I guess I should probably start this post by admitting that the title is a tiny bit of an exaggeration. I do wear and like flats – of course I do. There are times when even a Shoeperhero has to ditch her heels in favour of something more practical, after all.
For me, however, flat shoes – or any footwear that could have the word “practical” attached to it – are never my first choice, and are only really worn in situations for which not even I would attempt to wear heels. In my case, there aren’t actually ALL that many of those occasions: I work from home, at a computer, and have a lifestyle which doesn’t require me to walk for miles every day, or cross difficult terrain. There aren’t too many times when a heeled shoe would be totally out of the question: so why do people always react with such horror when they see me wear them?
Outside of the world of shoe blogs, you see, I find that very few people can understand the appeal of a heel. “But how on EARTH can you walk in them?” they chorus in horror, when they see me walk in, wearing what TO ME is a moderately high shoe, but what to them is obviously an instrument of torture.
I can sort of understand the horror. If you’re not used to walking in heels, or have never tried, the sight of a five inch stiletto must be a daunting sight. Considering that I’ve been wearing heels for my entire adult life, however, and am perfectly able to walk in them (there are very few things most people can do in ballet flats that I wouldn’t be able to do in heels – if I really wanted to), it always surprises me a little how disdainful people can be of my choice of footwear. Without knowing anything about how comfortable the shoes ACTUALLY are (And how do you know how comfortable someone else’s clothes/shoes are, anyway?), or how easy I find them to walk in, they’ll adopt a sneery, superior attitude, in which to inform me that they’d NEVER wear shoes like that – the inference being that I shouldn’t either.
Why do people do this? I guess everyone has their reasons, but I suspect most people are simply working from the (unfounded) assumption that if THEY can’t (or don’t want to) do something, then no one else can/should do it either. If they can’t walk in heels, then I’m obviously lying if I say I can – and I’m also obviously a vain airhead, who’d rather put herself through agony than wear a pair of flats.
Well, I definitely won’t suffer for fashion – or not knowingly, obviously. There are always those time when a pair of shoes you THOUGHT were perfectly comfortable suddenly start to pinch after a few hours wear, or rub your ankles raw, (Of course, this is also true of flats – it’s not only heels that can hurt) but if I genuinely couldn’t walk in a pair of shoes, or found them painful, I just wouldn’t wear them. Life may be too short to wear ugly shoes, but it’s too precious to wear painful ones, too.
With that said, I have to admit that there is some vanity involved in my choice of footwear. To put it bluntly, I wear heels because I think they look better on me. At just under 5″4, my height is all in the torso, which is longer than average, making my legs look very short in comparison. I don’t wear heels in order to be TALLER – I wear them because they help balance out that discrepancy, and make my figure seem more in proportion. I also wear them because I feel more “myself” in them. Heels make me walk different, hold myself differently, dress differently. I wouldn’t say they’re BETTER than heels – just different – but they do make me feel better, which is why I continue to wear them, despite the occasional snarky comment and strange look.
I won’t wear heels for everything, obviously (As I said, the title of this post is an exaggeration): I’m not the kind of person who’ll turn up in stilettos to run a marathon, or hit the beach, but I will continue to wear them when I want to – no matter how hard people try to convince me to wear flats. And I firmly believe that the only comfort levels you should keep in mind when choosing shoes (or anything else, for that matter) are you’re own, not someone’s else’s!
Are you a heel-lover who’s had strange comments from people who want you to wear flats – even although you’re perfectly comfortable as you are? I’d love to hear from you! And remember, if you’d like to submit a Shoe Story, you can read the content guidelines here.[Shoes: Gianvito Rossi red patent leather pumps]
As someone who studies and hopes to work in the fashion industry, I don’t really get to hear these snarky comments all that often. There were some wide eyes though when I said that I bike in high heels to school (honestly, it’s the same thing. I only find platforms to be weird in this respect). But I do get disapproving looks from time to time.
I also agree that liking heels doesn’t mean you hate flats. I really like the look of flats with let’s say some cropped trousers and of course I’ll wear sneakers from time to time, but every time I need a dose of instant confidence, I’ll reach for a pair of heels. They make you taller, straighter and balance out your figure. Presenting in front of lots of people is just easier when you feel like you’re the best version of yourself.
Being a guy in heels I do tend to receive the occasional disapproving look but the few comments that I receive are typically encouraging. Whether a guy or a gal the joy received from wearing a great pair of shoes is similar. I like to wear mine regardless of what others may think.
Even though I did not write this article, I identified with nearly every thought it contains with the derivation that I would be more likely to wear high stiletto pumps than flats. Furthermore, my job is at a business where work sneakers are part of the expected uniform.
The looks of surprise and wonder or disapproval has also been my experience as a male wearing heels with my shirt and jeans outfits. It’s kind of a double whammy at one time to deal with for most people when combining the afore mentioned attitude about heels being torture footwear women have tolerated and the lack of social awareness that guys choose to wear heels also. Let it be known that comfort is found when wearing high heels. From personal experience, a person usually has to wear a number of high heel brands and styles to find the few pairs that fit well and feel comfortable for them.
The author wrote about their proportional problem of a long torso and short legs and how the wearing of heels balanced this discrepancy. Wearing heels also made them feel better about their image and self-worth. All the points in this particular paragraph have been my thoughts, feelings, and activities for continuing to wear heels. Of course, it all started with having a personal desire to wear them. Then I wanted to add them to my selections of apparel due to the way I looked wearing them. All the rest of the bonuses and benefits for wearing high heels are natural results. I’m a bit more than a heel-lover, I’m comfortable with being a high stiletto heel wearer.
“I also wear them because I feel more “myself” in them” – That’s exactly how i feel. I don’t really get any bad glances for wearing heels. I get more looks when my shoes are indeed original. Most people are impressed i can walk and stand long hours in heels (while they can’t). And sometimes I admit my feet do ache since i don’t work from home !
Have to agree with Lew above. Went to dinner and concert (standing only) with my wife and one of her friends. I had a pair of nearly 5″ non platformed ankle boots on. All good, my wife’s friend loves the heels but was surprised I could go for so many hours. I simply told her they fit great and the heel height is simply not an issue.
Someday I hope more guys get into heels publicly, I am sure many do otherwise just don’t have the courage to step out.
Enjoyed reading this very much! Although flat shoes are appropriate for some occasions, you cant beat a pair of killer heels to make you stand out from the crowd. Like you said life is too short to wear ugly shoes !
Some of the most painful shoes I have worn have actually been flats! Like you I always wear heels when possible (even on the beach I’d opt for a wedge) and because of this I do feel my feet are ‘trained’ to sit quite happily in a heel all day. I used to work on a very high fashion makeup counter and my fellow colleagues were always astounded at my ability to totter around in high heels 40 hours a week some times 9 hours at a time! Quite honestly I do feel that it isn’t fair when people assume that you are ‘silly’ for wearing heels-as I said before some of the worst blisters and most uncomfortable shoes I have ever had the misfortune to wear have been flat! When I went to Orlando and visited all the theme parks I took a pair of flats and a pair of heels; I thought I would start the day off wearing the flats and don my heels in the evening-it was the worst decision of the holiday! These shoes I might add had been worn in but made my calves kill and produced blisters at the back of my feet-I spent the remainder of the holiday in my ever faithful Westwood Meliissa Lady Dragons.
You asked why people do try to talk you out of your high heeled shoe. One reason might be comparison. People tend to compare each other. So if they see someone rock a high heeled shoe and notice how much attention this gives her, it’s no big step to try to get rid of this kind of competition. Any means then are legitimate, obviously…