May 11, 2011 — -- Celebs and fashionistas are known for falling head over heels for shoes, but these days, some women are doing it literally. Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Beyonce and several supermodels have been known stumble in some very high heels.
Designers are daring women to scale new heights in platforms, wedges, stilettos and even claw, lion paw and horse hoof-inspired heels, some as high as eleven inches.
The average heel height today is six inches, more than double what it was the 1970s. Enthusiasts say sky-high heels make you look taller, leaner and sexier.
"I definitely feel like I look better when I wear them," said Kelly Ripa, the co-host of "Live with Regis and Kelly," who has become famous for her stilettos. "I put on heels and I immediately, for whatever reason, look taller and skinnier...I look more confident because I think feel more confident."
That confidence extended to a charity footrace Ripa founded, called "The High Heel-a-Thon."
"It just seemed like a fun idea and I thought that I would win. I said I will blow these women out of the water because I know how to maneuver around in heels, but it's quite a different [to run in them]," she said.
Ripa raised eyebrows by sticking with her fashionable footwear even after a stress fracture. She appeared on her show wearing high heels while on crutches.
"That was probably not my finest moment," she said. "My hip doctor went insane."
The quest for altitude does get treacherous. Podiatrists say they're seeing an uptick in high heel-related broken ankles, bunions and shortened Achilles tendons.
Ripa said she simply cannot resist the high she gets from heels. She makes a point of showcasing her shoes when she's on the red carpet.
"I'm never confident about what I'm wearing on my body -- ever. I always feel like I've made the wrong choice," she said, "but I'm always confident about my shoe choice."