Spring-loaded high heels produce fluid, healthy movement

A Japanese designer has created a spring-loaded high-heel to take the pressure off poorly treated feet.

Recent research has found that high-heeled shoes are the leading cause of long-lasting and often permanent damage to feet. While a pair of stunning stilettoes can enhance the wearer’s confidence, it continuously bends toes and forces the wearer’s foot into an unnatural shape. Yasuyuki Yamada, a student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology, Keio University in Japan, has come up with a way to take the pressure off feet while maintaining a look of sophisticated elegance.

Dubbed YaCHAIKA, Yamada’s design combines comfort and style using leaf spring plates and high vibration, rubber sheets. These additions reduce the impact when stepping on the heel.

“Conventional heels are made of rigid bars. YaCHAIKA is produced by combining two curved leaf springs and rubber sheets with high shock absorption capabilities. At rest, it keeps the 10 cm heel height,” says Yamada.

To test the design, Yamada tested the prototype on several women. One woman said, “my feet felt lighter and more relaxed so I can walk quickly and comfortably”.

Yamada found that women in conventional high-heels experienced pauses in their walking pattern because conventional high-heels were not equipped with a shock absorption device.  “This discontinuity of walking motion may cause to fatigue and eventually pain,” he added.

YaCHAIKA incorporates shock absorption into its design, creating a smooth and continuous motion. During walking, the heel expands and contracts to about 3 cm. This allowance absorbs the shock when the heel touches the ground. “This continuous walking motion can be expected to reduce the fatigue and the burden of the tendons, joints and muscles,” says Yamada.

The next phase in the heel’s design would be to reduce the weight of the shoes.