For example, cities in the following countries undeniably have more than their share of broken pavement: Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, Latvia, Slovakia, Italy. In these places, high-heeled shoes are popular with local women.
Compare with cities in the following places: Singapore, Finland, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Japan. In these places, sensible shoes are more popular with local women. And the sidewalks are in better repair than the previous group of places.
Now, correlation does not imply causality, and it would be perverse to make the claim that it does in this case. Although I appreciate a nice set of heels as much as anyone, I think it's dangerous to try wearing them while walking on broken sidewalks.
My personal theory on this includes a complicated set of connections between economics, culture, fashion, and the role of the sexes. But I'm still collecting data.