Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, whose department oversees the Food and Drug Administration, has made the decision to classify some sneakers as “health-related.”
The move came after researchers found that women who wore shoes were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
Burwell told Fox News that “a lot of the shoes we’ve tested don’t look good.”
Burwell said the agency will release more information next month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who wear shoes on foot are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease than women who don’t wear them.
“These are not good shoes,” Burwell added.
“They are not appropriate for women.
And they are not safe for women to wear on their feet.”
A woman wears a pair of shoes as she walks to the restroom at the Health and Welfare Department in Washington on Jan. 18, 2018.
(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images) The FDA did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
A group of shoe companies has come out against the move.
“We have a history of being very supportive of women wearing footwear,” Jennifer Dolan, vice president of corporate affairs for the American Academy of Footwear, told Fox.
“And as long as the FDA is continuing to support this work, we will continue to do so.”
“I think it’s important that women have the freedom to wear the shoes that they want,” said Dr. Michelle Dey, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, who studies shoe design.
“That’s why I think it would be very important for the FDA to be aware of this issue and act accordingly.”
The FDA says it has identified a number of studies showing that women with foot deformities like a cleft lip or arthrogryposis are at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Women who wear a high-top shoe, which has a low-to-mid-foot height, or a low or high-rise heel, are also more likely than women in the general population to develop heart disease.
In addition, the FDA says that the “slight and significant difference in heel height between men and women” can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Women are also twice as at risk for having a stroke and four times as likely as men for developing an enlarged heart.
According the Centers For Disease Control, about 2.2 million women a year will die prematurely from cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. due to conditions that are not directly related to their shoes, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure and some cancers.
The number of women who die prematurely each year is about 5,000.
The FDA has not yet released the full list of brands that have been tested for health and safety.
The agency says that while it has not made a determination about what constitutes a health and safe footwear, it has taken action against “sadistic” or “grossly inappropriate” marketing.
“In light of this recent announcement, we are working to identify more brands that are fit for purpose and in keeping with FDA standards,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.