The story appears on

Page C6

January 21, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Little girls getting into high heels

A pair of sparkly, peekaboo shoes with 5-centimeter-high heels is the favorite of 6-year-old Helena Bell ever since she got them for a wedding.

"She's worn them to the point where the jewels have fallen off," says Helena's mother, Dana Bell, of Woodland Hills, California. "It's not my preference, but I've stopped fighting it."

The heels are not allowed at school, but the first-grader slips on her white treasures first thing when she gets home and wears them to church every Sunday.

"I think if it's within reason, it's OK," her mom says.

As images of 3-year-old Suri Cruise as she was out and about in bling-covered heels recently hit American magazines and the Internet, reactions to the grown-up look for not-so-old kids have ranged from cries of inappropriate to defense of a little girl's right to be girlie. Suri's mom, Katie Holmes, said she considers the kitten heels supportive because they were made specifically for kids learning ballroom dancing.

Samantha Fein of San Jose, California, says her 6-year-old daughter has attracted some double-edge remarks - "My, look at your big girl shoes" - when she wears her knee-high boots with a 2-inch chunky heel or her brown wedges with only slightly less height.

Fein notes that her child wears sneakers 90 percent of the time and heels on special occasions, like birthday parties.

"It's not like I'm sending her to the park in them," she says. "I think there's a time and a place for everything."

The San Francisco Bay area is relatively fashion forward, so it is not unusual to see girls that young wearing heels.

Fein says they have helped her daughter learn to walk like a lady. "They're definitely not suggestive at all," she says. "Suggestive to me is inappropriate."

The phenomenon falls in line with other trends in clothing, books, music and movies once reserved for older audiences trickling down the age ladder.

Christina Vercelletto, senior editor of Parenting magazine, has noticed shoes for girls as young as 5 and 6 sporting heels as high as 2.5 centimeters.

Physical risks

"I am seeing these heeled shoes, shoes that would be considered a little too grown up typically for a girl that age," she says. "I think it's definitely a trend for 5- or 6-year-olds."

In years past, Vercelletto says, heels usually stopped at sizes for 8- or 9-year-olds.

"I do feel that it's rushing it a little to put a girl 3 years old in shoes like that," said Vercelletto, who fears the physical perils.

Unlike other trends, heels pose physical risks that include a tightening of the heel cord and changes in the growth plate.

Matthew Dairman, a Virginia foot and ankle surgeon and a spokesman for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, urges parents to limit wear to once or twice a week for four hours at a stretch - if at all.

Jennifer Thomas, one of the owners of two Chicago-area children's shoe boutiques called Piggy Toes, says she does not carry heels for young girls.

"I just don't think they're age-appropriate," says Thomas, who has a 10-year-old daughter she does not want to see in them. "As far as the customers, girls for sure love them. Mom usually doesn't want them."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend