A news story about UK law and high heels is creating a stir in the media across Britain.  The story has brought the Podiatry profession to the fore, with members of the College of Podiatry becoming the go-to people for informed opinion on the topic.

So what’s it all about? A receptionist claims she was required by her employer to wear high heels as part of the finance company’s dress code.  The receptionist dismissed the request saying she was being discriminated against, but was sent home without pay when she refused go and buy a pair of high heels. Currently in the UK, it is within an employers rights to set a ‘reasonable’ workplace dress code. This can include stipulation for employees to wear high heels. The BBC’s website covered the story too.

Then there are health concerns. “From the point of view of the foot, high heels are a disaster,”said Tony Redmond, a biomechanics expert at Leeds University. “The joints of the feet can be damaged by wearing high heels, and this can cause some forms of arthritis.”

Emma Supple, a podiatrist from the College of Podiatry outlined to the BBC how high heels could have a detrimental affect on the feet of women across industries.

She had a number of female cabin crew who came to her with clinical issues from wearing high heels at work. She suggested a change of footwear but was told staff would not be allowed to wear them. “I spoke in the House of Commons about this, and it really opened some eyes to the issue. This led to a TUC motion in 2009 that women shouldn’t be forced to wear high heels.

Cobra Dress Orthoses – the high heel option

At Firefly Orthoses we offer the Cobra device. This orthotic is designed specifically for high heel dress shoes.  The Cobra is a hybrid shell style designed for ladies’ dress shoes with heels higher than 3cm.  The standard lab device comes with:

  •  semi-flexible Polypropylene shell
  • medium durometer EVA arch fill
  • Cobra grind
  • 1.5mm Poron extension to sulcus
  • Micro-suede top and bottom cover.

The design and structure of high heeled shoes typically reduces arch support. The Cobra Dress device’s unique hooked design allows for flexibility while providing the arch support not naturally featuring  adding greater comfort for the wearer. If you wish to find out more about prescribing the Cobra Dress device in your clinic, you can post a query to Firefly’s Technical Support page or by contacting Firefly by phone 00353 71 91 14 29 9 or by emailing info@firefly.ie.