Let’s face it: even the most comfortable high heels of the finest quality aren’t always exactly comfortable to walk in. So it goes without saying that running in heels is something most of us avoid at all costs. There is no surer way to invite an ankle injury, a skinned knee, or an inelegant tumble!
So pause for a moment and give respect to those who participate in these “sporting” events…
• Flemington, New Jersey: Men in Heels Relay Race was a silly and festive event held in mid-May 2014 to raise money to fight domestic violence and work towards healing the damage it causes. It involved twelve teams of five men running heats from a parking lot, until a winning team was determined. Runners were not permitted to use duct tape to keep shoes in place, though heel height was not regulated. Some shoes were, not surprisingly, much more “sensible” for the event than others, with lower heels and wedges being more conducive to successful racing. Others opted for style with peep toe pumps and pointy toes.
Running styles ranged from tiny mincing steps to impressive sprinting on the balls of the feet. The “baton” passed between runners was a handbag! All jokes aside, the event raised $14K.
• Russian women may participate in the nation’s annual Stilettos Race – requiring a fifty metre sprint wearing heels of at least 9cm heel height. Dozens of women vie for the prize of one hundred thousand roubles (approximately $3,000); the competition is fierce with thousands lining the streets to witness the unavoidable stumbles and tumbles. The use of duct tape on the shoes and feet is allowed. The trend has taken hold, with similar events held in Paris, Berlin, and Australia.
• The New York City High 2008 Heel-a-thon involved five hundred women donning their heels for a sprint of one hundred and fifty metres in Central Park. Competitors of all ages travelled from as many as forty states to participate and potentially win $25,000. Men had their own fifty metre race as well – heels compulsory. For both races, restrictions stated that heels be a minimum of eight and a half centimetres high, not chunky, and no wedges.
• The Washington DC High Heel Drag Queen Race is held annually on the Tuesday prior to Halloween. Thousands of spectators line Dupont Circle to witness one hundred glamorously costumed drag queens race in high heels down 17th Street. Bars and restaurants along the route participate by catering to this event. Held since 1986, the night time dash attracts much attention.
The event inspired a similar event in Soho, London, which raises funds for LGBT homeless people in London.
There are many more similarly inspired high heel races held over the world. Most raise funds for charity and all are a fun day (or night) out. If you’re ever in the vicinity of one of these races, go out and take a look – unless you’re really brave and choose to participate! Just don’t wear your best heels!!