"Many people know that high heels are more about fashion than being orthopedically-sound for walking. But what is wrong with athletic shoes? Even athletic shoes elevate the heel, extend the toes, and pinch the toes together. Instead of enhancing performance, this actually compromises the natural gait, leading to chronically tight extensor muscles and toes that structurally change so that they are crunched toward the midline. The foot functions best as a barefoot, that is, when the heel and forefoot are completely level, and the toes are allowed to flex, extend, and spread."
"…the reality, the shoe market is driven by what “looks good” on the shelf and will therefore sell. This is as true of athletic shoes as it is of fashion shoes…Indeed, even when shoe designers are presented with findings that flat, wide shoes are optimal for foot function and health, they do not utilize this information, because such a style is not congruous with the fashionable look. Additionally, considerably more money can be charged for a shoe that boasts “arch support” or “motion control” than for a simple flat shoe. So ultimately, the very shoes that are supposed to enhance performance actually hinder it by altering natural foot shape and gait."
quoted by Dr. Ray McClanahan