Stilleto race.

Dozens of shoe addicts have taken part in the National Stiletto Championship on an indoor track in the old stock exchange building in central Paris.

The only rule on Friday evening was to be perched on heels at least eight centimetres (three inches) high -- the prize is boxes and boxes of shoes.

The race -- a three-part relay over 180 metres (yards) -- was won by three young Parisian women who called themselves "Les Cocottes Codec" or "The Darling Chicks".

The 96 finalists hailed from all over France and made it into the glam challenge after a series of regional races.

"Walking on heels is no piece of cake," said Caroline Gentien, who works for the online shoe-sale site that came up with the idea,

"We came up with the idea just two years ago, and this year 400 candidates signed up for the regional races," Gentien added.

Fittingly, the prize was 3,000 euros worth of shoes.

Some 500 supporters showed up at the old stock exchange building -- lit up with pink lights for the occasion -- to cheer on a total of 32 teams.

Winners of the 2008 edition were a TV journalist, a psychologist, and a lawyer competing under team name "Talk To My Foot (Parle A Mon Pied)".

"We all love shoes and we love having fun," said journalist Dorothee Kristy, 29. "The only training we do is running to catch a train or a bus every day."

Also taking part in the event was stiletto school "Talons Academy", a private business that doles out tips on how to walk in heels without hurting one's back or one's ankles.

"A lot of women love high heels but don't dare wear them," said school founder Marine Aubonnet. "Or else they cheat. They go to a rendez-vous in flat shoes and put their stilettos on at the last minute. It's true that it is harder to find your balance on heels."

The trick for the contestants, she said, was "mastering the half-turn. Turning is a key, you have to get it right for each foot. Stilettos is all about technique."

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