Seeing your little one go from trying on mommy’s heels while playing dress-up to becoming a teenager who wants to rock her own pair of high heels isn’t an easy transition for most parents — and celebrity dads and moms are no different.
The Shade Room shared a viral Snapchat video (warning: colorful language) by Russell Simmons yesterday in which the celebrity dad basically freaks out after realizing that one of his daughters with Kimora Lee Simmons, Ming Lee Simmons, is wearing high heels — and sky-high Valentino Rockstud ones, no less. Ming, who had come to Simmons’s office to visit her father, is 16 years old. Other daughter Aoki, 13, also appears in the video, shrugging off her dad’s reaction in classic teenage fashion.
So what is an appropriate age for teenage girls to wear heels? A 2013 Today poll of more than 8,000 people found that 47 percent of its responders said it was permissible to wear heels between the ages of 13 and 16, right in line with Ming’s age. That was closely followed by people (42 percent) who felt the right age was older than 16.
Multiple parents on Circle of Moms agreed that age 15 and older is fine for teens to start wearing heels, while others felt it should only be for certain events. “For special occasions or a date, heels could be a great thing,” wrote Kitty, “but for everyday use it may be better to encourage a sassy strappy sandal or a cute [first] boot. “
But not every parent thinks that heels at a young age is a good idea. “Heels aren’t good for you,” commented Jodi. “I wouldn’t let any child whose bones are still developing wear heels on a regular basis.”
And experts tend to agree. “The later, the better, but at least until 13 years old,” Isaac Tabari, M.D., chief podiatrist at NYC Podiatry Center of Excellence in New York, told the Stir. That’s because — as anyone who has ever worn high heels for more than a few hours can attest — they aren’t great for your feet, ankles, and back — particularly for adolescent girls whose bones are still forming.
One expert, cancer specialist David Agus, M.D., even suggests that wearing high heels regularly for years can increase the risk of developing cancer, saying that the pain they cause can lead to chronic, low-level inflammation. “We know that inflammation probably contributes to the risk of various types of cancers,” Jack Jacoub, M.D., a medical oncologist and director of thoracic oncology at California’s MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, previously told Yahoo Beauty. “When it’s not controlled by the body, it usually does detrimental things to the body’s health — and that applies to the risk of cancer and chronic medical diseases.”
That said, the American Podiatric Medical Association says it’s fine for adolescents — and adults — to wear heels once in a while. “High heels are OK for special occasions,” according to the APMA. “Consider selecting platform or wedge heels instead of stilettos.”
“Lower and broader-based heels are best, spreading the child’s weight across the surface area of the shoe,” Pat Basu, M.D., chief medical officer at Doctor on Demand, an online site where parents can consult with physicians, told the Stir. “Chunky heels are better than thin heels, a wedge heel is better than a single heel. The shoe should also have a wide toe area. Avoid the pointy-toed shoes and anything else that is restrictive to the foot.”
Bottom line: It’s up to parents as to whether they feel their teen is ready for high heels, but having your adolescent wait as long as possible before wearing them — with the exception of special occasions — is a smart move for health reasons.