you'll find that a process of trial and error will get you to the point where you find out what the maximum height is that you can comfortably wear. Everything in-between that and flat heels are what are right for you (from a bio-mechanical point of view anyway). We're ignoring, for the sake of positivity and fashion all of the medical reasons why high heels are bad for you (sorry doc)!
If you want to get scientific about it you can use the Perfect Heel Height (PHH) Calculator which offers a mathematical way to figure out what your maximum comfortable heel height should be.
From a sociological perspective, it's a whole other ball-game. It's a simple fact... you can't please everyone with what you wear, or don't wear. It's always either too much, or not enough for someone. The same applies to what heels you wear. For some they are too high, too much (fetishy/stripper) for others, not high enough, the wrong style, or the heels are not slim enough.
For many men who wear heels they do it out of rebellion against outdated social norms which want us to conform to given stereotypes. If we try and accommodate the too much/not enough judgement, we're simply swapping one type of conformity for another. That just doesn't make sense. You can keep your judgement, thank you.
As the proverb says... "Judge not, lest ye be judged". Give yourself a self-check here. Do you openly judge other people for what they wear? Would you want that same judgement cast back in your direction? I'd guess not. It's time to stop judging other people for what they wear.
It is true that in the movement to degender fashion we throw around the mantra of "Clothes and shoes have no gender", but it can also be argued that clothes are imbued with gendered, raced and classed cultural meaning (Lipton et al), though we can see from historical records that this meaning is flexible and has changed frequently over time. Women were judged and ridiculed for wearing pants towards the start of the 20th century, but they are now socially normalised. It's not beyond our imagination to see a world in which all clothing is more normalised between the sexes, it just needs open minds.
What is right for you from a sociological perspective? It largely comes down to what you personally feel comfortable and confident with wearing on any given day. Some of that might be influenced by your current mood, what you have planned for your day, what the weather is doing and who you'll meet. Your comfort zone may be tested here, but that's ok. You might find that being in a comfort zone is not the best thing for you anyway. Are you too much or not enough? Women in particular (yes, and "some men") unjustly live with this dichotomy constantly and can guide us as a good measure of what can be considered too much or not enough when it comes to what we wear in any given situation. As always, those boundaries can be tested and expanded, but we can also use women's fashion and style as a guide for men for avoiding any potential judgement or criticism whether it's warranted or not. There's plenty of style inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest
So, in summary, what is right for you is what you're comfortable and confident in, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Posted: 20 October 2022