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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

199

Pumped Up Kicks

Virginia Postrel on shoes:


How do we understand life in a commercial, consumer-oriented society? Academic traditionalists and hard- headed advocates of “practical” research often dismiss scholarship on material culture, including shoes, as frivolous nonsense. So they leave thinking about questions like why people buy shoes and what they mean in people’s lives to Marxists, Freudians and others who decry commercial culture, treat consumers as powerless dupes or, at best, reduce every “unnecessary” purchase to some form of status competition.

The result is a desiccated understanding of history and culture.

Someday, an article like this will be written without needing to reference Sex and the City, but that day has not yet come.

You all look beautiful (although Postrel did write a fascinating piece a few years ago on how most of us aren't actually beautiful), but how can you wear heels? Are they not so extraordinarily painful that you suspect you must be doing something wrong, like Kramer with his forty-five minute showers?

If you know about attractive, grown-up shoes you can wear without reenacting early Germanic versions of the Cinderella story, please let us know.



199 Comments / Post A Comment

saythatscool

"Imagine stalking elk past department store windows and stinking racks of beautiful rotting dresses and tuxedos on hangers; you'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, and you'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. Jack and the beanstalk, you'll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be so clean you'll see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching eight-lanes-wide and August-hot for a thousand miles."

cosmia

@saythatscool I used to love Fight Club when I was an aggressively-nonconformist 17 year old, and then I grew up and was like "Wait, what if I LIKE strine-green stripe patterns"

aliceandstuff

@saythatscool Any time someone wants to talk about consumerism with me and they start with Fight Club? Conversation over.

saythatscool

@aliceandstuff Awwwww fuck! And here I made all this tabbouleh for our OWS drum circle tonight. WHAT THE FUCK AM I GONNA DO NOW ALICE?????

aliceandstuff

@saythatscool cut your hair and get a job?

ThatWench

@aliceandstuff Wait, but does the degree of irony used in the act of quotation affect this?

MissMushkila

Nice wedges. I worked standing up all day for the past several years and they both allowed me to be taller than the middle school and high school students I worked with AND did not kill my feet. My boss frequently complimented my footwear.

olivebee

@MissMushkila I came here to say the same thing. Wedges (especially ones with platforms on the front, too)! They are so tall and make my legs look lovely and ladylike, but since they are flat-bottomed, they are waaaaaaaay more comfortable. I don't get any arch/ball of foot pain in wedges like I do with heels.

PatatasBravas

@olivebee

I have The Most Comfortable pair of wedges from Old Navy, of all places! Highly recommend wedges for comfort.

Megasus

Noooo you're making me think about all the shoes I'm not allowed to wear anymore again!

The Lady of Shalott

I wear tall wedges, 4 inches, good-quality Born ones. Yes, sometimes my feet ache at the end of my (nine-hour) workday, but that's more of a function of spending it walking around entirely without sitting down. I've done it in heels and in flats. Flats hurt me worse.

I don't know, heels just in general don't seem to bother me all that much? Maybe my feet are just insensitive monsters.

EllyHigginbottom

@The Lady of Shalott Wedges are the only heels I can wear successfully. I tend to fall off my shoes if I'm wearing heels other than wedges...somehow...?

i make lists

@The Lady of Shalott My boyfriend recently returned some dress shoes because they were too rigid and gave him blisters. I told him all he needed to do is to develop some callouses and eventually his feet will be numb to the pain. He looked slightly horrified about that. Nothing wrong with insensitive feet!

squeee

I don't understand why a woman doesn't start a company that makes actually comfortable sexy-as-ess heels.

PistolPackinMama

@squeee I have some really fun Aerosoles that are compliment attractors and are very comfy, actually. But they aren't so much sexy as really fun and cute.

squeee

@PistolPackinMama - that's the thing though! why can't they be both? fierce heels that have fakery and trickery to still be comfortable. for example, I never understood why peep toes don't have a little "flip-flop-thong" hidden under the toe covering, to keep your shrimps from pouring out.

PistolPackinMama

@squeee You are a geeeeeeeeeeenius. I don't know, but it's a great idea.

Marquise de Morville

@squeee The thong idea is not bad, but I have longer toes, so peep-toes never fit right, sliding or not. I think for comfortable (=fitting) heels things like width of the ball of your foot, toe length relative to foot length, height of your instep etc. would have to be taken into account, in addition to the usual things like size and width. It may just be too expensive for the mass market. Comfortable flats are relatively easy in comparison. Better padding (see Aerosoles) but prettier design would be nice.

TARDIStime

@squeee Shoes of Prey? not fancy with the links so www.shoesofprey.com

It's not cheap for the first pair of shoes due to needing to make a specific mould for your feet, but after that it's just regular prices (about the Tony Bianco price bracket - certainly not Jimmy Choo expensive).

myrna.minkoff

All hail Korkease. They are slightly expensive, but they're comfy as hell and make legs look super sexy. Wonderful summer shoes!

http://www.korkease.com/

saythatscool

@myrna.minkoff Myrna? Is that you from Gawker?

Tam
Tam

@saythatscool I think she's said before that she isn't.

CeciliaLushington

@myrna.minkoff Yes. Word. I can't believe how comfortably I can walk in Korkease sandals, and they still make me a solid 5 inches taller. I sing their praises every day in summer.

saythatscool

@Tam Oh. Ok thanks, Tam.

science is sexy@twitter

@myrna.minkoff I like that they have a lookbook, as though Korkease have changed in any way since the 60s.

melis

@saythatscool The Gawker refugees are fewer now; they have dwindled and intermingled with lesser men. Now there are only whispers of those who remain in the high hills. Their kings are gone; their land is plundered; their numbers are few; their commenter numbers are low. They linger and stagger through the later ages, wishing only for sleep and to dream of the Golden Age.

melis

But I think LolCait is still commenting on the Awl sometimes!

myrna.minkoff

@saythatscool I've considered changing my handle after I found out how notorious the Gawker Myrna was. I just like Confederacy of Dunces!

saythatscool

@melis All the Lolcaits are gone, my sweet Melis.

aliceandstuff

@myrna.minkoff Only up to 11 T_T

Faintly Macabre

@melis And he wrote for us once! But Crackerjacks wasn't here to make him feel comfortable in this mecca of femininity, so he never came back.

Hellcat

@myrna.minkoff I was just gonna say this! I have a red patent leather pair of fairly high wedge sandals and they're fabulous.

I've been having trouble lately finding wedges that don't taper too much at the bottom. I don't like that; for some reason, I feel more wobbly on those than I do on stilettos. And I wouldn't mind finding more wedges that are not made of cork (well, they can be; I just don't want them all to look like cork).

redheaded&crazy

i am a forever advocate of the 2" heel.

i just remember new year's last, so many other girls on the dance floor taking off their shoes, or slipping and falling, or having to leave early cuz their feet were hurting. all things i have done in the past as well! but not this time. this time I danced my ass off all night long!

My poor 4" heels are so neglected.

bb
bb

@redheaded&crazie Hah, jinx.

PistolPackinMama

@redheaded&crazie But did you find your ass?

This is my new username

@redheaded&crazie I am also, but it can be really hard to find pretty two inch heels. And then sometimes I fall in love with pretty 3 or 4 inch heels and foolishly buy them and then almost neve wear them.

jstar

aerosoles. i've got a pair of 4 inch wedges that i can wear all day and finish a marathon in. plus they've evolved considerably since their grandma shoe days.

also, shoe inserts. i have a pair of fuck me heels that got so much more bearable to wear after i put in one of those dr. scholls things.

Springtime for Voldemort

@jstar I think we're gonna need pics of these fuck me heels.

the roughest toughest frail

@jstar Yes to Aerosoles! I used to wear their heels all the time when I worked retail. They're the only 3" heels I found comfortable enough for me to run around in for 8.5 hour work days.

I'm usually in heels, though, so I think I've developed permanent Barbie feet.

DianaPrince

@jstar THESE: http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=5973060021110&cid=35988&locale=en_US

Aerosoles + 2" + Wedges = Perfect summer shoes. I wear them everywhere.

NeverOddOrEven

@xx-xx-xx
I have spent the last 4 days or so obsessively hunting for a pair of low wedges that will look nice for work but are casual and comfy enough to wear everywhere else.
Man, if they only came in brown I'd be all over them.

DianaPrince

@NeverOddOrEven They used to be available in red, but those appear to be sold out or gone. Maybe you could find them on another site though? If red is helpful.

bb
bb

I find low heels pretty comfy, wedge or otherwise. Like under 2". I somehow managed to skip the great heel inflation of the last decade or so (insert SATC ref) and honestly, most times I see ladies in higher ones I can't help but think, poor thing! Even though I know it's their own choice or whatever...

Hello Dolly

As someone who didn't really start wearing heels until her mid-30s (though there was that Spice Girls phase in my mid-20s...), I'd suggest starting small and then gradually building up to higher heels. And yes to wedges as well. I acclimated.

Jane Marie

Is this English?

saythatscool

@Jane Marie Yes. Is this?

iceberg

I just wear high as possible heels even if they hurt because I'm horribly vain about my short legs and high heels even out my proportions nicely...

iceberg

@iceberg also wearing heels feels like i'm making more of an effort, which it's been nice to get back to post-pregness.

candybeans

@iceberg yeah, this seems like a trick question. I wear heels because... i like looking awesome? or attempting to? I want my ass to be round and my legs to look thinner? i want to feel like a grownup? I'm 5'4" and want to be taller? are we... is this a trick?
also, these Jessica Simpson round toe heels i have are awfully comfortable, relatively speaking; no blisters the first time out of the gate.

Inkling

I'm getting some grey and white Oxfords in the mail, and which be will be The Best Things!
(I hate wearing something that has its own intentions, especially when its intentions are to make me stand sexier [I hear] and make me less physically capable [I feel].)

EllyHigginbottom

@Inkcrafter OXFORDS! Yes! Best shoes ever because they are a classic. I own 5 pairs. I am bad in heels (except wedges) and I always thought me falling over and flashing my skivvies really defeated the sexiness of 4" stilettos.

dabbyfanny

@dabbyfanny For heels tho, I do have some Fly London wedge mary janes that are badass and very comfy...

billie_crusoe

I have not worn heels since high school prom. I am so clumsy (and so flat-footed) that I can't imagine trying to go about my day-to-day life in heels.

Stylish People: The only "dressy" shoes I've found that don't kill my feet are Keens. Right now I have these, in red: http://www.backcountry.com/keen-carmel-shoe-womens (I may have bought 3 pairs back when they were new in 2007... one is still-unworn.) Are they Terrible? I'm afraid to venture into other brands because I have SO MANY pairs of cute shoes in my closet that have been worn once because they give me horrendous blisters, but I also need to dress like a Professional Lady sometimes?

PistolPackinMama

@billie_crusoe When you get blister shoes, where do they rub?

I will line them with moleskin, wear them with socks around the house to stretch them a little, and wear preemptive blister pads.

But if they blister your feet all the time, you might just be getting really poorly fitted shoes. Also the flat foot thing. Is it a thing you've seen a foot person about? What's your shoe budget?

Agh. What I am saying is, orthotics could help. Having your feet measured at a fancy store ala getting a good bra, and saving up and buying one really great pair of fairly upwardsly budgeted shoes could all help. Or even seeing if you could find such a pair on consignment, but being able to return shoes really is a good thing.

I wish we could go shoe shopping together. :/ Is that stalky and weird?

PS: What do your pants/tops/skirts look like when you are Being a Professional Lady?

glow bug

@billie_crusoe I like those Keens! Great find... I didn't know they made dressy looking ones.

billie_crusoe

@PistolPackinMama Mostly on my ankles, though sometimes on the bottoms of / between my toes. I think it's the flat-footed-ness more than fit - and also I have skin that blisters really easily in general. (You would think the toe blisters are fit, but my running shoes are not very tight around the toes, and I only get the blisters occasionally.) I might try to go to a foot person when I have insurance again; the running shop has set me up with decent running shoes and OTC orthotics but I still have some other foot problems.

I usually spend 80-100 on good shoes that will last (Keens seem to be pretty sturdy and in that range). I usually only go for very soft leather because that minimizes blisters, which keeps me from some SUPER CUTE SHOES, but I walk a lot and want to be comfy - comfort over fashion all the time when it comes to my feet.

Not stalky and weird! I really need to find myself a good, stylish shopping buddy. I need to just take some pictures and consult the Fashion Club :P For very professional, usually black or grey skirts with some accent colors on top. For everyday, I-already-know-you-people professional, skirts and bright colors. I am in the shaved-head club, so I usually try to femme it up for professional settings.

@pigforker Thanks! They've lasted a LONG time, so I recommend their dressy shoes if you like the style.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@billie_crusoe ACK. I think those are Terrible, maybe? I mean, everyone has their own aesthetic, so. But I would say these definitely do not qualify as fancy(ish). I would even say that these are veeeeryyyy casual.

FWIW, my self-imposed "uniform" senior year of high school was short-sleeved polos with pencil skirts and strappy heels. Just for like, going to high school. So maybe we mean different things when we say fancy.

Lustful Cockmonster

Please let me never be without my heels. I can't get enough. I actually find higher (3 3/4" or higher) more comfortable than the standard 3"...maybe it's my arches or something? I don't know and I don't care. I love them, and so far, they don't seem to hate me, so we're doing alright.

Heat Signature

@Grumplestiltskin I had a coworker who only felt comfortable in heels because she had really high arches, so this is possible!

churlishgreen

@Heat Signature I have extremely high arches and heels kill me. I am 5'2" and I never wear them.

MissMushkila

@Heat Signature Yes, I've been wearing heels since I was 15 almost every day - and while ones with wider heels/wedges are more comfortable for very long days, they are all more comfortable than flats.

I also have unusually high arches - I need inserts in my flats and running shoes or I get foot injuries.

Bostonienne

I'm like the 5'1" version of if you put Harry of Harry and the Hendersons in heels, and I've had success with Sofft shoes: http://www.sofftshoe.com/spring2012-View-All. Some are a bit matronly, but many are cute and the pairs I've had were very comfy and easy to walk in. I also find lower heels (~2") to work best for me, which is tragic since I am invariably drawn to 4" stunners that I am 100% likely to break my neck while wearing.

Springtime for Voldemort

I can really only do kitten heels. I have some regular black boots that have a 3" chunky heel, but even those kill the first time I wear them every fall.

trappedinabay

Screw heels. Cute, comfy flats are where it's at.

SarahP

@trappedinabay Some of us have feet that look like Goofy's if we wear flats. :/

olivebee

@SarahP Or short legs that flats make look even stumpier...sigh.

Girl Named Jack

@trappedinabay I'm with you. I just can't do the heels thing. I sorta tried? For special occasions? But not any more. I buy clothing and shoes that flatter my figure, up to the point of said article of clothing causing actual physical harm. Other things in this category include underwire bras (WHY DO THEY POKE OW), uncomfortable shoes (even non-heels can cause blisters), non-cotton panties (bunching and chafing!), you get the idea. I'm only going to look so good, you know? And I'd rather get +1s to CHA from being comfortable and confident than any bonuses that heels, etc. provide.

RK Fire

I'm a flats girl, although lately I've realized I'm okay if there is just the merest hint of a wedge heel, like these flats.

SarahP

I spent all of my teens and a couple of my 20s thinking I couldn't wear heels that they were too uncomfortable and/or I'd fall down. But a couple years ago I discovered that I can actually wear heels, just not all heels. It takes some trial and error (by which I mean trying on and pacing in many pairs of heels in stores like DSW), but I've found a couple brands that are fairly affordable and comfortable. (Or I did, two years ago, and bought a few then. I bet by now they've changed enough that it's back to square one for me.)

jilt

@SarahP I had a similar experience with Jeffrey Campbell. A couple of years ago the brand was making all these cute, seriously comfortable 2-3" heels, and I bought a couple pairs. Then somebody on the design team apparently went insane, and started making jokes like this:

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/jeffrey-campbell-virgo-wedge-platform-mule/3247744?origin=category&fashi

SarahP

@jilt WHOA. Yeah, time to find a new brand.

alannaofdoom

@jilt AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH WHAT IS THAT WHY IS THAT.

New Commenter Name

@jilt
Haaa! That's so funny. It even gets a 4 star rating.

tea tray in the sky.

@SarahP ... I like it?

sudden but inevitable betrayal

I am all about cute flats. In part because I can't deal with being uncomfortable and I'm clumsy enough without tossing heels into the mix (although I have a pair of teensy nubbin heels that make the nice click-click heels-on-hard-floor sound but are barely higher than flat), and in part because I'm sooooooooooo cheap. I know I should invest into shoes because feet are important, etc, etc, but I'd rather just keep buying $10 clearance shoes and wearing them till they disintegrate.

sarah girl

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Haha yes, I am all about the cheap, cute flats. As we speak, I am wearing a well-loved pair of Payless flats that are probably about 3 wears away from falling apart. So cute, and oddly comfortable!

cosmia

@sudden but inevitable betrayal I share your love of cute flats! I have both cheap and expensive ones, but I wear the cheap ones more. Right now I am wearing bright red ones with little bows that I got from Joe Fresh, which is sometimes sold in grocery stores, that were $12.

Hellcat

@cosmia I love a cute flat, you guts... I do like round/ballet-toed, but where are the pointy ones lately? I see them all over magazines but nowhere that I shop! Ugh. Maddening. I love a pointy.

dabbyfanny

@Hellcat Frye "Regina" Even better IRL, and amazingly comfy. You're welcome!

Hellcat

@dabbyfanny You know, those are probably worth the price for the basics I'll always need--black, brown, etc. I'll just the colorful variations at Payless or DSW. Thanks!

tea tray in the sky.

@sudden but inevitable betrayal The best shoes I've ever bought were $10 (outlet sale!) no-name black leather flats. I've worn them more than any other shoes I've ever owned, including all summer every summer (because my feet are weird and react negatively to every shoe) and they're on year 7 right now. 7! And I bought them as throw-aways!

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@tea tray in the sky. What! WHAT.

tea tray in the sky.

@sudden but inevitable betrayal I KNOW. My heart is going to break when they finally bite the dust. There will undoubtedly be a proper shoebox burial in the yard.

