Thursday, June 11, 2009

Walking around in pain for fashion

So I was in New York City the other day. Even though it was cloudy and cool, it was great to walk around and people-watch a bit. You'd think I'd learn to suspend vanity and just wear my tourist sneakers, but I don't learn, and I have blisters from my flip-flops.

Why don't women take care of their feet? There we were in a city where everyone walks, and women were teetering around in high heels or padding around in ballet flats - and flat or not, those things have no support at all. I could have saved myself a world of pain (and my husband a world of whining) if I had been willing to sacrifice fashion and wear my not-cute, not-trendy Brooks athletic shoes, the Oscar winners of arch support.

Poorly designed footwear, especially high heels, helps produce bunions, plantar fascitis, heel spurs, you name it. And then you end up not being able to walk, let alone create a life that doesn't depend on cars.

Let me tell you, the men I saw were not tipping and clacking with their behinds thrust out (a postural side-effect of high heels). And they were even wearing nice shoes that matched their expensive business suits.

So, other women, I ask you this: when do we send teetering heels into history along with the corset? Compare the damage the one does to the damage of the other. Wear flat, comfortable shoes with a killer outfit.

And guys: if you really, truly want to see a world with fewer cars, more walking and biking, and healthier people, act turned off by stiletto heels. Even if you think they're hot.


  1. I refuse to wear shoes that are the least bit uncomfortable, yet I do not think comfort necessarily means no high heels.

    As you said, ballet flats can be quite unpleasant to wear, even though people assume otherwise just because they are flat. I've also had trouble with many walking shoes, including expensive Camper and Arcus -- which have literally made my feet bleed despite looking very sensible and comfortable.

    On the other hand, I have worn elegant boots and sandals with 3-4" heels that were so well designed, that they felt like walking on a cloud. I have literally walked for miles in such shoes on city pavement with no adverse effects.

    I think that well-designed high heels can enhance the female figure, encourage good posture, and foster feelings of power and self confidence in the wearer. When this is combined with comfort, I am all for it. Not to mention that cycling in high heels is fun!

  2. On the train, I always notice a lot of women who wear sneakers for their commute, and carry their shoes with them.

  3. Pain from wearing high heels is nature's way of punishing women for wearing flats.