How Old, How High? My Guide to Heels

    After mentioning that I didn’t think stilettos were appropriate for teens in my recent post “Ring in the New Year in PI Style,” I received a lot of feedback from girls who commented that they wore them all the time and thought there was nothing wrong with that.

    I wanted to offer this post to clarify my point, and offer a guide to heel heights.

    The physical consequences of wearing heels at a young age are a big concern. A child’s bones are still forming until her early teens, so wearing heels can cause bone deformities. Heels are also bad for the feet, ankles, knees, and back, and issues in these areas of the body can begin earlier for those who start wearing heels at too young of an age.

    The primary motivation behind my guide, however, is based on the reasons girls like to wear heels.

    1. Some girls opt for heels if they are uncomfortable with being short. They feel inferior and the extra height can instill a sense of confidence.
    2. Young girls often choose to wear heels to look older or more grown up.
    3. Heels also make ladies look more attractive or sexier. They give the illusion of lengthier and slimmer legs.

    The above reasons are not appropriate for young girls, in my opinion. More importantly, I feel that certain heel heights should be worn at stages.

    My guide may seem too conservative to some, but I feel very strongly about this subject because I believe that children are growing up way too fast. My post “Too Young, Too Sexy, Too Fast” is an example of how kids are wearing makeup and heels too early. Take a look at 5-year-old Suri Cruise below in her heels.


    Girls 10 years old and under should not wear heels

    Image: Cole Ballet Flat

     11- to 12-year-old girls: a little heel of no more than 1/2 inch

    Image: Cole Reaction

    13- to 15-year-old girls: a higher heel of no more than 1.5 inches

    Image: West

    16- to 17-year-old girls:  high heels no more than 3 inches, but not stilettos

    Image: Manhattan

    Girls who are over 18 are considered adults. They can get married and fight for this country, so they can wear what they want, although I would hope that their choice would still be modest. Just remember that heels higher than 4.5 inches are very bad for the back and posture, and they put pressure on the balls of the feet and the toes.

    Ladies, remember that you are only a child for a short time. You have so many years ahead of you to wear high heels and stilettos. I urge you to enjoy being a kid.

    What do you think about my heel guide? Do you wear high heels and why?

    T.M. Gaouette
    T.M. Gaouette is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, blogger and fiction novelist. She was born in Africa, brought up in London and is now living in New England with her husband and four children. Devoted to Him, Gaouette is dedicated to glorifying God through her stories for teens and young adults. T.M. Gaouette is the author of "The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch" and "Freeing Tanner Rose," Christian novels for teens and young adults. She's currently working on completing her upcoming novel -visit for more on her Christian fiction work. Connect with her on and .


    1. When I was pretty young (6) I wore those type of 1/2 heel dress shoes for special church services (and only special church services!).
      This is a pretty good baseline guide for heels, but I believe that older teens can wear tall(er) heels for special occasions, just not often.

    2. Thx for this, knowing what kind of shoe would be good for my 5 year old when I’m a mom is good but… Okay I’m 12 and I don’t like the size of that heel… though I completely respect your opinion, I hope you don’t mind if I say mine. I say that the shoes don’t matter unless a 5 year old is wearing a heel meant for a 16 year old. How large the heel is also the parents matter and people can and will take what they want from it but the parents can let their child wear whatever type of shoe they want. Also if the girl is 12 (like me) some parents by that point let them make their own choices on stuff like shoes, though they still have boundaries and put their input, a 12 year old girl can wear much higher heels then that. And that would be my opinion, these shoes were super cute but to me the heel you said were for 11 to 12 was just to small and… “child like” I think girls who are 12 deserve a little more freedom, they’re on the brink of becoming a teenager and I LOVE high heels.

    3. I think a LOT of it really depends on the style. I used to wear cutesy little dress heels as a kid. They were around 1/2 an inch or so, and the heels were just as wide as the rest of the shoe, for more support. It was all just girly and dressy, and never “sexy” or “grown-up” I’ve been wearing around 2 inches for quite a few years now, and I’ve worn 3 inches for shows, and some funerals an such. I think a lot of it depends on the reasons for wearing the heels, and what style they are. My favorite heels right now are about 2 1/2 inches, and they’re just plain black, essentially character shoes (and they’ve been worn in my plays 😛 ) but I think, even more than the height, the style really does matter, as well as the reasoning behind it. That’s my take. 🙂

    4. I think it depends on what else you are wearing, for example if you are wearing a dress, the neckline, how long it is and how tight. It also depends on the occasion. For instance, 4 inch heels would definitely not be appropriate for church, but for a dance/party or formal they are fine.

