I teetered through the sum of my high school years in Steve Madden platform boots -- yeesh, I know -- and learned, as many women do, that heels screw up your feet. A couple of years ago, I went limping to a podiatrist, who rolled her eyes and humorlessly instructed me, "Yes, you'll have to be one of those women on the subway wearing running shoes with her pantyhose." But there is no shoe code at my office -- nor will I ever wear pantyhose, by the way -- so I've been able to make up for those years of metatarsal mistreatment by wearing reasonable shoes, instead of swapping sneaks for heels as soon as I get to work. But many women aren't so lucky.
A report released Thursday by Britain's Trade Union Congress found that a number of "big City institutions and upmarket shops" do not allow female employees to wear "healthy and safe footwear," and concludes that bosses should reconsider "sexist" policies that force women to wear high heels to work. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said, "Heels may look glamorous on the catwalks and on Hollywood stars, but they're not appropriate day-to-day work wear. These dress codes -- apart from being blatantly sexist -- can lead to health problems." Barber also suggested that employers with shoe requirements should stop "worrying about what staff look like" and consider the effect heels have on women's feet. In other words, bosses ought to, you know, put themselves in their employees' shoes -- literally or otherwise.