From Our Readers

I Refuse To Wear Heels

Magpie of Maryjanes, Dictator of d’Orsays, Stiletto Queen, wearer of all things high-heeled; these monikers no longer describe me and are a thing of my past. I look back on my pump wearing days and I cringe in pain and disbelief that I once found them just as comfortable as tennis shoes. Youth makes us dumb at times. If you are reading this now, I’m probably wearing metallic flats and loving it while you suffer in heels.

My life in heels started at the age of 12 with a pair of purple suede clogs. They were dope. My older sister was in high school at the time, so I had direct knowledge of the big girl fashion trends and I brought them to middle school with me. Those purple clogs made me a pint-sized trailblazer and sent me towards my shoe destiny. My heels evolved with the trends over time. My generation wore the half-ankle boot, chunky platforms, high heel tennis shoe and the high heel jelly. My shunning of all things flat became apparent with my refusal to wear Birkenstocks. Birkenstocks worn with colored socks were all the rage, but I avoided them like James Franco did his Academy Award hosting duties. This foresight for avoidance was short-lived, as I would succumb to the great colored UGG boot hysteria of 2004. That’s a different story for a different time though.

I loved wearing heels. I loved being super freaking tall; taller than most men even. Come on up to my level, fella. Ha, you can’t! At 5’7, I’m considered tall-ish, but wearing heels took me into giant lady territory. I towered over shorter people so much that they seemed like my little pets. I felt like a super model. Heels instantly dressed up every outfit: jeans, skirts, dresses, the capri pant trend of ‘99. I found them comfortable too. I never had any back pain, no toe crunching or sliding. I felt completely at ease in heels. I looked at photos of models taking spills in their giant runway shoes and thought, “that would never happen to me.” If you could build it, I could walk in it. My greatest triumph in heels happened when I wore stiletto slingbacks to my college graduation. They had a killer vamp; I’m all about a good vamp on a shoe. Did I mention that my graduation was held on a grass lawn? Yes, that’s right, I leaned forward the whole time and never created so much as a divot in the grass. That’s how adept at wearing heels I once was.

Ladies young and old would often compliment my shoes and add that they wished they could still wear heels. I asked, “why can’t you wear them?” The ladies recounted stories of back pain and general misery; of crooked toes and fallen arches. They cautioned that one day I too, would no longer be able to wear heels. These ominous warnings hung over me for years. I wanted to wear heels forever. Who wouldn’t want to wear them? Heels give you a sexy bounce when you walk and they make you feel like Anna Wintour in the front row of something. Heels are fabulous!

I cannot pinpoint the exact day it happened, but there came a time when I could no longer stomach putting heels on. I attribute this to the natural aging process that we all go through, except for Helen Mirren. Aging takes much from us: time, energy, calcium stores and even the ability to wear heels. Every time my heels hit the ground, I did not feel sprightly anymore. Instead, I felt the shock wave of heels-to-pavement reverberate up my spine and shake my bones. I had bunions all of a sudden and they would enrage when placed in pumps. I found myself slipping on floors like a fledgling toddler instead of striding along with my usual grace. There came a time when I looked at the stilettos, stacked heels, pumps and kittens in my closet and the thought of putting them on, walking in them and existing in them all day made me angry. It happened; I was the girl who wore flats now.

Flats were great. I always thought they would make me look short (yes, tall-ish girls worry about being short). I felt much better in flats. My bunions, Fred and Monty, did not get angered anymore. I could run faster, advert obstacles with ease, and look stylish while doing it. After a while, I embraced wedges, but I wasn’t used to the height anymore. I thought, “holy crap, I’m a giant!” I feared that the town people would run away from me screaming, so I stuck with flats.

According to Avery Jessup, “flats are for quitters.” That’s okay, I quit. Flats are the more comfortable and practical choice for me. We cannot know the exact date that the zombie apocalypse will strike, pop culture dictates that it will happen, but I will be wearing flats when it does. In flats (preferably ones with good traction), I will be able to run away from the zombie hoards, easily leaving Kelly Ripa in my dust because she continues to don the impractical heel. Of course, if I’m unfortunate enough to become a zombie (maybe they caught me or that virus infected me in the first wave?), flats will still serve me because a zombie in heels cannot catch anyone and is easily tripped. Flats will work in both scenarios.

Today, I exclaim, “I refuse to wear heels!” They are uncomfortable and there is actually no practical application for them. I still admire a pretty pump, but as art. My old heels sit in my closet, largely forgotten and insulted. They sometimes make it out for mostly-sitting-occasions, but even then they piss me off.

Ladies, I will bestow the wisdom to you that was given to me once. There will come a day when you no longer wish to wear heels because they will hurt like a mother%*$. I was once a non-believer like you, but trust me when I say that this day will arrive. We will never be like Carrie Bradshaw. Flats forever!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on heels. Do you hate them? Love them? Hate them, but wear them anyway? Do you wear shoes at all or are you more of the Jack Johnson-always-barefoot-type? Lemme know.

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