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Protection or pleasure: Female footwear



This article addresses the love for shoes by the perspective of design and emotion. Reviewing the footwear history, we realize that it did not take too long for the shoes start to have new functions, aesthetic and symbolic, which eventually came to have greater relevance in the acquisition of women's shoes. Today, these outweigh the importance of physical comfort for many women, that once feeling pretty, do not realize the discomfort of the shoe. Studies indicate that the objects we love have a strong influence on our sense of identity, especially when dealing with clothing articles that have the power to show on our appearance our identity, tastes and preferences. Crossing the semiotics field, the footwear is analyzed as an object of feminine desire, imbued with symbolic relations. As a result, we propose a framework to describe the emotional relationship between women and shoes.
Protection or pleasure: female footwear
Mariana Seferin a* and Júlio van der Linden a,b
aPrograma de Pós-Graduação em Design, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre - RS, Brazil
bDepartamento de Design e Expressão Gráfica , Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Osvaldo Aranha,
99 - 4º andar- sala 408, CEP 90035-190 - Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
Abstract. This article addresses the love for shoes by the perspective of design and emotion. Reviewing the footwear history,
we realize that it did not take too long for the shoes start to have new functions, aesthetic and symbolic, which eventually came
to have greater relevance in the acquisition of women's shoes. Today, these outweigh the importance of physical comfort for
many women, that once feeling pretty, do not realize the discomfort of the shoe. Studies indicate that the objects we love have
a strong influence on our sense of identity, especially when dealing with clothing articles that have the power to show on our
appearance our identity, tastes and preferences. Crossing the semiotics field, the footwear is analyzed as an object of feminine
desire, imbued with symbolic relations. As a result, we propose a framework to describe the emotional relationship between
women and shoes.
Keywords: female footwear, design and emotion, love for products, protection, pleasure.
*Corresponding author E-mail:
1. Introduction
The use of footwear dates back to the protection of
the feet in the prehistoric period, but history shows
that it was not long before it served new functions,
aesthetic and symbolic. Today, they outweigh the
importance of physical comfort for many women
who, while feeling pretty, do not realize the
discomfort of the shoe. To the extent that its use is
part of a social code, adopted to some extent in a
voluntary manner, the initiatives to raise awareness
about the risks run into barriers [1].
Many studies warn about the negative effects of
high heels. Aghazadeh and Lu [2] demonstrated that
its use affects the ability to lift loads. Nagata [3]
relates them to accidents on stairs. Lee et al. [4]
affirms that high heels may lead to greater muscular
effort, causing discomfort and fatigue. The use of
harmful footwear is linked to symbolic values, which
transform them into elements of social obligation and
fetish. Thus, women pay a high price in exchange for
their personal success [5], using the shoes as a
symbol of power and elegance [6] and even
exploring the association of fetish with power [7].
The emerging of the shoe was due to great need to
protect the feet from cold and soil. His initial
appearance was that of a bag tied at the bottom, with
the time was developing the other constituent parts of
a shoe, sole, insole, the upper. Looking at the history
of footwear, it is clear that from its inception was not
privileged comfort. Initially, the difficulties related to
comfort were related with the available materials and
with the lack of knowledge of anatomy,
biomechanics and physiology. More recently, the
scientific and technological developments enabled
the design and manufacture of shoes to offer high
levels of comfort and safety.
Despite the advances that allow us to wear more
comfortable footwear, today, women still submit
themselves to physical discomfort in favor of feeling
elegant, beautiful and / or sexy, and thus feeling
comfortable psychologically. We often hear women
saying that they do not feel pain or discomfort when
using high heels and pointed toes shoes, maybe the
pain it is annulled by the psychological comfort.
