Heel and Arches: Explained

The number one question that we get: Why is the high heel suggested, or even necessary, on a handmade work boot? Most people will say they don't want a high heel initially in a stylistic sense. Here’s a detailed description of why it’s a lot easier on your body in the long run.

In these two examples, we have a heel with a 2 inch lift, and then a lowered heel, which is substantially less supportive.

On the lifted sole shown here, we have what we refer to as a Vibram sole. This is a 3-piece system which consists of the sole, the heel base, and the heel cap. With a two inch heel lift present, the body weight is forced both forward and backward at once, and the center of the foot is supported with a leather constructed arch.

High Arch 

Low Arch

In the lowered heel model shown here, most of the body weight ends up distributed between only the heel and the ball of the foot, rather than letting the arch (which has a lot more muscle mass and tendon structure) take the weight of your body into every stride. Carrying more body weight on your heel and toe can cause lower back strain and undue tension in your shin and calf muscles.

With a two inch heel lift boot cut open as shown in the first example above, we can directly see the textbook anatomy of a foot in a relaxed position.

With a lifted heel construction, your body weight will be equally distributed between your heel and the ball of your foot, because the high arch is catching the weight of your body. Your hips will be shifted to a more stable position centered at the fulcrum of your foot, and your shoulders will be shifted back, releasing strain on the paraspinal muscles in your mid and lower back. Your toes will also bear less strain which is instrumental in the progression of your gait.

At the end of the day, your legs will feel less muscular strain below the knee, your knees will take less impact, and your lower back and hips will have an even distribution of weight, which relieves back pain based on weight dispersal.

Frank's Boots provides the options for both! If you are interested in the full support construction, it's offered on most of our boots. The low arch construction is also available depending on which style you choose.

All four toe shapes are available with the high arch construction. The #3 toe is the only option available for the low heel construction. See Toe Shapes: Explained for more information and images.

For a complete understanding of high arch vs. low arch, watch Frank explain all of the details in this video.

If you have any questions, please call us at  (509) 309-2903, we'd be more than happy to talk you through the process and help you decide what's best for you.

Our ultimate goal is your comfort. This decision is absolutely integral to the longevity of your handmade boots, and our fit experts are here to help you make the best decision.