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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  • Jase

    I live in South Korea right now (I’m an English teacher) and although heels are pretty much a pre-requisite for stepping out of the house at any time of day, I have seen more and more girls in sparkly TOMS walking around Seoul looking cute-as. If only they would sell my size shoe I would be even happier!!

  • I have heels, I’ve worn them, but I tried an experiment lately by not wearing them to a dressy event. See post “It Wasn’t The Shoes” http://wp.me/p1sXPw-PY Best decision I made in a while.

    When we argue that “People” think heels are pretty we should remember that “people” thought the look of women in corsets and or in cute little 3 inch shoes were pretty, too (Chinese Foot Binding). It’s all fashion, not a requirement for womanhood. Pushing the fashion envelope for women historically often involves discomfort. But women now do have the right to say, “No, I’m not doing that.”

    Seems that the media likes to photograph women in extreme shoes these days. Whatever. A woman can be grown up, straight, sexual, attractive and desirable without heels (and consequently without pain and with mobility). If we want options in our footwear, we have to demand it, though — and actually wear it. We also have to stop treating certain fashions as a right of passage into heterosexual womanhood.

    You can stick your boobs and butt out without heels. Designers could put taps on shoes so they have the click clack of stilettos (if you need that), And for some reason people need to see women perpetually pointing their toes — well we could sit and point if someone feels the necessity to assume that pose). I think that the top of women’s feet (which is unnaturally highlighted in extreme heels) is not a source of sexual power. But on the other hand, the broken arch in Chinese foot binding was supposed to be extremely sexy (the toes were folded completely under), as well as the odd gait it caused. Interesting.

    I don’t know, seems that there have always been a lot of things men like to look at in magazines and porn but women weren’t expected to wear those things in everyday life and men didn’t expect that either.

    Great post. Rambling comment, I know. Kind of obsessed with the topic.

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