Therefore, one can say that for those women who
prefer the elegance rather the comfort, what really
matters in the choice of footwear would be the formal
and aesthetic aspects, which comes to refer the
Work 41 (2012) 290-294
OI: 10.3233/WOR-2012-0171-290
IOS Press
1051-9815/12/$27.50 © 2012 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserve
affection with the use of products, the Design and
As a consequence of intensifying the use of high-
heeled shoes, has been growing concern about its
effects on health. Many studies, prove the adverse
effects of the use of women's footwear designed from
stylistic criteria, such as high heels and pointed toes
[8,2,9-14]. However, despite all the knowledge
developed in the recent decades by the areas of
Biomechanics, Physiology and Ergonomics, fashion
factors still determinate the shoe design, especially
the female footwear and its adoption by the women is
related with several factors [15,12]. There is evidence
that factors as the appearance importance and the
attitude toward in general risks are crucial for the
comfort and risk appraisal process in the use of fine
high-heeled shoes with thin nozzles [16].
The conflict between the objectivity of the
recommendations from the areas related to health
and safety and risk behavior adopted by women who
use high heels (and fine nozzles) can be explained
from the supremacy of the symbolic benefits to the
detriment of physical risks. Therefore, this article
focuses on the emotional relationship with female
footwear and proposes a framework of its
2. Method
This work was developed based on literature re-
view, considering the following themes: risks in the
use of high heels, fashion, semiotics, emotions and
love for products. Based on theoretical analysis, we
created a proposed framework of the affective
relationship with feminine footwear.
3. The basis for the framework
Universally, the high-heeled shoe is seen as a fet-
ish; for the semiotics, the shoe is seen as a symbol of
power. This can be understood by analyzing the his-
tory, mythology and fairy tales. At many times the
shoe served to differentiate social classes. At first for
separating the barefoot from the people that wore
shoes and then differentiating the classes according
to the different shoe styles, giving to the user the
power of a particular footwear style, being this power
related to social prestige or associated with purchas-
ing power. In fairy tales and mythology, the shoes are
often associated with power and magic [6].
It is a common association of high-heeled shoes as
a symbol of elegance and sensuality. This perception
of high-heeled shoes as stylish is also part of the
historical past, where the high heel was initially
intended for those with a higher purchasing power.
Thus it was also seen as a symbol of nobility, the
greater the heel, the higher was the social position of
the individual [6].
In the book Emotional Design, Donald Norman
[17] reports that humans have three levels of brain
structure, they are the visceral, behavioral and
reflective level. These levels can be translated into
product characteristics, as follows: the visceral, the
appearance of the product, its formal characteristics;
the behavioral, the pleasure (physical sensation) and
the use effectiveness; and the reflective level,
affirming the self-image, the personal satisfaction
and the user memories (prestige, rarity and
exclusivity perception).
According to Ahuvia [18], "the people, and things,
we love have a strong influence on our sense of who
we are, on our self." Loved objects represent and
influence our sense of personal identity. This can be
seen specially in apparel and personal use products.
For Belk [19] people use their favorite objects to en-
large, expand and fortify their sense of self.
Our personal objects, besides exposing our identity,
also exalt our personal tastes and preferences. To
Kälviäinen [20] the taste should be interpreted by the
designer as a demonstration of lifestyle preference
and as products orientation. The taste is intimately
connected with the expression of identity and social
It is well known that humans have affection for
products and this affection can be expressed by
feelings and emotions. "Affect has been described as
part of 'the consumer’s psychological response to the
semiotic content of the product" [21].
The relationship of people and industrial products
has been approached more recently from the
perspective of affection. Desmet and Hekkert [22]
“describes the various ways in which products can
act as emotional stimuli”. Norman [17] states that
“emotions reflect our personal experiences,
memories and associations”. Ahuvia [18] states that
objects that we love have a strong influence on our
sense of identity. Russo [23] argues that “people tend
to describe their love for a product as something that
is dynamic and endures over time”.
According to Desmet and Hekkert [24] there are
three types of product experience: aesthetic experi-
ence, which is linked to our product perception, as
the touch, the smell, the visual, “the beauty one ex-
periences when physically interacting with a
M. Se
erin and J. van der Linden / Protection or Pleasure: Female Footwear 291
riences when physically interacting with a product”;
the next is experience of meaning, associated with
memories and meanings which the person relates to
the product and in this way “assign personality or
other expressive characteristics”; the last one is the
emotional experience, that relates to the emotions
and feelings resulted by the evaluation that people
make of a product.
