These indentations were done by a 135-pound woman wearing stilettos.

As much as I enjoy seeing a woman in stiletto heels, I cringe at the fact that they are going to do a lot of damage to floors they come in contact with. In the past couple of years the small pockmarks left by stiletto heels have returned. The damage is found not only in resilient flooring products but in wood floors, too.

When you talk to people who are responsible for the building or the building maintenance, they do not want to hear that their floor will not stand up to this type of treatment. They often do not realize the tremendous impact the stiletto heel causes. Resilient floors, depending upon manufacturer and testing method, claim to have materials that can withstand static loads up to 2500 psi.

The stiletto heel, with the cap on, represents a loading area of 1/20th of a square inch and that amounts to a tremendous amount of loading from the person wearing them. To calculate the loading you need to multiply the person’s weight times 20 to determine the load. For example, a 100 lb. person equals 2,000 lbs. static load; a 125 lb. person equals 2,500 lbs. static load; and a 150 lb. person equals 3,000 lbs. static load. The indentation that is left behind will be of similar shape and size.

A stiletto heel mark is usually small and about 3/16” in diameter. So it means the stiletto heel has lost its cap and the head of the spike is exposed. A stiletto heel with the spike exposed represents a loading area of 1/80th of a square inch. To calculate the loading you need to multiply the person’s weight times 80 to determine the load.  Example,

100 lb. person equals 8,000 lbs. load

125 lb. person equals 10,000 lbs. load

150 lb. person equals 12,000 lbs. load

Not to sound unfair, but there are a lot of women in stiletto heels that are well over 100 lbs. and I have witnessed cases where you could follow them to their offices by the trail of small pock marks they left behind in the flooring material. In a residential situation, the homeowner was actually punching holes in the resilient flooring material.

So how does this compare with, say a 6,000 lb. elephant? Because of the size of his feet, his static load is around 60 psi. And a 4,000 lb. automobile is about 45 psi depending upon the size of tires.

When you are dealing with complaints with these types of problems, you can try to explain to the person in charge and hope they will understand that there is no flooring material that will withstand this type of abuse. But the bottom line is either they disallow high heel shoes or live with the aesthetics.

What about other materials? Wood? Definitely not. Ceramic, marble or hard tile? Maybe, but some will chip along the edges. Rubber? It will indent. Bare or stained concrete?  It will chip at the surface.

So who is at fault? If you send the material to have it tested, it will meet the requirements for static loading almost every time. It is not an installation problem, or a manufacturing or adhesive defect.