Women the world over are firmly footed in either camp. Where do you stand?
This debate has raged on ever since 1533, when a Duke’s wife commissioned a cobbler to make her what would become the first pair of high-heels. Back then wearing heels were a symbol of stature and prestige. Hence the origination of the term ‘well-heeled’.
Nowadays, it’s more a question of style and preference.
High-heels offer a wide variety of choices, from the classic stiletto to the trendy wedge. Most women swear by them because of the flattering effect they have on their calves. Those extra inches also make for a sleeker silhouette. Not only is the long-legged dream achievable, but heels also help pull together a more polished look. Despite these undeniable qualities, the price we pay for wearing them has podiatrists’ tutting everywhere.
Heels: Fendi white patent platform slingbacks £345.00 from net-a-porter, Chirstian Louboutin super metallic leather pumps £375.00, Black Jimmy Choo First patent platform sandals £450.00, Dark Blue Derek Lam wood platform shoes £460.00. Flats: Jimmy Choo, Fendi, Juicy Couture, Marc Jacobs, Moschino Cheap & Chic prices range from £200 to £400 all available from net a porter.
And with the ever-popular ballet pump being worn by increasing numbers of fashion-footed individuals, it can be argued that women are no longer prepared to suffer for beauty. Not only do flats increase your mobility (handy when navigating crowded high streets and those beloved market stalls) but they are also the more comfortable alternative. Pretty as they are – not the most flattering look for everyone.
The truth is, that neither one is good for your back. Professionals actually suggest a heel height of about 2 cm.
Realistically, the choice is yours. There are ways to enjoy the highs and lows of heel wearing that will help minimise any long-term damage to your spine whilst still keeping up with the latest trends.
Three simple rules for successful shoe wearing: size, style and alternate.
It is absolutely essential that you wear the correct size. Next time you purchase a new pair of shoes, have your feet measured. Also bear in mind the width of your foot for an even better fit.
Luckily round-toes are back in fashion. These accommodate the natural shape of the foot – unlike pointy tips. Once you have decided on the style, be sure to accessorise. Cushion up for comfort. Several products on the market offer ingenious ways of easing the pressure on the balls of your feet.
Finally, a creative and fashionista friendly solution: alternate the height of the heels you wear. Professionals say that swapping heel heights regularly make for healthy happier feet.
I decided to find out the word on the street, and who better to kick off with then the don of the designer shoe?
“Mr. Blahnik says you should go as high as you can!” A dedicated member of his team enthused, “The standard height of a pair of high-heeled Manolo’s is usually 10cm. But next season we are taking our clients to new heights of 12cm. Shoes should be an investment, as we do spend all day on our feet. Why not add some class too!”
“It really depends where I am going. During the week I tend to wear flats because I can’t drive with heels. But on a night out, high heels are a must,” says a young brunette taking a break from her PR assistant role.
“I feel more confident in heels, so I tend to wear them to the office,” was an executive assistant’s response.
I managed to intercept a young woman hobbling along on some chunky heels for her opinion: “That’s really funny that you ask. I usually wear flats, but decided on these today. It was going well, but somehow the shoe has snapped in half! I’m not sure if this is a sign or not!”
“I actually prefer kitten heels. I have bunions so comfort is a big factor. But, I do have to start practising walking on heels though – my wedding day is soon and my shoes are really high!” was the response from a lady on her way back to the office.
“I prefer heels because it gives me some height and better posture. I feel really short and dumpy without them,” says a petite woman on her way to lunch.
For once, I am happy to remain undecided. Which essentially means no limitations and feet fit for any occasion!