Beatriz Russo in her doctoral thesis discusses
the love of products, highlighting the love for cars
(men and women) and shoes (women) [23]. In her
research she discusses the love that came with the
time of use and do not approach the “love at first
sight” that motivates the purchase. It was collected
50 reports of different participants who described
their love for specific products. These reports show
that the love felt for products is rewarding, a long
lasting relationship which is derived from a dynamic
experience where there are affective experiences that
arise from this significant relationship causing
wellbeing to the people. Thus, Russo says that is
because of these rewards occasioned by the love felt
for products that make people seek to extend the life
of these special products. She also points out ways to
design researchers and product developers to
promote in their research and projects rewarding
experiences and enduring relationship between
people and products.
The effect of emotions in relation to female shoes
with thin high heels and pointed toes, considering the
comfort and risk perception of women has been
investigated by van der Linden [16]. The results
indicate that the "perception of comfort and
perception of risk are influenced by individual
characteristics, which were identified as dominant
references" [16]. The reference is dominant
according to the person orientation. People who have
a dominant orientation as a reference to pleasure,
favor the appearance that changes their perception of
comfort, so the risk is denied. But people who have
pain as a dominant reference, neglect their appear-
ance and have a great sense of risk perception that
affects their perception of comfort.
The framework proposed by van der Linden [16]
includes the product dimensions for consumer needs
(appearance, usability and functionality), the stimuli
forms developed by Desmet and Hekkert (object,
agent or event), the dominant reference (pursuit of
pleasure or avoidance of pain), the processing levels
developed by Norman that determine the evaluation
(visceral, behavioral or reflective) and the affective
responses (pleasant emotions, feelings of indifference
and / or unpleasant emotions). The idea of dominant
reference allow to understand the different ways a
product can be perceive as taking into account the
way how happens the stimulus, “the same footwear
can be considered sexy (as object), dangerous (as an
agent of an accident) and elegant (suitable for use in
events that require good presentation” [16].
4. The framework
Fetish, elegance, comfort, identity, love, are words
associated with the experience of the use or
possession of women's shoes. More than protection,
the original purpose, the aesthetic and symbolic
aspects dominate the manufacturers, the media and
consumers discourse. Only the comfort maintains its
functional attribute, the footwear goal. But, as
discussed in van der Linden [16], the perception of
comfort is not carried out in an objective, rational
way, but in a subjective way, mediated by emotions.
Among these, the love, approached by Russo [23],
plays an important role in the interaction between
women and shoes.
This begs the question: What kind of love do
women feel for shoes, which makes them take risks?
Based on the literature and as a research hypothesis,
this paper proposes that there are two different kinds
of love: Love for Shoes and Love by the Shoe
(Figure 1). The first expressed by women that are
influenced by fashion trends, seek to have lots of
pairs of shoes, do not bother with physical discomfort.
Many have a fetish for shoes and they value brands
and designers. Their goal is to obtain social status
and they feel that if they are not wearing the latest
trend they will be seen as socially inferior within
their social ranks and classes. Here the shoe is seen
as a symbol of power, which will influence the social
status and affirming their social identity. The second
refers to emotionally gratifying memories
experienced with that particular shoe. Here the
comfort and personal symbolism often has greater
relevance than simply the aesthetics. The shoe is seen
as part of the user identity, who has developed a
sense of attachment and oneness with it, which can
generate a special attention with regard to the
preservation of footwear and a quest for extending
the life of it.
M. Se
erin and J. van der Linden / Protection or Pleasure: Female Footwear
Figure 1 Female Footwear-Relationship Framework
Besides the two cases of affective relationship with
shoes, there would still be a relationship in which not
have established emotional ties, but only practical in
nature. This case, as opposed to others, would be the
Protection by the Shoe. Here, the footwear is seen as
an item of protection for feet, what matters is the
safety and comfort offered by the footwear.
It is possible to associate these three categories to
Norman’s three levels of brain processing, where the
Love for Shoes would be at the visceral level, which
is responsible for quick judgments, attraction and
where the physical characteristics prevail. Love by
the Shoe is in the reflexive level, which is
contemplative, sophisticated, comes to the perceived
rarity, experience, exclusivity, self-image and about
the messages that a product sends to people. And, the
Protection by the Shoe is located at the behavioral
level, where appearance does not matter as much as
the product performance and usability.
