High heels are like that regrettable ex-boyfriend I can’t get out of my system: beautiful, enticing but ultimately painful. I put up with them like any naive girlfriend would through high school, college and into adulthood. After standing up in heels during the day or dancing in stilettos at parties, I was ready to saw my feet off at the ankles by the time I got home. I decided I would devote myself to sneakers and flats, which were infinitely more comfortable. But once an event popped up on my calendar that called for a pair of heels, I was back in painful shoes in no time. I thought bringing flats in my purse was a viable solution until I got hip to the permanent damage my beloved shoes were causing.

Heels shorten the calf muscles, contract the Achilles tendon and slowly push your hips and spine out of alignment. They also put you at a greater risk for falling flat on your face. In short, they’re dangerous. Why was I literally putting myself in harm’s way day after day just to wear heels?

The truth is I felt sexier in them, and taller. I’m sure my walk was more graceful in heels. And I imagined that I appeared more womanly and alluring. But the shoes weren’t just about attracting men. A killer pair of stilettos could win over praise from women too. Even the rudest woman will shower you with a compliment for the right pair of shoes.

But what is it all worth if it causes temporary pain and lasting damage?

These days, I wear my dresses with boots with a tiny platform for support and I rock my skirts with sneaker wedges. I am no longer the vixen strutting in six-inch heels through the room with all eyes on her, but I don’t have to deal with sore feet at the end of the night either.

Do you wear heels, Clutchettes? How do you deal with the pain they cause? Who do you wear heels for: yourself, men or other women?

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