But the latest fallout has raised some red flags with foot and ankle experts.
The “Barbie Foot Challenge,” for which users try to emulate Barbie’s iconic foot arch — just like Margot Robbie did in the film — has gone viral on TikTok, bringing in over one million views.
But a podiatrist says that attempting to stand on such high tippy toes could have adverse consequences. Here is what you need to know about the foot-focused challenge.
The trend and how it started
Barbie is known for a lot of things, including an almost exclusively-pink color palette, a never-ending career resume spanning from astronaut to ballerina — and those famously arched, never-flat feet.
The feet were front-and-center when Robbie’s Barbie stepped out of her furry pink heels, maintaining her tip-toe stance without her heels touching the ground (until an eventual malfunction, that is). And now the instantly iconic scene has taken on a life of its own on TikTok, with users sharing their attempts to mimic the comically unrealistic arch.
But experts say it’s best to leave certain trends to the professionals.
- In many of these videos, users start out in a pair of high heels and then step out of them without placing their heels down, balancing high up on their tiptoes.
- These videos boomed in popularity after the film’s release, but Robbie’s arch has been a point of discourse since the teaser trailer was released in April.
- Robbie did not use a foot double for the scene.
- It took Margot Robbie around eight takes to get the famed shot (and she held onto something, out of the frame, for balance).
- The trend even gained traction with some celebrities, as Chrissy Teigen shared a humorously clumsy video recreating Robbie’s viral scene.
Experts weigh in
While extremely arched feet are the norm in Barbieland, human feet typically do not have as high of an arch, and podiatrist Dr. Alireza Khosroabadi says that trying to recreate this pose by walking or standing on the tips of your toes for extended periods could cause unnecessary stress and damage to the foot and ankle.
“You’re putting your entire weight on the ball of your foot, which is something that most of us don’t do unless you’re wearing high heels,” says Khosroabadi. But unlike with heels, this trend leaves the foot largely unsupported.
“With heels, most of your weight goes onto the platform [of the shoe], so you have some kind of support. If you don’t have a heel on, though, and you’re holding your foot in that position, your entire bodyweight goes on your tiptoes,” says the California-based foot and ankle surgeon.
And that’s not a sustainable or natural position, especially when walking.
“With every step, this weight gets transferred to the ball of the foot, which is not designed to sustain that kind of weight,” he says.
This can also affect your ability to balance and increases the risk of ankle sprains and other foot-related problems.
“Constantly walking on tiptoes can put excessive pressure on the forefoot, leading to metatarsalgia,” says the doctor, explaining that the condition, characterized by “pain and inflammation” in the foot, can make it difficult to walk.
This trend can also be dangerous for younger participants, as extended walking on the tips of your toes can “hinder the normal development of foot and leg muscles, which can have implications for overall motor skills and physical performance,” says Khosroabadi, adding that it’s important to remember that arches are determined by genetics, and no amount of posing can change that.
“You can strengthen the muscles,” he stresses. “However, you cannot change the arch.”
Still, if only done for a short time, filming a quick video to recreate Barbie’s arch shouldn’t cause any damage to the feet.
“I don’t see a huge harm because most of us stand on our tip toes to reach something at some point during the day. It’s not really that bad if you’re doing it for a quick second,” says Khosroabadi.
But be cautious, he adds, as “even for a quick second, if you’re not careful, you could roll your ankle and potentially tear some of the muscles that are on the side of your ankle.”
People are recreating the ‘Barbie’ foot scene on TikTok. Might be dangerous. People are recreating the ‘Barbie’ foot scene on TikTok. Might be dangerous.