This research assumes that there are possible
crossings between the Love for Shoes, Love by the
Shoe and Protection by the Shoe, and with these
crossings profiles of individuals can be created which
indicate their preferences. These profiles can come to
assist the development of new shoes that provide the
attributes selected by those. As Norman [17] said the
designer should know how are people for whom the
product is intended.
5. Conclusions
The proposed framework aims to better describe
the reality of the relationship between women and
shoes. It presents an improvement compared to van
der Linden’s framework [16], by adding to the
pleasure-pain axis, the possibility of different kinds
of pleasure, such as the pleasure of ownership
associated with affective memory (love by the shoe),
and the pleasure of possession by following trends
(love for shoes). This distinction theoretically
corresponds to Norman’s processing levels and also
with Desmet and Hekkert’s types of experience with
products. By integrating complementary views, the
framework provides greater sensibility to individual
To the extent that it is a theoretical construct, the
framework needs to be tested and validated. For this
purpose, the continuity of this research will include
the identification of women's groups that correspond
to profiles that can be associated with the three types
of proposed relationships between women and shoes.
Based on this first study the formation of focus
groups will be established which will comprise of
women who have strong emotional ties with shoes,
aiming to identify and test whether the dimensions
included in the framework are valid to express the
feeling that they have for the shoes, and to check if
there are other motivations to love them. With the
focus groups it’s expected that the generation of
knowledge will contribute in the development of a
shoe design parameter.
M. Se
erin and J. van der Linden / Protection or Pleasure: Female Footwear 293
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... 13 This is especially significant among female patients, where an emotional relationship and sense of personal identity tied to the type of shoe worn may be negatively impacted by podiatric manifestations. 14 Despite the impact of podiatric involvement among patients with EB, limited literature has documented its significance. Less priority may be given to addressing foot problems among EB patients when other medical concerns demand more urgent attention. ...
Full-text available
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) represents a group of rare genetic skin fragility disorders characterized by (muco) cutaneous blistering upon minimal mechanical trauma. Ninety percent of EB patients experience podiatric symptoms which may affect physical functioning and emotional well-being. To date, an EB-specific podiatric assessment has not been outlined to guide clinicians in the assessment of EB podiatric involvement. This review describes the podiatric involvement of patients with EB and assesses the relevance of validated foot and ankle patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in measuring podiatric severity among EB patients. A literature review was conducted to identify systematic reviews and clinical studies investigating foot health and podiatric manifestations using validated foot health PROMs across foot and ankle conditions. Limited studies have documented the significance of podiatric involvement among EB patients. Existing EB-specific PROMs are not region-specific for assessing podiatric involvement. Among the foot and ankle PROMs, the Foot Health Status Questionnaire, Foot Function Index, and Manchester Oxford Foot Questionnaire were identified as potentially appropriate for assessing podiatric severity among EB patients, each with its strengths and limitations in assessment. However, they have not been widely validated for assessing dermatology-related diseases. An evaluation of the relevance of each identified PROM to EB podiatric assessment would enable future development of an appropriate EB-specific podiatric assessment tool that would guide management.
... The results of this study make it clear that physical comfort may not be the defining factor as to whether children chose and wear specific footwear. Seferin et al., stated that historically, footwear quickly moved from merely foot protection and assumed 'new functions' of aesthetic and symbolic roles [30]. Further, Nicholls et al., argue that shoes are not an inanimate object and hence play a major role in how adults perceive themselves and their identity [31]. ...
