Heels have been a hot feminist issue for years. Are they empowering, because they make us lady types look taller, more professional and generally darn sassy? Or are they just tools used by the patriarchy to imprison women, like a diamante ball and chain?
It’s a complicated argument but personally, to paraphrase the all-powerful Caitlin Moran c.2011, I want heels that still let me run away from potential attackers. They’ve got to have that flee factor. Or, or be on flee-k…
Counter argument: A sharp heel could double up as an effective weapon. Stilettos must have been named after an Italian switchblade for a reason. Maybe those 50s’ designers weren’t trying to trap women, but rather arm them!
In fact, here are some other ways stilettos could be handy:
- To smash a window and break into your house when your flatmate’s locked you out.
- Open a can of food when you’re hungry and don’t have a can opener.
- Write a unsightly letter to a loved one like a crude ink quill.
- Make a tiny slide for a family of mice.
- Hack your arm off if you find yourself in a 127 Hours situation on your walk home.
Anyway, despite these obvious plus points, I am firmly on team flats when it comes to going ‘out out’. I saw the light a couple of weeks ago after an impromptu night out with a friend that unexpectedly ended in a dance party to the corniest of 90s and 00s tunes in an Irish bar, (I wish I could say I was ashamed).
We were leaping and frolicking around the ‘dance floor’, (the space between the bar and loos), and I’m proud to admit I still know most of the moves to Steps’ Tragedy. The next day I woke up with blister-free, pain-free feet and only the embarrassing video my friend took of my sweet moves to worry about.
Then it hit me, every time I’ve had a great night out recently has been when I’ve chosen flats over heels. I’ve never been super into heels and maybe that’s why I’m still such a novice, but this is how a normal heel-wearing night goes for me:
The shoes start out comfortable enough – and my calves look amazing, seriously, just look at them – then about an hour the pinchy pain starts in the ball of my foot and I curse myself for not insisting the taxi driver take me all the way to the entrance. I try to dance, but my moves are limited to the side step (popular with dads at weddings everywhere), so I overcompensate with insane arm movements.
Outside, it starts to rain and while any men chaps can run for cover, I’m left doing a kind of unsettling baby giraffe power-walk that resembles a drag queen in their first week of training (I’m assuming drag queens attend some kind of camp, right?).
Soon after, the pinching feeling has become an all-encompassing burning and all I can think about is sitting down or, ideally, lying on my back with my bare feet in the air. And I can tell you, that is not good bar behaviour – a good way to make friends though. I eventually teeter home early and fling my shoes across the room shouting, “JUDAS!”.
On the other hand (or foot), wearing flats means you can bound around to your heart’s content. Although freedom does come with certain disadvantages – 1) looking like an idiot and 2) becoming such a sweaty mess that your smoky eyes and bold red lip starts to resemble Heath Ledger’s Joker.
Heels have been worn by men and women for thousands of years in one way or another. But while men, generally speaking, stopped having to wear them a good century or so ago, why do women still feel obliged?
I’m always impressed by women that essentially live in heels. You know the ones, the rare breed of ladies that will happily tackle a mountain in a strappy pair of Jimmy Choos. If that’s what you can (and want to) do then you go for it. For everyone else who just wants to fling themselves around a make-shift dance floor to Mambo Number 5, I say: long live the flats! (And maybe carry a stiletto for self defence).
Image credits: Unsplash