Erin Kaye@facebook

I know this probably sounds ridiculous, but I SWEAR by Charlotte Russe's heels. I'm short so I need the extra height, but you have to lie, cheat and steal to find them in a size 10. It's 100% worth it every time I wear these (usually $25) shoes out dancing for 6+ hours and my feet are totally comfortable without any inserts. Yes, they are crappy so I usually buy a few pairs and rotate them, but they are way more comfortable than any designer shoes I've purchased-- plus they are so cheap I can buy any trend I want to try out.

maybe partying will help

Wedges! All the wedges! They make me (5'10) even taller but WHO CARES.

But real actual heels, no I have not learned that skill yet.

Tower of Babble

@maybe partying will help I'm also 5'10", which is a big part of why I never wear heels (also the tottering/foot pinching others have mentioned). I haven't yet been bold enough to tower over people more than I already do, but I'm curious what reactions you get as a tall lady rocking heels.

maybe partying will help

@Tower of Babble

My gent (who is the same height when we are both barefoot) seems to like it. I've never worn a heel, wedge or otherwise, above like three inches, so I'm never thaaaat tall, and I don't remember if anyone has ever said anything to me about it. Although one time I was in Walmart with my mom and sister (who are both around 5'9-5'10) and this woman came up to us and said, "You're like a pack of Amazons!" I think we were all wearing flip-flops tho.

alliepants

@maybe partying will help I'm 5'9" and I LOVE HEELS. I haven't been able to wear them, though. The boyfriend is my height, and in my office people seem to think that wearing heels and dressing up are signs that you aren't working hard enough. How I miss heels.

maybe partying will help

@alliepants

I like the IDEA of serious heels and being tall and statuesque. I gues I need to buckle down and learn to walk in them. I can't afford really nice shoes though, so I guess I'm resigned to discomfort. Do like gel inserts help? Mostly what bothers me about heels is right under my toes starts feeling sort of blistery, from being pushed down, I guess.

Pizzahut

I am also 5'10" and get great reactions when I wear high heels. Please try it!

Faintly Macabre

@maybe partying will help DSW and Clarks! I'm 5'10" and a size 12 and need sturdy shoes because I have crappy feet. Kelly & Katie at DSW is, I think, Liz Claiborne rebranded, and is really good value. DSW also sells Naya shoes, which are $150 elsewhere and $70 at DSW. And Clarks go on sale all over the internet all the time, and are sturdy and comfortable. (Also, DSW has all kinds of crazy promotions and ways of winning gift cards. I have 2 pairs of Kelly & Katie ankle boots that I got for -free- because I kept winning gift cards and combining them with coupons.)

The blistery thing can usually be alleviated with smoother socks/stockings or shoes that balance your weight better.

fondue with cheddar

YES. They ARE so extraordinarily painful. It's so unfair that men can wear comfy shoes when they dress up and still look good.

sarah girl

So, I have heard that platform heels can be a lot easier to wear without pain, since the actual rise of your foot is not as high. But, real talk - how in the world do you walk in those without constant fear that you're going to wobble and break an ankle? I have a pair of fierce platform wedge sandals that look amazing on me, but I'm so scared to wear them!

the roughest toughest frail

@Sarah H. Practice! Wear them around your house until you stop wobbling around like Bambi.

The Lady of Shalott

@Sarah H. PRACTICE! I swear to God. Wear them around your house until you are 100% confident you can walk normally in them. Then take them out on short walks (I make them sound like a pet) so you can practice things like sidewalks with mysterious crap all over them, stairs, etc. Then you will be prepared to wear your fierce wedges all over! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!

the roughest toughest frail

@Sarah H. I can't edit my comment any more, but try vacuuming in them! I have a friend who swears by this method: you have something to hold on to and help keep you steady while you totter about.

WaityKatie

Can we talk about that linked beauty article though? Did anyone read it?

I will spot that woman at the end 15 IQ points for a clearly defined waist.

fondue with cheddar

@WaityKatie I read it. I had a problem with the Dove campaign too for the same reason. The ladies in their ads were closer to normal than the typical model for beauty products, but they were still far more beautiful than the average woman.

And can I just say that I'm so sick of seeing middle-aged ladies with silver hair being touted as "seniors"? Come on.

acid burn

@WaityKatie I found the Dove campaign annoying too, but I found that article maddening. Another Dove ad, focusing on girls’ insecurities about their looks, concludes, “Every girl deserves to feel good about herself and see how beautiful she really is.” Here, Dove is encouraging the myth that physical beauty is a false concept, and, at the same time, falsely equating beauty with goodness and self-worth."

The point of that movement isn't to convince people that there's no such thing as beauty, or to conflate beauty with self-worth, it's to encourage girls to stop hating themselves, period (or to get them to buy Dove products, but whatever). The part in the article about how studies show that there IS such a thing as real beauty, and most people don't have it, is pretty irrelevant to my mind. I don't think anyone is saying that we should be telling normal-looking girls that they look like supermodels. But we should be encouraging them to recognize what is (physically and otherwise) beautiful about themselves, so that future generations can spend less of their time unfavorably comparing themselves to photoshop files.

TARDIStime

@WaityKatie I would spot those IQ points and a waist for a decent career that pays well (the IQ points not seemingly being necessary for a decent career as evidenced by my superiors at my office).

WaityKatie

@TARDIStime Oh, the IQ points are a hindrance in the career realm, I think. And also in dating.

TARDIStime

@WaityKatie I've been lucky in the dating. Mr TARDIStime listens, and I can get a bit womansplainy at times - I'm working on it.
But I do sometimes wonder how my colleaugues got where they are as opposed to how I got no further than the reception desk...

cosmia

I have weird flat feet that get really swollen after 20 minutes of being in anything aside from flip-ons and Toms Shoes so I...wear heels? I don't know. Society is weird.

swirrlygrrl

@cosmia Toms!!!!! I bought a pair of the wrap boots last year in red - they feel amazing and look pretty sexy, and were my "going out" shoes when I was traveling in Turkey this spring. One of the only pairs of footwear that men constantly talk to me about (though some of those conversations involve how they look like boxing boots or puttees).

