Fun-minded physicists at Britain’s University of Surrey have worked out a delightful little mathematical formula you can use to determine the optimum heel height for your boots (or shoes, if you must). It goes like this: h = Q*(12+3s/8)

We’ll call it The High Heel Theorem. In it, the ‘h’ represents optimum heel height in centimetres, the Q in the equation is the so-called sociological factor (of which more in just a moment) while the ‘s’ is your shoe size (in UK sizes). Unlike a lot of rocket science equations the High Heel Theorem can have many viable solutions – yours among them.

The trickiest part, of course, is establishing your own correct value for Q. This requires plugging a series of values into another, more formidable looking, equation. This contains all those niggling hard-to-quantify variables – the overall sexiness of your boots, how experienced you are in wearing high heels, fashion trends, how much you spent on your boots, and how many units of alcohol you are likely to be consuming while you are wearing them. As you can imagine, solutions vary. Calculating optimum heel height is an exercise in situational mathematics.

The equation for establishing Q is:

Q = P*(9+y)*L /(t+1)*(a+1)*(y+10)*(L+£20)

Happily solving for Q is not really as intimidating as it looks. (How could it be? Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is expressed as a simple e=mc^{2})

So let’s break it down.

The ‘p’ in the equation concerns the style of boots you are wearing – call it their overall hotness. Values range from 1 (sizzling!) to 0 (might-as-well-be-wearing-galoshes).

Y is the number of years you have been wearing heels.

L is the cost of the boots in pounds (remember, this formula was a British effort, but dollars or Euros should work just as well) The theory here is that the more expensive the boot, the more likely you are to be to put up with a bit of discomfort. After all, you bought these for a reason.

T equals the time, in months, since your particular boots were at the cutting edge of fashion. Zero is red hot, the *dernier cri*. Again, the University of Surry physicists reckon that if your boots are all the rage, the glow of being at the forefront of fashion will dull any discomfort. It’s what they call suffering for your art.

Lastly, ‘a’ is the number of alcohol units consumed, as this will reduce your coordination and ability to balance. For example, when the physicists tested out their formula, they plugged in estimated numbers for Carrie Bradshaw, the actress famed for her killer heels in Sex and the City. Crediting her with being an accomplished heel wearer with at least five years’ experience, and almost certain to be wearing the latest fashions and drop-dead gorgeous heels, they calculated that if she hasn’t had anything to drink she can easily cope with killer heels of 125 millimetres, or 5 inches. Add six units of alcohol to the mix, however, and her best heel height drops to a considerably less killer one-inch.

The University of Surrey’s High Heel Theorem, of course, was designed primarily as a bit of fun, although it is based in sound mathematics and geometry and comes up with what appears to be pretty reasonable results. When you crunch your own sets of numbers you should get a decent guide to your optimum heel height. So give it a try. See what you come up with. There’s no Nobel Prize at the end of it but it’ll add to the fun ofdreaming up your next pair of boots. Oh, and by the way, if your optimum heel height turns out not to be on the menu for the particular style of boot you fancy, do send us a note or give us a ring. We are custom bootmakers after all.

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