After 50 Long, High-Heeled Years, Barbie Finally Gets to Wear Flats

It might have taken half a century, but Barbie can finally give her feet a break.

According to a June 4 Mashable article, the iconic doll will finally have flat feet and adjustable ankles as part of Mattel’s new “Barbie Fashionistas” line of dolls. That means Barbie can now wear flats, sandals and even sneakers for the first time in her 56 years.

Mattel says the Fashionistas line is meant to reflect “the world girls see around them.” Not only do the Barbie Fashionistas dolls have flat feet to reflect more modern-day tastes; this collection of dolls is also decidedly more diverse than Barbie is known for being. Barbie Fashionistas will come in “eight different skin tones, 14 different facial sculpts, 18 eye colors, 22 hair styles, and 23 hair colors,” Cosmopolitan reports.

The choice to make Barbie a bit more modern might be a response to the doll’s waning popularity in recent years, with growing competition from other kid’s toys — especially dolls named Anna and Elsa — taking an increasing chunk out of sales.

But it’s still amazing that it’s taken so long for Barbie to venture into different styles of footwear. Yoga Teacher Barbie, Surgeon Barbie and Firefighter Barbie all walked on their tip-toes. When the feet contain about 25% of the bones in our bodies, it’s hard to fathom how badly Barbie’s feet must have hurt after wearing high heels for so long.

This is especially true when recent scientific studies — and even the fashion industry itself — have acknowledged that high heels cause pain and limit physical activity when worn more than three times per week. Not only is it unrealistic to convey to young girls that successful women always wear high heels, it also might be unhealthy.

So go, Barbie. Fake walk and fake run anywhere your newly-flat feet will take you. Just be sure to keep your Instagram updated with tastefully-filtered photos of all the new shoes you’ll be buying.

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