I keep eyeing some new ballet flats from Tom's - they're pricey enough and look similar to things I own that I'm having trouble justifying, though of course they'll feel like little pillows under my feet.

cosmia

@swirrlygrrl Toms are legit the most comfortable thing I've ever worn. I only have a pair of the espadrilles that I wear constantly but don't work for dressier situations, so I may get those boots you're talking about. I've never been able to wear stuff universally touted as comfortable, like Birkenstocks, because even when I break them in, the arch part hurts my foot because I don't have an arch.

werewolfbarmitzvah

Heels, man. They hurt. They hurt so much. I have ONE pair of heels that is comfortable - big cork wedges with squishy upper material that doesn't cut into my skin (half the time the problem isn't even the sole of the shoe - it's the rock-hard upper material that slices into my feet!). I can't move fast when I wear them, but I can move comfortably. Beyond that, it's all flats all the time.

Heels are actually becoming an irritating point of contention in my marriage! My husband is generally great and sane in many ways (uh oh, this is starting to sound like an Ask a Lady question), but he's originally from Korea, where women wear sky-high heels everywhere all the time. And he sometimes gets really annoying about my unwillingness to wear heels! He remarks upon how great heels look, how amazing they would look on me, talks about how he'd love to buy me some nice heels if only I'd wear them, and when I tell him that they feel like torture devices and I can't walk in them, he goes on about how soooooooo many other women wear heels every day without a problem, so they can't be THAT bad! Making it sound like I'm the weird one for not wanting to have mangled, bleeding feet. What do I do about this fool? Do I bury him in the backyard or what?

fondue with cheddar

@werewolfbarmitzvah Buy him a pair and make him walk around in them for a day.

This is my new username

@werewolfbarmitzvah buy him some heals and see how he likes it?

Judith Slutler

@werewolfbarmitzvah Get him to buy you expensive beautiful shoes that will never see the light of day outside your bedroom?

Does Axl have a jack?

@werewolfbarmitzvah Edited; great minds and all.

fondue with cheddar

@Does Axl have a jack? Our minds ARE pretty great.

iceberg

@Emmanuelle Cunt "i'll wear them as long as you want if I can lie down the whole time."

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg I'm always afraid I'll accidentally poke his eye out or impale his scrotum or something.

PistolPackinMama

@jen325 Hey, man. Got a thing for ladies in heels? You buys your ticket and takes your chances.

@werewolfbarmitzvah I believe your man is lovely. But I want to scream at him right now. So you don't wear heels. I assume you didn't wear them when he met you? Or even if you did... and who cares why? Agh Gah ';aslda;lekfna.

And I like heels like woah.

Yeah. Buy him a pair and see how he likes it, indeed. Or take him to Nordstrom and invite him to spend $400.00 of his discretionary income dollars (Lunch out at work? Coffee?) to buy you some Stuart Weitzman shoes and then see how it goes.

Grrr.

CeciliaLushington

@iceberg There's always this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjvaqVAFuLI&feature=related

fondue with cheddar

“when we were shown round people’s current shoe ‘wardrobes’ many of them were surprised to find how very many pairs they had -- 10 or 20, sometimes more.” HAHAHAHA it's cute that they think that's a lot.

lalaland

@jen325 I purged my shoe closet and was so proud of myself and then I counted and realized I still had 35 pairs of shoes. 35!!! But I truly do wear all of them (some more than others). Ahhh how to get it down to 10???

fondue with cheddar

@lalaland I can't imagine going down to 10! To be fair, the only reason I have so many (probably almost 100 pair) because I've spent a lot of years working in shoe stores, and some are vintage so I don't want to part with them. I purged during my last move, but didn't get rid of as many as I should.

punkahontas

@lalaland Don't even worry about it. Ten pairs of shoes is clearly not enough!

KeLynn

@jen325 I don't even consider myself a "shoe person" but I bet I have 40 pairs.

swirrlygrrl

@jen325 Agreed! I buy a lot of my shoes second hand (thanks all you ladies who buy the heels, wear them twice and then give them away because they aren't comfortable!!), which means I am used to real variety in colour, toe style, heel length, finish, etc. I'm probably around 100 pairs, and am currently on a shoe buying moratorium, but I love really being able to mix and match to wear "the perfect shoe" with every outfit!

angelan

@jen325 I have 3 pairs of shoes! 20 is totally a lot!
(I also have foot problems and would never wear shoes if I didn't live in a cold country and also if broken glass didn't exist. Maybe 20 is just the middle of the bell curve of shoe ownership.)

fondue with cheddar

@swirrlygrrl I still don't have the perfect shoe for every outfit! Part of the problem is that I have weird feet and tend to buy a lot of similar shoes because they're the most comfortable (or least uncomfortable, as the case may be). And often I just can't wear certain ones because I'm not in the mood to put up with excruciating pain.

Faintly Macabre

@jen325 I am so jealous! I wear a size 12, and when I lived near an amazing Goodwill, I would see beautiful vintage high heels that I knew I could never wear. I always wanted to buy them just to look at them/force them on people.

fondue with cheddar

@Faintly Macabre Mine aren't that great; they're cheap knockoff versions of nice shoes. I used to work at a shoe store that had been around since the sixties. They didn't have many fashion shoes, but when they did they were cheap Payless-type shoes. When a shoe didn't sell out, the owner would never reduce the price below wholesale to get rid of them, so the attic was basically a warehouse full of old shoes. Unfortunately because it was an attic, a lot of them didn't hold up well over decades of temperature fluctuations, and a good number of the leather ones dried out and became unwearable. I'm hesitant to wear some of them because I'm afraid they'll fall apart (some already have), but I've worn all of them at least once, so there's that. So yeah...I've got a lot of cheap "pleather" shoes from the sixties (and boy, were synthetic materials bad back then).

Hellcat

@lalaland I'm trying to do this now because of an impending move. It is not working, but mainly because of the boots--all of the boots! (Of course it would be the footwear category that is hardest to store in an out-of-the-way, easy way.)

lalaland

@Hellcat I have 4 pairs of black boots post-purge (also because of an impending move) that I cannot give up - rubber, heeled, wedge and flat. THEY ARE ALL SO DIFFERENT. 10 is clearly an impossibility.

