Any podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon specializing in the foot will say this about women's 3- or 4-inch high heels: Don't wear them. Or if you wear them, don't walk.
But the recently released "Sex and the City" movie will no doubt trigger shoe lust in naive young women, and even in women who have been hurt before.
So for those who know that high heels can lead to blisters, callouses, corns, hammertoes, bunions and foot damage that can torment them for the rest of their lives, but who still can't resist the calf-enhancing, seductive effect of the high heel -- not to worry.
Eve Michaels, Beverly Hills image consultant, has advice on just how to wear Jimmy Choo stilettos when the call of the sexy shoe overwhelms all logic and reason. One such moment is immortalized by Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO series when she spots a pair of mile-high Manolos and dreamily croons, "Hello, Lover."
For those who should, and probably do, know better, here are Michaels' top five tips on wearing "Sex and the City" shoes -- with comments on each by the president-elect of the California Podiatric Medical Assn., Daniel Altchuler, Santa Monica podiatrist.
1. The ball of the woman's foot must line up with the ball of the shoe. In other words, the pattern of the shoe must match the shape of the woman's foot. That's good advice, says Altchuler. "That's where most people get in trouble with high heels," he says.
2. Buy pointy toe high heels a half size larger. Nonsense, says Altchuler. "They make the shoe like a regular shoe, then add more material for the pointy toe. You don't need a bigger size."
3. When standing in a pair of heels, the weight of the woman's feet must be on her heels, not thrust onto the balls of her feet. Otherwise agony, not pleasure from the delicious shoes, will be felt. "That'll never happen," says Altchuler. "Once a heel is more than an inch and a half, your foot jams forward."
4. The toes shouldn't be cramped into the shoe, and it should feel comfortable from the start. The right shoe should not need more than three wearings to feel great. Good advice on feeling comfortable immediately, but Altchuler wouldn't give it three wearings. It should feel good at the shoe store.
5. Realize that some high heels are made for walking and others are made for fine dining, partying or wearing in bed! A true diva knows the difference. Altchuler agrees that women can't do much more than try to keep their balance on very high heels. "They're for posing for pictures and sitting on bar stools," Altchuler says.
Altchuler has additional advice. When shopping for any shoes, buy them late in the day, because feet swell as the day goes on, and you'll get a more realistic fit. As for stilettos, they're pretty, not functional. "But I believe that everything in moderation is OK," he says. "If you're going to wear them to a wedding, take them off to dance."
Photo: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times