Shoe trends are poised to buck some well-heeled conventional wisdom.

Historically, women's heel sizes reach new heights when the economy is down. But come winter and spring, we'll be seeing more women in kitten heels and flats, according to new data from IBM (IBM).

The findings are based on a very modern arbiter of trends: influential fashion bloggers.

"A couple of years ago, the recession was greeted by higher heels -- an escape into fantasy. But most nations are still in the doldrums economically," Dr. Trevor Davis, a consumer products expert with IBM, tells DailyFinance.

Now a community of bloggers says that heels will be getting lower over the next two seasons. "What might be happening is that prolonged bad news makes people feel like acting more demurely, so heel heights come down," Davis says.

A trip down shoe/economic trend memory lane shows a different trajectory.

In the 1920s, low-heeled flapper shoes gave way to high-heel pumps during the Great Depression, IBM notes. Decades later, platform shoes took center stage during the economic downturn and oil crisis of the 1970s, as women moved away from the low-heeled sandal trend of the late 1960s.

And after the dot-com bust of 2000, Sex and the City-influenced stilettos stole the spotlight from the low, thick heels of the 1990s that reflected the grunge look.

But if the bloggers' latest predictions bear out, flats could be the shoe of choice during a lengthy economic downturn.

To come up with these findings, IBM first scoured billions of social media posts. It then winnowed those sites down to what it considered the most influential online bloggers. These aren't traditional experts who work in the footwear industry, but shoe enthusiasts who monitor fashion trends and have a big following, IBM says.

One of those bloggers, Rachel Yeomans, editor in chief of, says runway trends, fashion editorial coverage, conversations between shoppers on her site, as well as chatter on Linkedin, Facebook, Foursquare, YouTube and question-and-answer web site Quora, suggests that "people are talking about" kicking up their lower heels, she says.

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Ashraf Wagdy

Dear Sir/Madam,

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"Trend Compass".

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Epic Systems

May 01 2012 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Comparing the economy to low heels or high heels is the same as guessing where our economy is heading. How about preparing people how to survive if the economy crashes. Low heels. I'm already tilling my soil in preparation. Millions of people living in apartments all across this nation should prepare to have Patio Gardens. Grow vegetables, flowers, herbs, etc, by using multi tiered Macrame Plant Hangers. Improve your health and air quality by growing spider plants in your house or patio. Spider Plants or Airplane plants remove all carbon dioxide from the air. They even remove Clorophyll from within mobile homes. You can buy both on eBay. Go green and make our world a better place.

November 23 2011 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Come to NYC and see what;s happening in this economy...The clubs are packed with waiting lines to get in. Stop trying dictate fashion trends.. All the women clubbing are wearing 5-6" heels..And will continue to do so regardless of this sites lack of fashion sense.

November 23 2011 at 2:33 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

flats look terrible on woman

November 23 2011 at 12:55 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

high heels, long nails, heavy makeup, breast implants, loud noises in bed, acting or looking like porn stars, should all go

November 22 2011 at 7:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to nine11forumdiscussions's comment

ooooooh for gawdssake they're only spewing bs about shoe styles !

November 22 2011 at 7:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I agree. I will not wear heels as they make my feet hurt, not fun for me. I wore a pair of maybe two inch heels to my cousin's wedding a few years back and have not worn them since then and do not care if I wear them again, unless it is my wedding day. I think stilletos (sp?) should go away for good. Just looking at them in stores like JCPenney, Macy's, Sears, Kohl's, etc make me shiver because most I see are at least 3" high. I sprained both of my ankles in high school and even though it was a mild sprain, it hurt a lot. I think that has something to do with that. However, I refuse to put up with arthritis or surgery when I get older.

November 23 2011 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe they can't afford the podiatrist's bill

November 22 2011 at 3:37 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

High Heels = Stripper/ Trash

November 22 2011 at 3:03 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Thought that hemlines were the indicator - short economy Up - long economy Down! Oh well, now it's shoes!! Who Knew!!

November 22 2011 at 3:01 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Some of the platforms are ridiculously high. We must really be in trouble.

November 22 2011 at 2:04 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

This heel thing may have something to do with the idea that the economy would actually get better after a couple of years. It hasn't and it's getting worse for the average worker.

November 22 2011 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply