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Debenhams reveals mothers pass on the ability to walk in high heels

Debenhams has revealed new research that suggests a woman’s ability to walk in high heels is inherited from her mother.


Debenhams revealed that a woman’s ability to walk well in high heels is inherited from her mother, with balance, poise and even choice of heel height all passed on through the maternal line.

However, the debate over whether skilled high heeled walkers are born or made has still not been answered.

Debenhams Head of Accessories Design Natelle Baddeley said: “Whether it’s genetics or training in teenage years, we may never know, but it’s clear that the saying ’like mother like daughter’ applies to walking in heels.”

The striking links between a mother and daughter’s taste in high heels were revealed during recent Debenhams customer research into consumer trends. This is something that is also reflected in Hollywood A-listers and their daughters, such as actress Kate Hudson and her mother Goldie Hawn, who have been spotted in numerous photographs wearing similar shoes.

When asked about their perfect choice of high heeled shoes, women who were unrelated produced a wide range of answers, showing enormous statistical variance in heel height, style and colour. Mothers and daughters however, differed in their answers on all three topics by only a few percentage points, with a well-heeled 92% having matching answers.

Despite having a multitude of colours, styles and heel heights to choose from, each chose women’s shoes which bore a remarkable resemblance to the other.

Daughters who loved four inch heels had mothers who also loved four inch heels.

When questioned on their favourite colour of shoes, 79% had the same answer. Mothers who loved striking reds had daughters who also loved striking reds.

Daughters who loved extremely narrow pointed heels also had mothers who loved extremely narrow pointed heels.

However, the most striking evidence suggesting a maternal link for the ability to wear high heels well emerged during crucial walk tests; a towering 87% of mothers who could stride confidently across a room in a wide range of heel heights had daughters who could do the same. Conversely, mums with limited heel height skills had appeared to have passed this deficit onto their offspring.

Debenhams Natelle Baddeley continued: "The correlation was striking. We could almost pick out who were mother and daughter in a crowd just by the similarities as they walked in high heels.

"Even though we now know that a link exists, we still don’t know what causes it.

“Is it genetics? Or do young girls become accustomed to and copy their mother’s tastes in shoes simply by wearing them during ”dressing up" as a child?

“Our research suggests that all daughters are destined to literally step into their mother’s shoes as they grow older.”

Debenhams research was conducted individually, so that choice in shoe style could be made free from an accompanying partner.

The small differences between a mother and daughter’s tastes were most pronounced when the daughter was below the age of twenty, but converged again as they grew older. The link between mother and daughters extends across all demographics, including celebrities.

Even Suri Cruise, daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise has shoes which bears a remarkable resemblance to those worn by her mum, which Katie has said her daughter chooses herself.

About Debenhams:
Debenhams is a leading department stores group with a total of 167 stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Denmark. It offers a wide range of products across womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, lingerie, accessories, health and beauty, homeware and gifts.

Trading from over 12 million square feet of space, Debenhams employs nearly 29,000 people. In addition, it has 61 international franchise stores in 24 countries around the world.

Debenhams customer offer encompasses a unique combination of own brands, international brands and concession brands.

Own brands comprise own label brands - such as Red Herring, Mantaray, Maine New England, Debut and Bluezoo.

Debenhams’ online store is available at

PR Contact:
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33 Wigmore Street
08445 616161


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