A South African designer has created a pair of backward-looking high heels.

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Heels are a staple at every fashion week around the world, but a pair by South African student artist Leanie van der Vvyer is challenging how high they can go.

Titled the ‘Scary Beautiful’ heels, the massive pumps are meant to be worn backwards, forcing the wearer’s feet straight down the back with their shin “leaning” against the front of the design for balance.

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While it may seem like an absurd shoe to wear for everyone except Lady Gaga, Vvyer says she created it as a critique on the fashion industry’s "quest" for perfection.

“I wrote my Thesis about how humans have been playing God with their bodies, constantly searching for the ultimate perfection and I discovered that this perfection has reached a climax in the fashion and beauty industry,” Vvyer explains. “Heels cannot get higher any higher.”

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The heels have so far generated a mixed response, with stylelite.com diplomatically calling them "the kind of shoes made for pondering rather than wearing," while thegloss.com referred to them as "the kind of shoes that will give you nightmares for weeks".

But VVyer is hardly offended by the response, stressing that the the aim of the shoe is to generate conversation about the fashion industry.

"I enjoy the mixed feelings it is provoking in people who see them," explained Vvyer. "This was always my intention. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection. Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard."

Would you ever wear shoes this high?

Images via Leanie van der Vyver.