Full-text available
Background Footwear has an essential role including protection of the feet, overall performance, foot health and potentially, supporting normal development of the foot. In addition to these physical aspects which may influence choice of footwear design, there are psychological influences on what a person chooses to wear. The concept of footwear ‘comfort’ spans physical and psychological perceptions of comfort in adults. However, there is little understanding of what influences children’s footwear choices, how children perceive footwear comfort, or the language used to describe footwear experiences. Therefore, this study aimed to explore these three parameters as the first step to informing the development of a scale to measure footwear comfort in children. Methods A pragmatic qualitative design with thematic analysis as an analytical approach was implemented. Passive observation and short interviews were carried out with 23 children (aged 1–12 years) at a footwear manufactures headquarters and store. Prompts included shoes being tried on and field-notes were taken relating to verbal and non-verbal communication. Field notes were coded then themes were identified, reviewed and named. Results Overall, the children equated comfort to softness. However, influences on footwear choice were multidimensional including aesthetics, psychosocial influences, identified ‘comfort’ and ‘discomfort’ areas, practical issues and predictive concerns; all interacting with the age of the child. Conclusions For children, footwear comfort is a complex phenomenon having physical, cognitive, social and emotional developmental components. This can be seen in how the children perceive the ‘feel’ of the shoe and how the shoe is assessed in the context of how the shoe meets the child’s physical and psychosocial developmental needs. In younger children footwear preference is related to idiosyncratic tastes in aesthetics, physical ability and comfort. As children age, societal influences begin to expand the social function of footwear denoting group membership, to include themes that transcend the functional and social function of footwear. The knowledge from this study can inform the development of age group specific tools to evaluate comfort.
... Nor are the symbolic meanings attached to high heels readily apparent. Writers have identified these artifacts as fetishes-literally in the context of sadomasochistic sex (Benamou 2006;Wilson 1987) and metaphorically in the Marxist sense of an inanimate object that acquires reverence and/or magical qualities (Kaplan 2006;Seferin and Linden 2012;Steele 1996). Hence, high heels are evocative of sexual desire and they are made arbitrarily desirable to those who wear them. ...
In this chapter, I bring necropolitics to the fore. As developed by postcolonial theorist Achille Mbebme, necropolitics grows out of Michel Foucault’s earlier statements about biopower (and biopolitics). Georges Canguilhem’s philosophizing about the normal and pathological served as a prelude to those conversations. Subsequent scholars’ readings of biopower examine it in relation to the Holocaust specifically and genocide more generally. Yet, so many prior treatments, while crucial for intellectual development, rely on discourse analysis. To fully gauge the significance of genocide, biopower, and necropolitics—to wrap one’s brain around the enormity of numbers, the spatial extent of destruction, the effects of interpersonal and structure violences—discursive analysis requires grounding with material evidence. Researchers of contextualized human remains have a unique contribution to make. Here I review mortuary and bioarchaeological studies of genocide in the twentieth century. I also discuss how forensic anthropologists have materialized necropolitical processes. Their excavations of mass graves and identification of the corpses therein, while not without issues, do extend Mbembe’s ideas about dead bodies in important ways. Less clear is how biopower and necropolitics apply to ancient and historic case studies. While bioarchaeological studies attest to structural and interpersonal violences in the past, the phenomena that Foucault and Mbembe concern themselves with signal modernity and not antiquity. For my part, I discuss bioarchaeological and biohistorical studies of enslavement and violent settler colonialism in the nineteenth century. I also tie these examples to the subfield’s origins, tracking complicity from inception into contemporary classrooms.
... Nor are the symbolic meanings attached to high heels readily apparent. Writers have identified these artifacts as fetishes-literally in the context of sadomasochistic sex (Benamou 2006;Wilson 1987) and metaphorically in the Marxist sense of an inanimate object that acquires reverence and/or magical qualities (Kaplan 2006;Seferin and Linden 2012;Steele 1996). Hence, high heels are evocative of sexual desire and they are made arbitrarily desirable to those who wear them. ...
The history of anthropology has made a tradition of studying the body. Among those early scholars who gifted us with fundamental ideas was Marcel Mauss. In the 1920s, Mauss’s students at the University of Paris acted as sounding board for his thoughts on body techniques. He formalized his lecture notes for a 1934 presidential address to the Société de Psychologie. His abbreviated statements about habitus inspired Pierre Bourdieu’s compelling treatment of the concept. Bourdieu went on to develop hexis, or embodied habitus. That practices and beliefs, structures and dispositions, leave imprints on bodies is an ingress for bioarchaeology. Here, citing modern and ancient examples and with an awareness of the potential pitfalls, I sketch out the beginnings of a bioarchaeology of body habits.
