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Extra! Extra! Beyoncé spotted in what appears to be a high-heeled sneaker? The Queen B herself is wearing them; now you absolutely NEED them, right?!

Wrong. What most people don’t realize is that just because these shoes are popular, it does not mean they should be bought. Commonly called sneaker wedges, they are a combination of a cushioned sneaker (for comfort) and a hidden wedge (for height), yet they are nowhere near as lovely as the media makes them out to be. Despite weighing about a pound each and looking similar to an astronaut boot, sneaker wedges cause a multitude of problems in people who wear them, and most are entirely unaware. Wedge heeled sneakers are not the new “it” shoe, and they need to be done away with.

Sneaker wedges retailed at a minimum of $550 when first released by designer Isabel Marant—a very steep price for such an impractical shoe. Since then, manufacturers such as Zara, Sketchers, and even Forever 21 have recreated it for a much more reasonable cost—at an average of about $50. With these replications, however, came a shift in the target audience. Sneaker wedges are now being marketed toward children, and are produced in youth sizes as small as a US 13/UK 12. Some are Velcro for easy adjustment and are available in bright neon colors or covered with glitter. How can kids resist if the shoes come in their favorite patterns and even make them tall like Mommy?

People often claim that sneaker wedges are the perfect shoe; the heel provides at least two inches in height, and the soft interior of the sneaker eases the pressure on their feet. However, severe developmental problems can actually occur from sneaker wedges, especially when worn by children. The heel places a large amount of stress on the ball of the foot, where the bone is not yet fused in adolescents. This, in turn, may distort the growth path of the foot and/or the shape of the bones. Dr. Noah Blumofe, a podiatrist in Los Angeles, claims that early shortening of the Achilles tendon is also possible. With a shortened Achilles, a person walks on tip-toes at all times and feels great discomfort when his/her foot is flat on the ground. It is said that once the problem is identified, its effects are irreversible without complex surgery or years of rehabilitation. When an individual does not walk properly on the backs of his/her feet, the knees, back, and pelvis begin to misalign and lean forward, too. These shoes are definitely not worth such possible dangers.

Parents who allow their children to wear sneaker wedges are not only unaware of the developmental risks they can have, but also the wrong message that they send. Some kids are pushed to think that they have to wear heels because they’re not tall enough for others. Pressured by society to look and act a certain way, these sneakers are their way of fitting in. The idea that taller is better is harmful to a child’s self esteem. Kids need the opportunity to be just that—kids—and heeled sneakers are far from a solution to the issue.

The impracticality and safety of sneaker wedges should be enough to stop people from purchasing them. "I think any shoe that impedes a kid's ability to climb a tree in five seconds flat is a sad thing," said Emili Vesilind, a mother of two in Washington D.C. It is in a child’s nature to run around and play, and in these dangerous shoes, they can barely walk. One Los Angeles public school principal has already banned sneaker wedges. It’s time for other people to see the dangers this type of footwear causes too. Next time you’re shoe shopping and spot high-heeled sneakers on the shelf, be sure to keep walking and warn a few strangers to do the same.

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