Hellcat

@lalaland Oh, I hear you! Strangely, the only variations on a black boot that I don't seem to have (well, I do but they really should go at this point; they're old and cheap--like me) are the fitted-to-the-knee-with-a-heel type. You'd think that classic one like that would be in the collection... but no. I better take care of this ASAP! (NO!)

lalaland

@Hellcat You must!!! Also, be sure to get both the practical, walkable 2 1/2" heel AND the seductive 4" heel. You never know when you will need either (but, obviously, not both at the same time).

Hellcat

@lalaland I know, I know... but I am in the process of moving to a new place... into which a boy will soon follow! He deftly navigates my shoe-festooned bedroom carpet now, but the keyword there is "my." Once that word becomes "our," he probably won't be so patient about it.

But he cannot argue that that type of boot is a necessity!

jilt

Tip for women who need arch support, like myself: Superfeet makes insoles for heels.
http://www.zappos.com/superfeet-easyfit-high-heel-womens-3-4-black

They are hard plastic, so they don't add cushiness, they are strictly for arch support. At $20 they are more expensive than Dr. Scholl's, but I just switch around my one pair, and they've really been worth the money for me. I have a couple pairs of heels I couldn't wear longer than 10 minutes without them.

sceps yarx

@jilt yes to this, these are the best. They kind of eliminate the sling-backs, though.

Judith Slutler

I don't wear heels either, and I don't intend to. Sometimes I get jealous of others' ability to wear them, but I have a bum hip and they are not for me.

One of my friends back in my old city used to wear sky high heels all the time, summer and winter, day and night. Then, one evening she arrived at my apartment with her broken shoe in her hand. We had the same shoe size, so I lent her a pair of cheapo flats so we could go out to the bar. The entire evening, she was like, "How are these shoes so comfortable? Oh my God they are so comfortable!!!" and the next day we went shopping for flats for her. So.

SockHopBop

So I know this post is about shoes and not the Postrel article on beauty that Nicole linked to, but I haaaate that article and its reliance on evolutionary psychology to affirm mainstream beauty standards. Like, yes, maybe babies look first at women with smaller noses and maybe cavemen liked women with hourglass figures because they reflected greater fertility. But we don't live in the caves anymore! And babies grow up to become people who find all kinds of faces attractive! Women can be--and are--beautiful regardless of whether their measurements happen to fit the much-hyped Golden Ratio.

fabel

@SockHopBop Thank you! Although I don't really have anything to add. I've just been passively checking the comments on this post, like "Surely somebody clicked over to that other article? And has Things To Say on it? No? Damn."

alliepants

@fabel Yesss I also was looking for someone to talk about this! I think that article kind of distracts from the point of where we're trying to go. Like, shiny things are pretty, and thanks to biology we like to look at them, but that doesn't mean that something less shiny-but infinitely more awesome-isn't more beautiful/worthwhile.

WaityKatie

@fabel I did! (above). Not interesting things to say, mind you, but things.

WaityKatie

@alliepants It actually sort of hurt my feelings in a weird way how she kept using the word "beautiful" to mean "conforming to the physical standard that is currently prescribed for Western (but mainly American) women." I kept wanting to be like, "That isn't beauty!" and "Shut Up I am Beautiful!"

WaityKatie

@WaityKatie And also that thing about Whoopi Goldberg was just rude.

City_Dater

@WaityKatie

I know! And has she not seen Holly Hunter recently?! She may not be "beautiful" but she is so sexy it hurts to contemplate.

sidral mundet

@SockHopBop God, yes. Also, I couldn't stop thinking white white white white white, because it's obvious that the author's "objective" beauty is based only on the valued traits of WHITE women.

WaityKatie

@City_Dater I never knew that Holly Hunter was NOT considered beautiful, actually, when did that start? Maybe with this article.

WaityKatie

@sidral mundet Yes and I find it pretty hard to believe that babies are universally more attracted to the narrow type of "Hollywood beauty" as it is currently practiced, because even the prescribed beauty standard for white women has changed drastically over time. Like in 1900 I would have been considered a freaking knockout, but now...Not So Much At All. Did they show the babies rotogravures from 1900? I declare this study to be bullshit.

sidral mundet

@WaityKatie I second that emotion.

Imogene Herdman

When I need to wear heels I go to my two pairs of Camper flamenco-style shoes. Camper is a Spanish-based shoe company; they have an NYC store in Soho and also sell directly online and through Amazon. The particular shoes I have do not seem to be available anymore, but they are beautifully tooled leather pumps with a tapered, 3" heel. The secret is that the heel and sole are made of rubber. Camper shoes are not cheap, but they are well-made, and the rubber heel makes standing around, walking a dozen blocks, or even dancing more than tolerable.
I've also found orthotic inserts (the hard plastic kind; I got mine at a dance store such as Capezio) help in terms of foot fatigue in heels -- they seem to redistribute one's weight over the arch.
Camper's site is here: http://www.camper.com/en

WaityKatie

@Imogene Herdman YES Campers are awesome. Also Amazon routinely has them on huge sale, which is pretty much the only way I can afford them.

collier

@Imogene Herdman : Oh I hate you. Campers are always SO cute, and they invariably fit me like ASS. Seriously, it's like my toes are too short and my arches are too high and I'm too wide across the instep and heels are too narrow and, and, and. Every pair I've tried on has been Oh God Disaster Get Them Off.

But! Stellar results every time from Poetic License / Irregular Choice (same co. makes both). Quirky adorable retro-ish heels and flats, colorful, unusual but not super-trendy, almost always under $150, well made, always fit great, and don't destroy my feet.

WaityKatie

@collier I find that they run really small, so even though I wear a 39 in every other existing brand, I always have to get a 40 in Campers. But I feel your pain - I am the same way with Pumas. They are sooooo awesome and so impossibly narrow on my feet. It's depressing.

meetapossum

Kitten heels and flats forever!

But really, if I could, I would walk around barefoot or in flip flops all day. I hate shoes almost as much as I hate pants.

TARDIStime

@meetapossum I miss being a student and being able to just bum around in thongs (flip flops to you). I used to have a tan from the two pieces of rubber between my toes that lasted a full year after I satrtred work and couldn't expose my feet to the sun anymore due OH&S policy dictating that shoes were necessary at all times. :-(

bluebears

I honestly barely care about shoes. I'm like a sociopath in regards to shoes in that I understand that as a woman living in 2012 I should care about them and be excited by cute ones but it's like I'm missing that piece of my brain. So I usually fake it. It's just easier.

