Japan minister says high heels are ‘necessary and appropriate’ for women at work

More than 19,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Japan to enact a law to stop companies from being able to force female employees to wear high heels. But after the petition was submitted to the country’s labor ministry this week, health and labor minister Takumi Nemoto had this to say: Actress Yumi Ishikawa, 32, kicked off the #KuToo campaign, which is a pun on the Japanese words for shoe (kutsu) and pain (kutsuu), as well as a nod to the #MeToo movement. She told the New York Times that she was spurred to action after she had to switch jobs when standing in heels for eight hours while training for a hotel gig became too painful. (Indeed, the American Osteopathic society has said heels put the foot at an angle that pulls muscles and joints out of alignment, and women who wear heels for extended periods tend to suffer lower back, neck and shoulder pain.) The petition notes that Ishikawa is currently working part-time at a funeral service, where it is stipulated that she must wear pumps with heels, while male employees can wear more comfortable flats. It concludes with a line that translates into English as, “Aim for a world where choices are the same for men and ...

Allbirds Is Flying High–And Adidas and Nike Are Taking Notice

It’s noon on a sunny Friday in San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood and the Allbirds store, nestled in the shadow of the Transamerica Pyramid, is buzzing. Filled with tech bros and soccer moms, twentysomethings and retirees, most were returning customers, there to pick up a second or third pair of Runners, the now nearly ubiquitous monochrome wool sneakers, touted for their supreme comfort and selling for $95 a pair. In just three years, the aggressively normcore shoes have taken over San Francisco, to the point where this reporter spotted them on a hip designer dad, a pair of coffee shop brogrammers and a mom-of-three allergist all in one day. But the store wall displayed something brand new: a line of ballet flats, Allbirds’ first distinctly feminine silhouette. The flat, named the Tree Breezer, is constructed from an extremely light eucalyptus fiber and has the same merino wool insole and bottom sole (made from a carbon-negative sugarcane substance) as Allbirds’ other styles. It currently comes in four colors (with additional hues in the pipeline): navy, gray, and the brighter pink and turquoise. “This feels like I’m wearing a sock,” one young blond woman exclaimed as ...