I always hear a little starting gun go off in my head on Memorial Day. Well, first I hear a voice saying, “Ladies, take your marks” … and then I hear the “bang!”
Just what does that “bang!” announce the start of? For some, it may be a race to the beach; for others, a race to the cooler, or the garden. For me, it is the beginning of a race to liberate my aching feet from the tyranny of heels.
Ah, summer. Flip flops, sandals, sneakers … nothing. Heaven!!!! “Why, oh why, do I suffer the other 9 months of the year,” I always wonder, while scrunching sand between my toes.
Why? Because I’m vain! And I’m not alone.
Let’s face it: Women have been wearing heels since, well, forever, as far as I can tell. Though research pins the trend back to the boots worn in the 9th century by Persian horseback warriors (who wore heels to keep from sliding out of their stirrups and to help them shoot straighter arrows when they stood up in their saddles), I’m sure the first thing Eve did when she was expelled from Eden was figure out where she could grab a cute pair of mules!
Somewhere along the road of time, men (excluding Prince) learned that wearing heels had some pretty severe side effects.
They couldn’t run as fast in them, or race up and down the stairs (with the exception of Prince) without risk of sprains or breaks. Their calves ached, they got bunions and hammer toe. Their lower backs hurt; their metatarsals collapsed. In short, men realized it was sheer folly to continue wearing them.
Of course, when the global memo about the physical problems of wearing heels went out to the fashion industry of the world, the designers smiled and said, “Well, naturally men can’t handle heels. But women are so much more talented. And they have a much higher threshold for pain. These chicks deliver babies; surely they can deal with a bunion or two!”
And so, we gals (and everyone else on the planet) became accustomed to the glories of high heels.
Luckily, as time has progressed, so have our options: ostensibly, we can still look chic (if we’re clever) in lower heels and even in flats a la Audrey Hepburn.
But can we, really? Okay. So Audrey pulled off flat-chic in the film “Funny Face.” But what about live performers who aren’t in a pair of cigarette pants in a scene that takes place in a basement bar?
Performers have to make some tough choices. High heels make the leg look better by accentuating the calf and creating the illusion of length. They also help the person wearing them feel sexier and more ferocious. High heels make whole outfits sing while low heels can destroy it all!
Of course, jumping all over a stage for a two hour show, and repeating that night after night if you’re on tour can have some pretty serious repercussions. Gaga had to cancel the last leg of her tour last summer while she underwent surgery for a labrial tear to her hip (no doubt exacerbated by her shoe choices which displaces weight to the pelvis), and Mariah Carey sprained her ankle while performing in Singapore in 2010 and had to be carried off stage!
Lately, the ladies (as I like to call my favorite “Divas”) have been taking matters into their own hands (or should I say, feet) and trying various solutions.
I’m of two minds: low heels allow you to move better, stand more firmly, and quite frankly, sing better, but those very same low heels aren’t allows very flattering. They also seem to signal old age … or demureness … or bad taste. I don’t know… they just seem a little lame.
And for god’s sake, if you have any favorite shoe makers, or favorite shoes, post ’em!!!!
Always with love,