    5. I personally have a range of heels from 2 inches to 3 and a pair of wedges that are 4 inch with a 1 inch platform and i have worn it to my sisters wedding and to church so personally i think it has to do with what your parents let you wear at what age (i’m 17) and with what you are comfortable with.

    6. I personally wear 2 inch to 3 inch wedges but not stilettos (I’m 12) for kind of special occasions and casual events. And I completely respect your opinion but I think that 15+ you should be allowed to wear high stilettos over 3 inches and wedges, thats just my opinion though, I personally think that your selection for the 11-12 yr old is something that I would let a 6 year old wear. I think that the selection is a bit “childish” But once again I completely respect your opinion on what you believe. Thanks 🙂

    7. I am fourteen and I wear two inches. It’s my max. If they made shoes with lower heels that were still nice, I would consider them. Actually, I would love them. I wear heels mainly for just big events and ballroom dance.

    8. I am twelve years old and wear 2 and a half heels, those are usually my minimum. I do not wear stilettos at all because I feel as though they are unfit for my age group. I only wear wedges. Although I respect your opinion, I feel as though the guide is incorrect. Those 1/2 heels that you recommended no longer come with my size and probably most of the age group’s. The 1.5 heels are also very rare to find in my size. My age group is going in to puberty and are growing like crazy. We have shoe sizes that now fit in women. For example, I no longer fit in any girl shoe section but in women’s (I have a size seven foot). Those rare moments that I do find a shoe that fits me in the girls section, they are too short or not respectable for my age. My mom is also very strict when it comes to heels and my age group. Although she finds five inch stilettos unfit for my age, she does find the scale inaccurate as well. It may be my shoe size or the new modern world, but this scale seems to be going with the wrong age groups. Thanks for your opinion though.

    9. I am 13 and I wear 5 inch heels. I started wearing 3 inch heels when I was 10. I have never owned a heel that is 1/2 an inch. It is just to small in my opinion. I was, and still am, tall for my age and it made me feel even taller, and made me feel special. My first pair of high heels, which I got for my 10th birthday, were taller than the ones you have suggested for 13-15 year old’s. They were 2 1/2 inch heels, and made me feel very special. I now have 16 pairs of heels, and my shortest are 3 inches, which I rarely wear. I wear 4-5 inch heels out, and wear 3-4 inch heels to school. If you come back and read these comments, you will see that most people disagree with you, so according to these comments will you make a new chart?

      Love – HiHeels

    10. I don’t think many people understand this, but kids are sentient. We have valid thoughts. Our own opinion on things. We feel stuff, and sometimes, often occurring we don’t feel the best about ourselves, so whatever makes them comfortable, or feel good about themselves, that’s what they should do. They shouldn’t be put down for it.

      • Kids may be sentient, but, as parents, its our job to protect them from things that they are not really able to judge wisely. It may give a 16 yr old confidence to date a 19 yr old college guy, but as the adults, we’d only be setting our child up for harm if we allowed this. Everyone knows heels cause foot damage and deformity along with back problems. Why start a child down that road at an early age? No one’s self esteem is dependent on heels.

    11. Honestly, I’d be even more conservative. No heels before age 13. Only 1/2″ for age 14-16, and 1 1/2″ for 17 years. As you said, at 18, women are free to do what they want.

      We need to keep our kids as children not mini-women. My 11 yr old niece is now wearing mascara. At 11??? I was 16 before I got any makeup at all. And even then, I wasn’t allowed to wear it to school. It kills me to see kids prancing around like little street walkers simply because their parents won’t say no. My 11 yr old niece…3″ heels already. She can wear them everywhere but to school (because of the dress code).

      It saddens me to see this kind of thing happening. Its such an erosion of innocence.

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