If there’s one thing in this world I wish I could wipe away from the fashion world, it’s the high heel. This weekend was ‘fashion week’ at one of our shopping centres, and while catching up with my friend, we went to see what the fuss was about. But we were less interested in the models and the demonstrations, than we were in the footwear of the people helping to run said models and demonstrations. One of the girls was running around in crazy several inch stilettos which looked like they could kill a man quite easily (then again, that’s why they’re called stilettos), which made my lack of balance wobble at the sheer sight. Made all the more amusing by the fact that one of the models, whose job was basically to stand in one position for a certain period of time, gave up while we were there and slipped out of her own heels and into tennis shoes to recover for a few minutes.
Even my friend, who is somewhat fashion conscious, said she didn’t know how someone could walk around in such high heels. Admittedly, the both of us do share the sad fate of collapsed arches and have to wear arch supports in our shoes – severely limiting our footwear even if we did want to wear heels past 2 inches – but why do so many women choose to wear them?
Well, that’s a rhetoric question. I know full well why women wear them – the same reason they go on diets and buy make up. They make them feel good about themselves. It’s one of the few articles of clothing with a ‘one size fits all’ mentality – I’ve yet to meet someone who thought a pair of shoes made them look ‘fat’. You can wear the same shoe regardless of whether you’re an 8 or an 18 – a rarity when clothes are basically designed to hang off the 10-year-old-boy-figure. They’ve also got the whole ‘sexy’ mentality going, which I’m told is highly sought after among the sexually inclined.
I on the other hand, have one simple rule when it comes to shoes. ‘Don’t put anything on your feet you can’t run in.’ Considering how many cobbled streets are in this town, that’s a very sane rule to live by. With the exception of cosplay shoes (where sadly, finding the right kind of shoe usually meant a very high heel), I have only owned a handful of high heels – and of that collection only one pair were higher than 2 inches. To be fair though, even before I had my arch excuse, I hated wearing them because I had no idea how to walk in them. Until university I’d lived in trainers – now I’ve migrated to boots with short block heels, but the same system applies. My footwear didn’t require a certain movement – I apparently slouch or scuff the ground while I walk, not intentional, but just how I’ve learned.
Got driven home one day when I went for an Interview in Edinburgh. Since it was a pretty important interview my mum decided to help me out and buy a new outfit and drive me there. The shopping expedition managed to go relatively smoothly – the one hiccup being her spotting the tattoo on my back that had been done just last week (spotted it through the crack in the changing room curtain – thankfully took it well since it was hidden away!) – But along with the suit, also bought me a pair of high heeled shoes. First time I slipped them on was the morning of the interview, and it was hard to say who was more irritated – me trying to tightrope along the pavement in these death traps, or my mother who seemed to think I was fooling around on purpose. So happy to actually get to the interview and sit down for half an hour.
On the way back? The streets were covered in dirt, glass, rocks and all sorts of nasty things. But the second I got out of that office I slipped both shoes off and let the pavement ruin my tights – for all the dangers on the ground I was still safer this way than I was trying to make my way to the car in the leather death traps. When we got home, mum took them for her own wardrobe – good riddance. The next time I needed a pair of shoes for an interview, I was lucky enough to find a pair of business shoes with a wedge heel. Ended up buying them in black and blue since it was the first time I found ‘business’ shoes I could walk in without fear.
Not that I’ve instantly hated every high heel. I’ve often bemoaned the fact that the most interesting shoes are normally those with a heel. Sometimes the appeal has been too much and I’ve bought them against my better judgement. The pair that instantly spring to mind were until last year hidden at the back of my wardrobe – a high 3 inch heel on a gothic style boot. Wore twice, but realised the second time I wore them that I was fooling myself if I thought I could walk in them…and I couldn’t find a single thing in my wardrobe they actually went with, so sold them online instead. Haven’t actually missed them – but then I’m not a dress up kind of girl who would.
How flat shoes haven’t become more popular is beyond me. Walking through the streets of a university town can give you some double takes. These frightfully high stilettos and kitten heels and lace up boots tottering around. Why, if you’re going out to do a classic British binge drink, while also dancing and walking around on uneven pavements would you choose to wear a shoe that requires high concentration and uninfluenced balance to move in properly? Yet night after night the heels get higher. Only time I haven’t seen those agony heels was when the snow was heavy – nearly passed out when I saw girls in miniskirts and wellington boots.
Last time I had to wear a formal dress I went in the same sandals that walked me through Europe and Japan – danced the night away and was the only one not limping the next morning. Yet for this I am the weird girl – how is it comfort never seems to at the forefront of people’s minds in an era when comfort has never been easier?