Women wearing heels are rated as more attractive than when wearing flat shoes, even when the people who are making the judgement are unable to see their faces or bodies, researchers have revealed.
Researchers at the University of Portsmouth say that heels change the way the entire body moves, including the pelvis, hips, legs, knees, feet and even the shoulders, to emphasise femininity, the Independent reported.
The researchers suggest that evolution could partly explain the continuing popularity of high heels as an article of the female wardrobe.
The women who took part in the study had an average of around 10 pairs of heels, and wore them at least once a week.
They were filmed walking for four minutes wearing identical flat shoes and 6cm heels.
To avoid the rating of attractiveness being influenced by anything other than high heels, the researchers used a process known as point-light display, in which lit markers are placed on key parts of the body and the raters or judges see only the patterns of these lights as the woman walks.
Men and women watched 30-second video clips of the point-light displays of the walkers in high heels and flat shoes moving towards them. They then made judgements for femininity and attractiveness. All the women were rated as more attractive when wearing heel s and women, judges rated them as more attractive than did the men.
The study has been published in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behavior.