... Nor are the symbolic meanings attached to high heels readily apparent. Writers have identified these artifacts as fetishes-literally in the context of sadomasochistic sex (Benamou 2006;Wilson 1987) and metaphorically in the Marxist sense of an inanimate object that acquires reverence and/or magical qualities (Kaplan 2006;Seferin and Linden 2012;Steele 1996). Hence, high heels are evocative of sexual desire and they are made arbitrarily desirable to those who wear them. ...
“I am a woman’s rights,” began Sojourner Truth before a packed audience at the Ohio Woman’s Rights Convention (Painter 1996: 125–6, 281–2). Her speech that May day in 1851 recounted her lived experience as a woman. It also conveyed how Truth’s gender was inextricable from her identity as an emancipated black slave and evangelical Christian. Her words were quite personal though reflected a collective experience of suffering and resilience, which resonated among the suffragists and abolitionists of antebellum America. Enslavement, poverty, and extreme manual labor also left distinct and observable marks on Truth’s body. “I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man,” she related, “I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that?” (Painter 1996:125). As her heroism became less the stuff of history and more the stuff of legend, Truth’s words morphed into the powerful and political rallying cry “ain’t I a woman.” Yet, the reference to a monolithic idea of womanhood belied the diversity of women’s realities.
... Taking into account the particularities of each individual, it is understood that the use of collaborative methodologies in footwear customization is an advantage for the better suitability of the product to the consumer. Moreover an emotional connection between the consumer and the product is created, and greater individuality and involvement with the final result is achieved (El Or 2012;Seferin and Van der Linden 2012;Stewart 2013). ...
In the current era of valuing and sharing experiences, the consumer states being proudly eager to actively intervene in the construction of his/her own sphere of action. Having humanitarian and socializing dimensions in its essence, the practice of design reveals itself capable of breaking barriers and broadening physical and conceptual horizons, to fulfil its main purpose—the satisfaction of consumers’ needs and desires. Co-design, as a win-win shared experience for brands and consumers, responds to the commercial needs of brands and to the consumers’ needs of interaction, customization, and emotional involvement. This approach between stakeholders is strongly enhanced by new technologies and digital environments, blurring boundaries between designer and consumer/user and overcoming physical constraints. In the footwear sector, some brands recognize the potential of this method, focusing on the development of online customization platforms. Thus, using the content analysis method, based on the study of three of these user interfaces, it is intended to present a proposal of a model for a platform-user relational analysis able to assist the development of online footwear customization interfaces. It is aimed to contribute to the theoretical reflection of the co-design applied to the customization of footwear. © Common Ground Research Networks, Nelson Oliveira, Joana Cunha, All Rights Reserved.
This third edition of a trusted resource brings together the latest literature across multiple fields to facilitate the understanding and prevention of falls in older adults. Thoroughly revised by a multidisciplinary team of authors, it features a new three-part structure covering epidemiology and risk factors for falls, strategies for prevention and implications for practice. The book reviews and incorporates new research in an additional thirteen chapters covering the biomechanics of balance and falling, fall risk screening and assessment with new technologies, volitional and reactive step training, cognitive-motor interventions, fall injury prevention, promoting uptake and adherence to fall prevention programs and translating fall prevention research into practice. This edition is an invaluable update for clinicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, researchers, and all those working in community, hospital and residential or rehabilitation aged care settings.
An estimated 50% of people that are diagnosed with dementia also experience pain. The difficulty, including inability in some individuals, to communicate pain in moderate to severe dementia represents a challenge for its adequate recognition, assessment, and treatment. Untreated pain in dementia patients has been related to a myriad of neuropsychiatric disorders including restlessness and agitation, violent behavior, persistent affective disorder, sleep disorder, and depression among others; appropriate pain management has been demonstrated to ameliorate and, in some cases, treat such comorbid conditions. Effective pain management involves an interdisciplinary approach using multimodal techniques with the goals of increasing quality of life, relieving suffering, and treating the cause whenever possible. In this chapter, the authors review the most practical aspects of musculoskeletal pain in patients with dementia.
