STANDING TOO TALL?
Platform Shoes Cause Frequent Accidents
October 7, 1999
Comfort and safety are not high priorities for women wearing thick-soled shoes like these.
For the last three years or so, shoes lined with brick-sized soles have been the rage mainly among women in their teens and twenties. Some of these shoes go as high as 20 centimeters (8 inches), and most parents cannot help but wonder why anyone would wear such cumbersome shoes. Their daughters, however, are nuts about the footwear, which they believe make themselves appear taller, their legs longer, and their faces smaller in proportion. After all, stylish young women have always been willing to put up with a little discomfort for fashion's sake.
Higher and Higher
Nevertheless, a virtually limitless range of designs fill shoe store shelves, from sabot-like sandals reminiscent of the 1970s and casual sneakers to chic boots matching the pastoral long skirts that are expected to be a fall 1999 favorite.
The Price to Pay
Professor Teruko Ishii of Aoba Gakuen Junior College in Tokyo, whose research focuses on clothing-related issues, was prompted in August 1998 to survey the entire student population of over 540 after hearing that one student tumbled down a flight of stairs while wearing platform shoes. An appalling 23% of all students said they had fallen over while wearing these shoes. Moreover, almost half of these students had been injured as a result of their fall, and three of them had even broken bones.
Broken bones are not the worst that could happen, however. At the end of August 1999, a 25-year-old woman died from a fracture in her skull. She had apparently suffered the injury in a fall while walking in newly bought platform sandals that she was not yet used to wearing. And although these shoes may not necessarily become the direct cause of such accidents, says Professor Ishii, "You can't walk properly when you're wearing shoes with thick soles or very high heels, and this may cause problems in the pelvis or hip joints. They're very dangerous things to wear."
Sending Out Warnings
Still, platform shoes show no signs of vanishing from city streets. Most of the women wearing them seem to be taking little heed of the warnings, their looks being the top priority. One can only hope that the fad will pass before it leads to many more casualties.
Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.