Men view women in stilettos and high heels as confident and sexually attractive, says a new study. Reuters

Contrary to being put off by spiked or extreme heels, men are attracted to women in heels, according to a study.

If women are wearing heels, men are more likely to interact with them. This includes getting things for them and making an approach in a bar, and it happens more often than if members of the opposite sex are wearing flat shoes, says a study by Universite de Bretagne-Sud.

The study suggests men are attracted by a woman in heels as she looks taller, more sexually confident, sure of herself, with a lengthened silhouette and "sensual jutting buttocks" in the words of a Paris-based sociologist.

''Women's shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men's behaviour,'' says the study's author, Nicolas Gueguen, a behavioural science researcher. ''Simply put, they make women more beautiful.''

Drop something on the street and chances are passing men will bend down and get it if you happen to be in high heels found the study, which conducted an experiment to check men's behaviour to "well-heeled" women.

A woman in heels can also get men on the street to answer a survey more easily than flat-shoed women, and her chances of being chatted up in a bar are higher, reports AP.

Gueguen's study used 19-year-old female volunteers wearing black shoes with heels that were 0.5cm (0.2in) or 5cm (2in) or 9cm (3.5in) high.

Spiked heels commonly measuring 10cm (4in) and extreme heels above 13cm (5in) are worn by some women despite the fact they can cause back pain and increase the risk of ankle injury.

Worn by Egyptian butchers in ancient times to avoid the bloodied bodies of animal carcasses, high heels reportedly got their erotic label in the 19th and 20th centuries.