Monday, 6 April 2009

Mutually exclusive?

I'm not going to give you yet another essay on the high heel; there have been enough of those already over the past year. But just to give a quick background to anybody who has been living in, I don't know, an orthopaedic shoe shop, let me summarise:

This year has shown heel height grow to extraordinary heights and now, as usual with anything which gets too popular, the backlash has returned. I think here might be a good place to insert a link to one of the aforementioned high heels essays. The writer of it, Hadley Freeman, does tend to have quite polarised opinions about fashion trends which I wouldn't expect the majority of her readers to share, but I seem to normally be on a similarly practical/ironic/boring wavelength to her and so find myself nodding along to her advice on topics such as leggings and American Apparel, whilst the rest of the world goes out shopping for leggings in American Apparel (wearing high heels).

Wow, that was long sentence.

Personally, I do not wear heels very much. I have one pair of sparkly blue heels which I had to wear as part of a costume for a play a few month ago - standing on stage for 2 hours four nights out of five definitely helped turn me away from heels. I suppose my sensibilities have always been at odds with heels; I love to walk, be active and generally in a balanced upright position. But at the same time, my girly side loves the way they look as well as, of course, the way they make my shoes look. So I've always got a vested interest in the search for a pair of truly comfortable heels. And by that, I do not mean heels which are comfortable as far as heels go. I do not mean heels which will not topple me over on my first step and and will not rip my feet to shreds. I do not mean heels which are fairly stable as long as you don't really move. I mean heels which are as comfortable as a pair of comfy flats for more than 15 minutes.

Maybe I got these picky ideas from my mother who lives in her sportswear or a pair of stylish jeans and some stylish ballet pumps or boots. She too has been searching for years to find an exception to the rule of heels and comfort being mutually exclusive. There have been several casualties along the way: some platform shoe boots proving that platforms do not equal comfort, canvas espadrilles which make your feet ache a surprising amount for a pair of shoes so hideously unstylish, a cute pair of open-toed Camper sandals which can be worn about three times a year in a UK climate by a woman with mild Raynaud's.

So off we set on our expedition to try to disprove this unpleasant hypothesis. Eventually, I struck lucky. Entering the gazillionth shoe boutique, I screened all the shoes until I came across a pair of elasticated black patent shoes with a modest heel. In their unworn form, they look kind of ugly all scrunched up but on the foot they are indeed very simple yet elegant. The leather is ridiculously soft and I am informed that they are 100% comfortable; I am not allowed to try them on for fear that my slightly larger feet will stretch them.

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Who knows, I might just enter it and buy a pair of their stunning ballet flats.


  1. You should def enter the comp, sounds like a cute idea.And ta for the Guardian link, I actually Googled it yesterday - wow there were a lot of comments!

  2. I also think you should enter.
    All the best


  3. Thanks for the support, may have just managed to rope her into a photoshoot today ;) x