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High Heel Hurt

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Feet bear the brunt of daily life, and for many workers prolonged standing, badly fitted footwear, and in particular high heels can be a hazard. Around two million days a year are lost through sickness as a result of lower limb disorders.
— 2009 motion from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists to the Trade Union Congress.

What's not to love about high heels? They're stylish, they make you taller, they shape the legs and produce a unique stride.


Well, as far as she's concerned? Lots.

They're also a tremendous pain in the ass. It's easy to stumble, the heel snaps like a twig, they make your back, legs, and feet sore, and good luck dancing or walking for long periods of time in them.

This trope is when high heels are treated as cumbersome or unpleasant and more trouble than they're worth. This can be either through the characters openly complaining about wearing heels, or by showing characters being obviously encumbered by them. It is often Played for Laughs.

This trope can show up as part of a tomboy's Femininity Failure. Subtrope of Fashion Hurts and Agony of the Feet, and sister trope to Of Corset Hurts. Varying Truth in Television.



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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In xXx Xander Cage is drugged by government agents and wakes up in a diner that is about to be robbed. He quickly realizes that the scenario is a test because too many things about the diner did not add up. The clincher was that the waitress was wearing high heels. No waitress would wear high heels to work since she would be crippled in a few days.
  • Infamously subverted in Jurassic World, where Claire manages to hike through brush and outrun a T. rex in high heels without ever complaining about them or having attention drawn to them. In fact, this was done on her actress' own insistence.
  • In Mrs. Doubtfire, Daniel complains about the high heels he's wearing while walking home from his first day as Mrs Doubtfire.
    Mrs Doubtfire: If I find the misogynistic bastard that invented heels, I'll kill him.
  • Romancing the Stone: Joan is trying to hike through the jungle in high heels and keeps falling. Jack grabs them and chops the heels off using a machete. She says "Those were Italian". He says "Well, now they're practical".
  • In She's the Man, Viola tells her mom, over the phone, that she is definitely not wearing high heels at her debutant event because they are "a devious plot to make a woman's butt look smaller. And make it harder to get away". Incidentally, she does this while walking past the principal, who overhears and then tells a second bystander that it is indeed very hard to run in high heels.

  • In Cheaper by the Dozen, Mother Gilbreth protests her daughters' decision to wear high heels in high school using the family obsession with efficiency. She tells her oldest, Anne, that it's absurd for her and her sisters to go around in obviously tiring shoes while their father lectures around the United States on removing wasted effort.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Friends episode The One With Monica's Boots focuses on, well, a pair of high-heeled knee boots owned by Monica. Even putting them on causes her to yell in pain; standing and walking is obviously torture. This leads to all kinds of problems.
  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory (The Wildebeest Implementation), Amy buys high heels, but feels sore when walking in them.
  • Inverted in an episode of Cybill, where Cybill takes her friend Marianne camping. Marianne has only ever worn heels, and so has trouble keeping her balance in flats.
  • Doctor Who has many examples. One of the more notable ones in Classic Who is Romana I, who discovered that the warnings from the Doctor to wear sensible shoes were not unfounded. She ends up taking off her heels and continuing barefoot.
  • Miami Vice: In one episode, Gina wears high heels that cause her so much pain, she can barely stand. Trudy has to support her as she walks.
  • In an episode of Smallville, Lois tries to become a superhero of her own: "Stiletto". Her signature piece of costuming is, of course, a pair of killer heels - and she spends much of her time complaining about how hard they are to walk in, how much they hurt her feet, or both.

    Video Games 
  • Invoked in Destroy All Humans! when reading the minds of certain women.
    Woman: I'd like to meet the man who invented heels... And kill 'em.

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY, during a Ballroom Blitz, Ruby finds herself at a disadvantage in a fight against Cinder because of the high heels she'd been wearing (as she favors boots, compared to her partner Weiss' Combat Stilettos).
    Ruby: Can we have a serious discussion about how Weiss fights in these?
  • Jaiden Animations: The narrator, Jaiden, dislikes wearing heels, though not because they hurt, rather because she's clumsy when wearing them.

    Web Videos 
  • Something of a Running Gag for Geek Remix whenever a character is wearing heels while doing a lot of running is mentioning how painful it must be. Most notably the main character of The Missing: J.J Macfield and the Island of Memories, who Stacy compared to the one girl who's decided she's committed to a pair of heels on a night out and refuses to take them off.
  • Examined in The Try Guys' video where the four of them attempt to wear high heels in various styles and heights while out on the town without tapping out in the form of "flatting-out," where they trade their heels for flats. The shoes range from Zach's three-inch heel ankle boots to Eugene's ridiculous six-inch dagger pumps. While they like the way the shoes look, all four of them admit that their feet hurt terribly once they walk in them for any length of time and they're difficult to move and keep their balance in. Ned even accidentally faceplants when his heels get stuck on the rung of a barstool. By the end of the evening, all four of them opt to flat-out; even the ones who forgot to bring flats would rather walk home barefoot than struggle in the shoes.

    Western Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • The Scooby-Doo Project: While solving a mystery in the woods, Daphne complains that her feet hurt.
      Velma: Well, is it our fault you wore high heels on a hiking trip?
      Daphne: At least I try to look feminine!
      Velma: [stunned silence]
    • Another Scooby-Doo example appears in one of the "behind the scenes featurettes" from Scooby-Doo's Greatest Mysteries. Daphne complains about not being seen as smart compared to Velma, citing her straight-A average. Then Velma points out that Daphne goes around wearing pumps even when the current case puts them in the middle of a wetland.
  • Wakfu: In "Miss Ugly", as part of an "ugly princess" disguise, Evangelyne has to wear high-heeled sandals. As she's an Action Girl and totally unaccustomed to them, this results in several embarrassing slips and falls for her, including one down a full flight of stairs.


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