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People often say they love a product. What do they really mean when they say this, and is this a phenomenon that is relevant to the field of design? Findings from a preliminary study in this thesis indicated that people describe their love as a rewarding, long-term, and dynamic experience that arises from a meaningful relationship built with products they own and use. Inspired by existing approaches to the experience of love from social psychology, research tools are developed for the closer study of person-product love. Using those tools the research in this thesis investigates how person-product interactions are linked to the experience of love and how these influence love over time. The findings reveal how the experience of love arises from person-product relationships, how love relationships develop over time, and which factors can provoke change in the love experience and love relationships over time. These findings present opportunities for design researchers and designers to foster rewarding experiences and long-lasting person-product relationships. Person-product love relationships can bring emotional rewards that benefit people’s wellbeing and stimulate sustained efforts to keep loved products for longer.
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In this paper, we introduce a general framework for product experience that applies to all affective responses that can be experienced in human-product interaction. Three distinct components or levels of product experiences are discussed: aesthetic experience, experience of meaning, and emotional experience. All three components are distinguished in having their own lawful underlying process. The aesthetic level involves a product’s capacity to delight one or more of our sensory modalities. The meaning level involves our ability to assign personality or other expressive characteristics and to assess the personal or symbolic significance of products. The emotional level involves those experiences that are typically considered in emotion psychology and in everyday language about emotions, such as love and anger, which are elicited by the appraised relational meaning of products. The framework indicates patterns for the processes that underlie the different types of affective product experiences, which are used to explain the personal and layered nature of product experience
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This paper introduces a conceptual model for the process underlying emotional responses that result from the perception of consumer products. The model distinguishes different kinds of emotions on the basis of eliciting conditions. It is based on the presumption that all emotional reactions result from an appraisal process in which the individual appraises the product as favouring or harming one or several of his concerns. In this process of appraisal, the personal concern gives the stimulus emotional relevance. The model describes the various ways in which products can act as emotional stimuli and the matching concerns that can either correspond or collide with these stimuli. Products can act as stimuli in three different ways: the product as such, the product (or designer) as an agent, and the products as a promise for future usage or ownership. The corresponding concerns that are addressed are respectively: attitudes, standards, and goals. By revealing the cognitive basis of product emotions, the model can be used to explain the nature and, often, mixed character of product emotions. The paper illustrates a possible application of the model in a tool for designers.
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As walkers perceive more difficulty while descending stairs, they are likely to experience mis-steps or to trip. In this paper the perceived difficulty while descending stairs with various tread/rise combinations is evaluated using sensory tests. An index to design tread depth and rise height is found from a multiple regression analysis of experimental results.Ten young males (average age 21.0), ten young females (average age 19.7) and ten elderly males (average age 71.2) assessed 42 tread/rise combinations while descending stairs. The female group wore 4 different types of footwear differing in heel height. As a result, dimensions of tread and rise with less difficulty in descending stairs were shown to exist in certain combinations, around 29–30 cm tread and 18 cm rise for lower heeled footwear, and around 30 cm tread and 15.5 cm rise for higher heeled footwear. Perceived difficulty increases as the measurements deviate from these combinations. The results of the subjects' evaluations are quantified using the psychometric method of successive categories, which is based on the assumption that the frequency distribution of all evaluations for each tread/rise combination is normal. From a multiple regression analysis of quantified results and considering the potential risk of high heeled footwear, a rational index to design tread depth and rise height is presented in this paper.
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Our possessions are a major contributor to and reflection of our identities. A variety of evidence is presented supporting this simple and compelling premise. Related streams of research are identified and drawn upon in developing this concept and implications are derived for consumer behavior. Because the construct of extended self involves consumer behavior rather than buyer behavior, it appears to be a much richer construct than previous formulations positing a relationship between self-concept and consumer brand choice.
