The power of the flat shoe
Last Friday, I wore towering heels for the first time in a while. As the balls of my feet ache after just a few hours in my otherwise comfortable United Nude Eamz pumps or my Irregular Choice Trinkletina heels, I’m guessing that my 40-year-old feet have simply had enough. These days, the only high heels I can wear all day are those with a chunky heel and a massive platform, so the current 70s vibe in some shoe shops has been rather exciting for my poor feet.
Back when I lived in Manchester and drove to work, my heels transported me from the house to the car and then from the car park to my desk. Nights out happened after going home to have dinner and get changed first and, if I wasn’t driving, we’d get a taxi home from town so walking was minimal. I loved my heels as they made me feel tall and glamorous. I took pride in the fact that I was never the girl who had to carry flats in her bag – my feet were up to the job, especially once those gel insoles were invented.
Once I moved to London, it quickly became clear that wearing heels all day was not going to be an option. The walk to and from the station, plus the inevitable standing on the tube, meant that my feet would complain even on days when I wasn’t venturing out at lunch or in the evening. Quickly I resorted to comfy Clarks flats for the commute, and pretty soon after that I started wearing them all day. Once I upped my fashion game (with the help of a style consultant), the mid-heeled pump became my go to shoe as it can look elegant whilst also being extremely practical.
Recently, the flat shoe revival has taken me away from heels in a way I hadn’t thought possible. Never a fan of the ubiquitous ballet pump, I was instantly won over by pointed toe flats and so started to search them out in every colour I could. I wore a leopard print Accessorize pair until they were ruined by torrential summer rain and my strappy Dune sale bargains have now seen better days too. My most recent shoe purchase was a pair of comfy school-like shoes from Clarks (now reduced, annoyingly) and with their help I have rediscovered the joys of stomping and striding. I never really got on with DMs, and don’t like the look of Converse with skirts on me (perhaps because I love the hi-tops so much), so wearing a skirt with shoes I can run in felt rather exciting. OK, so I was only running across the road just before the lights changed, but I didn’t have to alter my stride to stop my shoes falling off.
Friday’s adventure in heels came about because (a) the forecast didn’t show rain, and (b) I wanted to wear a skirt that finished above my knees without looking like a small child. I stepped out in my New Look block heeled platform sandals and should have felt on top of the world, but a world without flats is one where I feel like I’ve lost my power. OK, so my sandals are enormous fun to wear – they make me far taller than I’m used to being, have a shaped platform that means you can rock in them, and they rather brilliantly sound like hooves on hard floors – but suddenly my commute became treacherous. Uneven pavements are a nightmare, walking up or down escalators becomes so slow that it saves me no time whatsoever, and I constantly think I’m going to fall flat on my face. They don’t hurt at all, which is amazing, but I definitely won’t be wearing them every day.
The power of flat shoes is something most men will never truly appreciate. However, the power of flat shoes that are fastened to your feet is pretty much as strong as The Force. When chatting to a chap in fancy dress at a party about his cute ballerina pumps, he agreed expressed bemusement that they kept coming off his feet. Up until then I hadn’t thought about the many ways that women change the way they walk to avoid falling over and to keep their damn shoes on their feet. Wearing shoes that you can manoeuvre around meandering Oxford Street shoppers in at high speed makes you feel like you can take on the world. Mind you, as many a fashionista and drag queen will prove, running on cobbles or standing on chairs in heels is far more powerful than dashing up stairs in flats, but not all of us have the strength and dedication to carry it off.
Image via Zara.com