I wear a pair of black flats most days that I got for 13.00 at Sears. Any heel height over like 2 inches seems ridiculously uncomfortable to me.

saythatscool

@bluebears Bears, ya hungee for some tabbouleh? I got lots. We could just hang out, and eat tabbouleh all afternoon.

bluebears

@saythatscool Always

redheaded&crazy

@bluebears i'm with you. i haaaaate shoe shopping. i pretty much buy one new pair of shoes per season (MAYBE - this spring/summer so far i have bought one pair of "fancy" flip flops).

i will never be shoe trendy.

elysian fields

Is there such a thing as "formal flats?" I have a couple of semi-formal mid-calf length dresses that I'll be wearing to weddings this fall. I really, really, really don't want to wear heels. Any suggestions?

Marquise de Morville

@elysian fields Anything that is not flip-flop or thing sandal? Maybe go for nicer materials and some embellishments that say formal wear?

sarah girl

@elysian fields Definitely! I say go for metallics with some but not too many embellishments; you might want to go for more of an almond/pointy toe, since round toe in flats reads more casual. I cannot think of the brand name right now (but I know they're at DSW), but there's a company that has flats with the uppers made from various colors of Thai silk; I've read those are pretty popular for women who are getting married in formal dresses but don't want to wear heels.

RK Fire

@Sarah H.: Are you thinking of Rocket Dog?

sarah girl

@RK Fire Ahh yes, thank you!

Another option is just to go full magpie with sequin/glitter-covered flats. I don't even wait for formal occasions for these; at my work, I am pretty much The One Who Wears Glittery Shoes.

RK Fire

@Sarah H.: No problem! I have a couple pairs of their shoes and shoes from Blowfish and I love both brands.

Faintly Macabre

@Sarah H. Steve Madden also makes one style of flats in a million colors and patterns for DSW. They're very pretty, but they run too tiny for me.

dabbyfanny

@elysian fields I just bought some flat, pointy toed Frye ballet shoes ( "Regina") that look amazingly formal and elegant. They are cushioned and surprisingly comfy....

RK Fire

@dabbyfanny: Those are perhaps the cutest pair of brown leather flats I've ever seen. Really. I like the slight ombre effect they have for the lighter shoes (the browns and the greys).

dabbyfanny

@RK Fire I got the dark brown ones and the colour reminds me of when you crack open a buckeye. Rich and gorgeous and gleaming. The leather is so soft and buttery.

pilcrow

@elysian fields I have Reginas in black and I love them. I never thought I'd like a pointy toe but it just makes everything I wear a little bit more chic. And they are way comfortable. I'm just worried about when I wear down the sole. I'm a big fan of resoling but these soles are so thin and fit the shoe.

StandardTuber

Speaking of heels vs. flats, I watched Strictly Ballroom the other night, and I was annoyed that they put Fran in flats. When they finally got her in those red sparkly heels, I was relieved. Honestly, she was a ballroom dance student. She should have had ONE pair of ballroom dance heels!

WaityKatie

German shoes. German shoes are the answer. My personal favorite brand is Rieker. Most comfortable shoes on the planet. I mean, they don't make stilettos but there are several varieties of wedge type heel things, and boots with heels and stuff. If you want fancy stuff, I dunno, I'm not a fancy girl.

km1312

Never, ever, ever heels. Danskos at work, Converse on weekends, barefoot whenever possible.

I truly do not understand why people wear things that make them uncomfortable and limit their options. Kickball with my boss's kid on my lunch hour? Race over the Brooklyn Bridge after brunch? I'm in. No way I'm wearing something that would limit my fun.

sarah girl

@km1312 I feel similarly. I'm not usually all THAT active, but sometimes I go for a spontaneous bike ride after work, or drinks downtown turns into a bar crawl (spoiler, this happens every time), and I don't want to be the one hobbling behind with one shoe in my hand.

swirrlygrrl

@km1312 Because there are other benefits, like feeling sexy or fashionable, and some of us finding "dressing up" fun.

My heels aren't uncomfortable to wear for 8 hours at the office, but they aren't meant for playing kickball or running (or even walking 10 blocks on concrete in) - I would change into appropriate shoes for those activities, should I wish to partake in them. I would also need to change out of my high-waisted pencil skirt and crisply ironed blouse for the kickball/running, and of course put on my ginormous sports bra. But I'm not going to give up on the pleasure of my clothing choices and wear sneakers, jeans and a sports bra at all times for fear I'm missing out on a soon-to-break-out game of tag.

Heat Signature

Currently reenacting early Germanic versions of the Cinderella story in my Birkenstock clogs. Good thing I can close the door to my office.

dham

Freud and Marx are best known for treating consumers as powerless dupes.

CeciliaLushington

May I humbly -- yet emphatically -- recommend Fluevogs? While all their shoes are fab-tastic, these in particular are small miracles of comfort:

http://www.fluevog.com/code/?w%5B0%5D=search%3Amalibran&pp=1&view=detail&p=1&colourID=1784

cosmia

@CeciliaLushington Fluevogs! I can't afford them right now (lol intern) but I want all the loafers.

Hellcat

@CeciliaLushington I just want you to know that, while I am trying to be stealthy here at work as I read non-work-related websites, that I just let out a very audible gasp of joy when I opened that link.

CeciliaLushington

@Hellcat Happy to be of service! ;-)

CeciliaLushington

@cosmia I know, right?

glow bug

@CeciliaLushington I'm drooling over this website, wow!

CeciliaLushington

@pigforker They're also ethically and sustainably produced, and Fluevog will re-sole your shoes for the rest of their life. The high cost is for a reason, and I think worth it! (I promise I don't own stock in Fluevog -- unless you count four pairs as "stock"....)

faience

Awesome shoe recommendations are awesome. But seriously, I study clothing and am currently writing my dissertation on ancient textiles and these sorts of questions are constantly part of my day. Clothing is used so much as a proxy to decipher identity by archaeologists like myself but when it comes to living peoples sadly material culture is ignored. I think Im still bitter about this huge conference I attended in the fall where material culture people were rather shunted off to the side.

