Cinderella’s glass slippers are iconic. The Disney princess’s elegant footwear added the finishing touch to her transformation and led Prince Charming to her door, not to mention being totally awesome.
As a child, I spent hours dancing around in a plastic pair from the Disney store – but you’d be advised not to try pirouetting in a real-life glass shoe. According to scientists, they’re actually really dangerous.
A 2015 study called Cinderella’s Shattered Dreams, published in the Journal of Physics Special Topics, has dug deep into the science behind Cinderelly’s outfit to the ball and, more specifically, the logistics of her glass heels. It turns out she could only have worn her footwear if she stood completely still – had she moved the glass would have shattered, causing a hell of a lot more pain than a pesky blister.
The scientists’ working assumes Cinderella’s foot would be about a size 4 and that the shoes would be constructed from soda lime glass, or “everyday glass”. Their calculations – based on her weight of 55kg – reveal she’d have only been able to run away from the Prince at midnight were her heels 1.15cm or smaller – barely the size of a kitten heel and certainly not the elegant height of the shoes she wore to the ball.
(The mathematical working to support this theory is well beyond my reach but if you’re interested, click here.)
In the meantime, we’ll be sticking with our plastic pair to dance around the living room.