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]