Verity

High-heeled shoes hurt; I'm completely with you on not understanding how people can wear them. I almost always wear flats; my few shoes with heels are fairly low and have chunky heels and as much foot support as possible (boots are great), so I'm not wobbling around. That's the most I can manage, though.

WhiskeySour

So many beautiful shoes on this comment thread! And yet I click over and cry for I have been cursed both with a love of fun shoes and wide feet. Any other wide-footed ladies in the house? Where do you get your shoes?

dabbyfanny

@WhiskeySour Hey! No help on wide shoes I'm afraid, but if you are still moving to Akron I can recommend an excellent vet, car mechanic, dentist, bar and thai restaurant :-)

WhiskeySour

@dabbyfanny I am indeed. Applied to an apartment sight-unseen (yikes) today and driving in to sign the lease this weekend. We don't have a pet, but I would love all the other recs!

dabbyfanny

@WhiskeySour Oh cool! Hope you like the apartment!

Ok, totally hijacking this thread here:

Dentist: Dr Thomas Semans (no, really. He is excellent and I used to freak at dentists. Get Jamie for cleaning.)
Car mechanic: Dominic's automotive (if he doesn't work on your make of car, try Akron Classic)
Hairdresser: Jenn Kidd at Dino Palmieri, Summit Mall. The best. She is a 'pinner, too. And loves natural hair color, even gray.
Bars: Akron is a bit sad for bars. Best downtown bar is The Lockview, Larry's on west Market is pretty funky, Bricco in the Valley is a bit more relaxed. I'm sorry, I find the lack of bars hard to believe myself.
Thai: Pad Thai, Fairlawn (or Cilantro downtown is ok.)
Coffee: Angel Falls and The Nervous Dog
Crafty upscale gift type store: Don Drumms
The canal towpath is great for cycling and walking.

Good luck with the move! Feel free to ask for anything you need, ok?

jamielee

@WhiskeySour So these are expensive, and I only just talked myself into buying some because I had store credit plus Zappos had them on sale. But: Cole Haan. Cole Haan is the answer! They come in three widths, they have lots of different heel heights, and they have Nike Air soles so they are super comfy. They also have rubber soles so they are non-skid, which is a must for me because my work has slippery floors. Mine are the Air Talia Mid Pump in black: http://www.zappos.com/cole-haan-air-talia-mid-pump#prdInfo. They are the nicest shoes I've ever owned, and I wear them at least twice a week because they are great basic pumps that go with all my slightly boring work clothes (I am a lawyer). Cole Haan makes fun shoes like wedges in pretty colors, too.

tea tray in the sky.

@dabbyfanny Oh man, I wish my hairstylist was a 'Pinner. So many awesome conversations.

WhiskeySour

@dabbyfanny Thank you so much for the info! This is amazing! I appreciate so much that you picked exactly the goods and services that I always have the most anxiety about finding in a new place. (For four years I've only gotten haircuts in November and mid-summer because trying anyone but my trusted hometown hair stylist resulted in some truly awful cuts. Yeah.) So this is just the best!

MsChilePepper

@WhiskeySour Fred Flintstone feet, reporting for duty! *sigh* I would be SUCH a shoe whore if I could be, but such is not to be.

If you're ever in Las Vegas, hie thee to Leonard's Wide Shoes! A Hee Haw slot machine was kind to me, so I bought THREE pair of shoes in ONE DAY a few years back! That had literally never happened to me in my life before that day. Ask for Kenny, he rules.

Other than that, I'm all about Munro and Drew brands, plus Teva sandals. My shoe wardrobe is sadly lacking.

Someday, I'm going to find the cashola to order a custom pair of boots from www.BootsForBroads.com.

Alixana

Am I the only one who is like "wow, obviously I've never really listened to the lyrics to Pumped Up Kicks"?

many things do not fly

Ugh, this is relevant to my interests. I am that girl who lusted after black booties for the last two years. And I just got a new job (yay!) and a raise (super yay!) and decided that I could afford to buy the Booties of My Dreams(tm). ANYWAY, they showed up in the mail yesterday and I put them on and they are beautiful and magnificent and everything I thought they would be, but I couldn't help thinking to myself "Am I a bootie person?" Which is strange because I don't even know what a 'bootie person' is. But, after reading this article, I now know that bootie people are aggressive. Hm.

Faintly Macabre

@many things do not fly Keeeppp themmmm. I bought my first pair last fall and they are so useful and sharp-looking!

staircases

Flats are just the worst! My feet are still recovering from wearing a cute pair of flats to run errands in 3 weeks ago. Blisters everywhere, no arch in most cases and they SMELL! Heels have never ruined me so badly, but I'm very careful to only buy ones that I think will be comfortable. Soft, wide material for straps, a flexible shoe, and no unsupported part of my foot.

Minx

Well the thing about heels is....

1) I worked my way up. Started at half inch heels in my early teen years. Slowly over the years I would find shoes I liked that were slightly taller. Now I have worn some that are three and a half inches. But I can't go higher. I don't like the look of platform heels, and going higher without adding a platform means ridiculous foot contortions.

2) A lot of heels (or shoes in general, I find) are just plain uncomfortable. It definitely takes some hunting to find some that don't eat your feet.

3) At the end of the day, you just have to decide how much pain you're willing to put up with. If I LOVE the look of a pair of heels, I don't mind if they're going to take a few breaking-in wears before I can wear them without coming home with a little blister or two. But other people do not feel the same. So they wear flats. But I also have trouble finding good flats. A lot of them are also blistery or else are flat enough to hurt my arches. So yeah. Shoes are just always dumb. So sometimes I pick some heels that hurt a bit, because at least they look pretty while hurting. Or I think so, anyway.

VDRE

I recently bought these shoes for myself and I have been wobbling around my apartment in them as I attempt to teach myself how to walk in heels. They are surprisingly comfortable for shoes that are 5 inches higher than the ones I normally wear.

hans grant

very nice article and tofic guy, thanks sewa apartemen

hans grant

very nice article and tofic guy, thanks sewa apartemen

dennishobson

It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks madeira palsticafl

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