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A good pair of heels can make an outfit. Unfortunately, they also hurt like hell after ten minutes--and ten years. Here, a few interesting things that might happen if you give them up for good.

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Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Your feet will hurt less, but your heels might hurt more

At least temporarily. Wearing heels over an extended period of time can shorten your Achilles tendons (the tissues that connect your calf muscles to your heel bones). It can take up to a few months (depending on how often you wore heels) before they return to their normal length, at which point any discomfort in your heels will subside.

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Your back pain might go away

You know how that pair of Loubs always makes your butt look amazing? It’s because the added height causes your pelvis to shift and arch backward. This puts pressure on the lumbar region of your spine--aka the cause of your chronic lower back pain.

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Your bare feet will look better

Pointy-toed boots and pumps often cause pesky calluses and ingrown toenails. Switch to shoes with a wider toe box and these gnarly bumps and bruises will typically go away on their own within a few weeks.

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Your balance will improve

Meaning: in whatever shoes you are wearing. A 2015 study found that extended wear of high heels could lead to an imbalance between the muscles that surround and support your ankles. Flats, on the other hand, help with stability and promote better balance. Obvious but noteworthy.

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Your legs might look shorter

But they’re actually getting longer. Studies have found that people who wear heels often have shorter calf muscles because of the way they compress your heel (and the aforementioned Achilles tendons). A combination of stretching and switching to more supportive shoes will help them return to their former length.

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Our Take

Imagine if we told you to throw out all your Choos? God, no. Enjoy wearing those babies--in moderation. If an outfit looks just as good with a chic little flat, go for the flat. Then wait to bring out the stiletto big guns for special occasions (of course, keeping some spare slip-ons in the car for later).

Opening image: The Chriselle Factor

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