Would You Work Out in High Heels? Here’s What You Need to Know About Stiletto Exercise Classes

high heel race
Women race down Avenue Louise in Brussels in the Louise High Heels race in 2008.
Rex Shutterstock

Working out in high heels might seem like a silly idea, but a slew of exercise classes created in the past few years allow participants to wear heels throughout their workouts — and participants say high heels have improved their exercise routines.

Classes typically combine elements of pilates and barre, creating additional challenges for exercisers, as they have to balance in stilettos and find their center. That said, most classes restrict the high-heel portion of the workout to these toning exercises, having participants go barefoot or sport sneakers for cardio.

Here are some benefits that some fans of the workout have boasted:

Toning: Research shows that walking in high heels may be beneficial as far as shaping the calves goes. Heels can help improve muscle tone and shape, as they activate muscles more evenly. Be wary, though: A heel that’s too high can have the opposite impact, so stick with a 3-inch heel (or lower) for maximum benefits.

Improving balance: High-heel wearers can improve their balance through exercises like lunges, squats and lifting small weights.

Weight loss? Experts disagree on whether wearing high heels throughout your everyday routine can result in weight loss. One thing’s for sure: Oftentimes, high-heel wearers may walk less because of discomfort brought on by the shoe — and exercise classes can help them learn how to better walk in them.

Of course, always check with your doctor or health professional to see if a novelty workout class is right for you.