Updated 17 September 2014

Why men love women with small feet

You're probably not aware of it, but chances are you have a thing for tall women with small feet, long thigh bones and narrow hips.


If you are an average kind of guy, chances are that you have a thing for tall women with small feet, long thigh bones and narrow hips. What’s more, you’re probably not even aware of it.

Read: Men vs. women: relationship truths

A new study by evolutionary psychologists Jeremy Atkinson and Michelle Rowe from the University at Albany in New York suggests that presented just with pictures of women’s faces, the majority of men subconsciously choose those who have small feet as being prettier. The results of the research were presented at an academic conference in June.

Atkinson and Rowe took physical measurements of the anatomy of 60 white female college students and combined the faces of those with the most extreme features into composite photographs or morphs. They then asked 77 heterosexual, male students to assess these morphs according to attractiveness.

When shown a composite photograph of the faces of the 8 women with the smallest feet in the group and the equivalent picture for the 8 women with the largest feet, the men were three-and-a-half times more likely to pick the short-footed morph as being more attractive. They were also 11 times more likely to choose the narrow-hipped morph and 8 times more likely to pick the long-thighed morph. And all that from just looking at a face – amazing!

The researchers believe that millennia of evolutionary adaptation have allowed men to acquire the subconscious ability to judge the faces of those women who have features that are the hallmarks of a healthy childhood as particularly attractive. Long feet, long thigh bones and narrow hips are among the markers of a stress-free and well-fed childhood.

Girls who experience their developmental period from the fetal stage to puberty under less ideal conditions are more likely to grow up with hormonal imbalances, leaving them shorter and stouter, on average. Since our faces are shaped by the same hormones that shape the rest of our bodies, they also reflected our overall, long-term hormonal health. It would seem that men have evolved to identify those facial features as especially attractive that are mirrored in a woman’s more general physical health.

Read more:
What's the colour of lust?
Love chemistry


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