High heels used to be worn exclusively by adult fashionistas, but thanks to pint-sized celebrities such as Suri Cruise, heels and wedges are now being sported by girls as young as 3 years old.
Rusty Katz is the manager of children’s shoes at Lester’s, a chain of children’s department stores in New York. He says he can’t keep wedge and kitten heels for little girls in stock because they’re so popular. “Girls love shoes,” Katz said.
“Good Morning America” caught up with Katz when he showed Sara Berman and her 8-year-old daughter, Talia, some Steve Madden wedges. He called them fall’s hottest trend.
Roughly half the styles in Steve Madden Kids’ spring/summer collection have an elevated sole, and the shoes are in great demand at Gap Kids and Target stores nationwide.
Within minutes of trying the style, Talia declared her love for the wedges, which make her stand two inches taller. “They make me feel tall,” she said.
Talia’s mother, Sara, admitted that she had mixed feelings about the shoes, and she’s not alone in feeling conflicted.
The trend concerns many others, who believe that heels – even if they’re just an inch or two high – sexualize little girls.
“The fact is that the word sexy does not and should never apply to children,” said Dr. Logan Levkoff, an adolescent health expert.
Podiatrists worry that high heels pose health dangers for anyone, especially children. “It can affect their balance [and] their tendon development,” said Dr. Rock Positano, a New York City-based podiatrist.
Talia doesn’t have a problem walking or jumping in her heels.
Her mother says that while she wishes she could stave off her daughter’s desire for high heels for a few more years, she believes that the trend is a sign of the times.
“Well, as long as it’s just a treat, to be able to put on as a special occasion, it’s not as if they’re wearing it every day,” she said.