Sick of that sinking feeling at the races? But we’re not talking about a losing bet — we mean it literally.

Stiletto heels and soft grass are not the ideal match. To solve this problem, a London department store has launched a “mini paddock” to allow racegoers to test out what shoes to buy for the big day.

Debenhams on Oxford Street is putting the turf, described as “good to soft”, through its paces.

A 4in stiletto is apparently the worst bet, sinking 2in into the ground. And as every savvy racing lady knows, a wedge is the safest bet for not hitting the deck in the parade ring.

“The Turf-Test is ideal to check out exactly how different heels feel before you buy,” said Debenhams PR manager Cassandra Robinson-Brown.

“After all, there is nothing fashionable about being stuck in the mud.”

The Turf-Test will also be available at other regional Debenhams stores, ahead of key race dates — including York and Leeds for the Yorkshire Ebor Festival and Doncaster for the St Leger Festival.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound on 19 June 2014.