Wood Flooring High Heel Dents


Did you know that a 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch.  An exposed heel nail (from over-worn heels, or exposed metal spike) can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch- as much as an elephant or small car! This kind of impact can dent pretty much any floor surface.

Most companies who sell hardwood floors state that owners should avoid walking on wood floors with cleats, sports shoes and high heels.

The relative hardness of wood species is measured using what is called a Janka Hardness Rating. This test measures the force needed to embed a steel ball (.444 inch in diameter) to half its diameter in the piece of wood being tested, with the rating measured in pounds of force per square inch. With this rating system, the higher the number, the harder the wood.

Wood hardness is important since one of the key considerations in selecting the species of wood floor your floor should be how much resistance the wood has to scratches and indentations. For example, if you wear stiletto high heels often, and plan to host parties with other stiletto-wearers, then denting and scratching the floor is a consideration, and you should select a species with a higher rating such as hickory, maple, oak or ash, however, all are still susceptible to damage.

To protect your wood floors from high-heel damage, new products such as Solemates are available. High heel floor protectors prevent divots in hardwood floors simply by slipping a protector over an existing heel. The surface area of the protector is just wide enough to disperse the pressure and prevent the damage. So, anytime you are having a party, make sure to have a bowl of high heel floor protectors next to the door and kindly ask your stiletto-wearing guests to abide. And, be a thoughtful guest yourself and carry a pair or two with you at all times because they will not only help save your friends’ floors, they will also save your heels from unpredictable walking surfaces such as grass, street grates, cracked sidewalks and cobblestone.

Janka Hardness Rating

(Highest to Lowest)

2350 – Brazilian Cherry
2345 – Mesquite
2200 – Santos Mahogany
1820 – Hickory
1820 – Pecan
1450 – Hard Maple
1360 – White Oak
1320 – Ash
1300 – American Beech
1290 – Red Oak(Northern)
1260 – Yellow Birch
1225 – Heart Pine
1010 – Black Walnut
1000 – Teak
950 – Black Cherry
870 – Southern Yellow Pine (long leaf)
690 – Southern Yellow Pine (short leaf)
660 – Douglas Fir
380 – White Pine