Sunday, February 27, 2011
Can I Walk In Those Heels?
As heel heights climb higher and higher, you have to wonder how we'll be able to manage walking in them. And with price points upwards of $2k and more, shouldn't we expect a little comfort, relatively speaking? If I can't wear it, then no one can see their beauty.
All eyes will be on the Oscars today and what the nominees will be wearing. Shoe cams will be available to record it all. According to Stuart Weitzman, many of the celebrities will be wearing shoes with a heel height up to 7". "The red carpet is a 200-meter walk. Sure, they’re on it for longer than the three minutes that it would take to walk 300 meters. But they’re in their seats the rest of the evening." Obviously, these women are not worried about wearing their incredibly towering high heels for a lengthy stroll. And once they've worn it to the Oscars, it's doubtful they are worried about wearing those works of art again.
But what about the rest of us? Do you gaze longingly at your computer screen at an amazing pair of heels and wonder if you'll be able to wear it for a day or even a cocktail party? And if you aren't a ballerina who spent plenty of time in pointe shoes, this is a real concern. For those who are not in a major city like New York, we often rely on what we see on the screen. As I've tried to do recently, reviews tend not to discuss the comfort level or wearability of the heel, but rather the style details and whether or not it's Glam or Sham.
I'm a realist, I'm not expecting the comfort level of a Bjorn in my high heels. When I say "comfy", I'm referring to tolerance. I do expect that I need to be able to tolerate being able to stand for 3 hours at an event or walking a few blocks if it's day time. Additionally, my years in sports activities took their toll and my ankle and only can bend so far.
Personally, I find flats uncomfortable. Too many years of heels have most likely shortened my achilles. The most comfortable shoe height based on my experience and what I read once upon a time is between 2" and 3". But let's face it, we love extra height and I for one need to make my legs as long as I possibly can!
I learned a long time ago that the materials play a large role in comfort level. Less expensive shoes utilize man made plastic soles or fake leather that offer no absorption of impact. Leather soles are a must. Rubber, cork and wood offer a better choice than mad-made plastic as well. The material of the upper is relevant in your comfort choice too. The cut of the upper matters. For instance, if the back of the heel cuts in too far, it can irritate your achilles and cause rubbing leading to blisters. Shoes shouldn't be too loose or too tight.
The most important issue I see related to today's towering heights is the pitch of the shoe bed. This is the steepness of the angle your foot must accommodate. Or more simply put, the height difference between the heel and the foot bed.
The stunning Casedei heel pictured above features a 5.9" heel and 1.6" platform. That leaves a 4.3" height difference. That is on the tall end of the spectrum and I would personally question whether I could wear it for any length of the time. The pluses to this shoe that might make it tolerable is the thick heel which enables the wearer to put some weight on their heel rather than an ultra-thin stiletto. The thick platform offers more stability as well. Therefore, I might take a risk on this one. It's simply gorgeous and one of the most striking shoes of the season.
Are there brands that you find more comfortable than others? In my closet, I go to my Tod's 5" boots with 1" platform constantly. I can wear them all day and then some. Unfortunately, Tod's doesn't make a lot of heels. My Prada shoes have served me well as have the Manolo Blahnik's I purchased. Sadly, my first pair of Louboutin's could not be tolerated more than a walk across the room and had to go. Bye, bye $800. So sad. Hubby bought them for me on our first trip to NYC together.
My advice is to take the opportunity when you travel is to try on as many of the brands you crave as possible. Test varying heel heights to find your comfort range. A good tip is to take a pocket tape measure so you can get accurate information. Use that experience as a guideline when you shop online. It's also good to make sure the site has a good return policy. You are spending a great deal of money on beautiful shoes, it's worth the time investment to do your research.
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