A triaxial electrogoniometer was used along with a Locam camera to measure knee rotation and gait characteristics of nineteen female college students while walking on a treadmill under three experimental conditions (barefoot, running shoes and high heels). Range of valgus-varus, flexion-extension and internal-external rotation during the swing and support phases, and maximum flexion during the swing walking step phase were studied. Significant differences (p < 0.01) were found among the three heel height treatments for range of knee flexion-extension during the swing walking phase and for internal-external rotation during the swing walking phase. Significant differences (p < 0.01) were also found between the high heeled swing phase mean value for internal-external rotation and the barefoot treatment mean values. ANOVA indicated a significant difference among the three experimental treatments for all distance and temporal variables studied.
The walking traction test was put to the ultimate test by measuring the coefficient of friction (cof) of six pairs of women's shoes including one with a flat profiled rubber sole and no separate heel and five with a range of raised heels (high heels), on a variety of dry and wet floors. The effect of applying three types of floor polish to vinyl and vinyl asbestos was also investigated. The pair of flat profiled rubber soled women's shoes could not be induced to slip on any surface either wet or dry. On dry, buffed vinyl only one of the high heel shoes slipped close to the maximum attainable cof of 0.42. The addition of two types of wax polish caused all high heel shoes to slip and they also slipped on dry terrazzo. When water containing a wetting agent was applied to these (wet) surfaces one of the high heel shoes did not slip on terrazzo, but all the high heel shoes slipped on the other floor surfaces. On wet terrazzo and wet waxed plywood the cof was higher than on dry surfaces. Kendall's coefficient of concordance (w) for rank orders of the womens' shoes was 0.72 for five dry surfaces and 0.47 on eight wet surfaces, p < 0.001. Rank orders on dry and wet surfaces were significantly similar p < 0.01 (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient). These experiments showed that very slip-resistant and safe women's shoes are available and they support the commonly held belief that high heel shoes are less safe. With this test method it is relatively easy to obtain cof values for all footwear and for barefeet and socks. The latter can be extremely slippery and probably cause many domestic injuries. The method can also be used to measure the cof of all floor surfaces including swimming pool tiles. Two shoe samples used in earlier experiments to assess the slip-resistance of soling compound T66/103 (T66) provided additional evidence that T66 has a high cof on dry surfaces.
This study investigates the effect of changes in posture caused by wearing high-heeled shoes on the maximum lifting capacity. Nine female college students, ages 20 to 25 years, participated in this study. Three heel heights (flat, 5 cm and 7.6 cm), two lifting heights (floor to knuckle and knuckle to shoulder), and lifting frequency of 4 per minute were examined. The results indicate that a significant difference exists between MAWOL with flats and that with 7.6 cm heels for both lifting heights. Subjects lifted 21.5% less weight using 7.6 cm heels than wearing flats. No significant difference was found between MAWOL with flats and 5 cm high heels. In addition, in evaluating the tasks subjectively, the subjects reported that they experienced a stress ontheir legs when lifting with 5 cm and 7.6 cm high-heeled shoes. The conclusion of this study indicates that a change in posture affects lifting capacity, and individuals should adjust their predetermined MAWOL while wearing high-heeled shoes.
A survey of 200 young women wearing high-heeled shoes indicated frequent complaints of leg and low back pain. Consequently, an empirical study examined the biomechanical effects of three heel heights (0, 4.5, and 8 cm), while standing stationary and while walking in five, healthy, young women. Four major biomechanical effects were observed. As heel heights increased, the trunk flexion angle decreased significantly. Similarly, tibialis anterior EMG, low back EMG and the vertical movement of the body center of mass increased significantly while walking with high-heeled shoes. Due to these added stresses, wearing of high heels should be avoided.Relevance to industryIn addition to the normal physical job stresses, women workers may experience additional biomechanical stresses placed on them by fashion demands such as high heels. All these effects can significantly increase discomfort levels in those wearing high heels.
This paper discusses consumer response to product visual form within the context of an integrated conceptual framework. Emphasis is placed on the aesthetic, semantic and symbolic aspects of cognitive response to design. The accompanying affective and behavioural responses are also discussed and the interaction between cognitive and affective response is considered. All aspects of response are presented as the final stage in a process of communication between the design team and the consumer. The role of external visual references is examined and the effects of moderating influences at each stage in the process of communication are discussed. In particular, the personal, situational and cultural factors that moderate response are considered. In concluding the paper, implications for design practice and design research are presented.