These 18-Hour Heels Are Built for Pain-Free Standing

Scientists don’t fully understand why flamingos stand on one leg for hours at a time — but the stunning pink birds do make it look easy.

That’s the concept behind Shoes by Shaherazad’s “18-Hour Heels,” which were inspired by the designer’s study of flamingo biology that yielded a hack that doesn’t hurt, according to founder Shaherazad Umbreen.

18-hour heels flamingo standing
Shoes by Shaherazad's 18-Hour Heels; $250 to $300; Shaherazad.com.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Shoes by Shaherazad.
flamingo standing one leg
A flamingo stands on one leg.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

The U.K.-based shoe designer said she applied the concepts based on weight distribution for women, “which results in 18 hours of painless wear,” according to the label’s website.

“My key learning is that body-weight distribution must be optimized — I can’t give away any more secrets than that,” Umbreen shared with Footwear News on Friday.

18-hour heels flamingo standing
Shoes by Shaherazad's 18-Hour Heels; $250 to $300; Shaherazad.com.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Shoes by Shaherazad.

Some biologists have speculated that flamingos stand on one leg to regulate body temperature, and it might not have anything to do with comfort, according to a Smithsonian Magazine report.

Still, the elegant stance does give hope to consumers who are looking for the answer to day-long heels that don’t hurt, Umbreen said.

Umbree spent two years developing the handcrafted shoe line, and she tested them on a variety of women, including teachers, pharmacists, lawyers, doctors and executives. Alexa Chung is among the brand’s fans.

“I worked with The London College of Fashion, as well as a number of factories and product experts to get my designs exactly how I wanted them,” she said. “The heels are joyously comfortable, but they are not magic.”

18-hour heels flamingo standing
Shoes by Shaherazad's 18-Hour Heels; $250 to $300; Shaherazad.com.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Shoes by Shaherazad.

The shoes are made for day-to-night wear — including a normal amount of sitting throughout the day that a professional person experiences. The heels incorporate accessory pieces through a “shoellery,” where straps and statement ornaments can be attached.

The patent leather Mary Janes feature a 3-inch heel and are available in black, blush and mulberry, and are available online.

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content