These heels hurt but damn I look good! A High Heel guide
Coco (Ice Tea’s wife) has a song out called Shoe Freak. Basically she sings about her designer shoes and how much she loves them. So much so that she wants to do inappropriate things to them. I’m a shoe freak just not that freaky!
I started wearing high heels when I was in Junior High school technically I was not allowed to wear them. My grandma use to say “If you ain’t selling don’t advertise.” I did what every normal teen would do when they are denied. I snuck high heels from my mom’s closet into my backpack. When I got to school I would go to the bathroom and change my sneakers to heels. Well one day I got caught and from then on I endured random pat downs and back pack searches.
It was not until my early twenties when I became slightly obsessed with heels. I was trying to figure out what shoes to wear with my outfit and I realized that my feet look smaller when wearing heals (I’m a size 10). I’ve been wearing high heels ever since.
High heels like many other things started out as a necessity. Egyptian butchers would wear heels to keep their feet out of the blood and guts of the animal they were cutting up. In the Renaissance era actors would wear heels to indicate who was the lead or main characters in the play. In ancient Rome, the oldest business on earth (prostituting) women wore high heels to indicate they were “ladies of the night.” (Wilson 2005).
High heels showed how high you were on the social ladder (no pun intended). During the middle ages if you could afford expensive shoes; you would also purchase Pattens. These were stacks of wood or cork that would attach to your shoes by tying and Pattens would keep mud and other debris like I don’t know the black plague from touching your extravagant shoes! You still need Pattens till this day when you walk around parts of New York. I’m just kidding I love NYC!
If you think the heels are high now, think again my friend! Around the 1400s in Turkey there were Chopines that were seven to 30 inches high! In order to walk in these bad boys women had to use canes or servants to aid in their walking (Rexford 2000). Up until this point both men and women wore heels. Chopines came along and men chickened out. It is said that high heels were invented by men to keep women from escaping the harem (Kunzle 2004). I’ll let you chew on that for a minute.
One of the first women to rock in heels was not Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex in the City” sorry Carrie! It was another woman whose name also starts with a C. Catherine de Medici (1515-1589) was soon to be Queen of the French Court by marriage. To better her image she wore heels to elongate her appearance, hence, becoming more beautiful than her husband’s mistress. The next time you’re out enjoying bloody Marys make sure you wear a pair of your best heels to pay respect to Mary Tudor. Yes, bloody Mary herself was known for wearing beautiful heels (McDowell 1989).
Men’s heel history is very short. During the Renaissance men wore heels to show social status. Warriors had heels on their riding boots so their foot would not slip out of stirrups. In the late 60s-70s men wore platforms to show just how funky they were. A very popular band called the Beetles wore boots that had a Cuban heel! Now you can see men rocking heels for important causes for women, like domestic violence.
High heels lost their fizzle until the 1990s when Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo high heels were on the runway and became a hit. Thanks to “Sex in the City” those designers became the ultimate social status. No woman was satisfied with JCPenny, Nine West, or Payless heels. They now desired Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu and the fabulous Manolo. I know some women who would put off paying bills to have those designers in their closets!
What about the sane woman who cannot even come close to purchasing the box those heels come in? Thanks to the internet (it is not all evil) and capitalism there are a lot of shoe companies that mimic the top designers so you can find flawless heels at any price range.
High heels are great and there is no wrong ways to wear them just make sure the pairs match and they are on the right foot. After a great night of parties it could happen. Here are some guidelines to help the novice.
-If a true newbie or you rarely wear high heels start small, two to four inches to be precise. Start by making trips to the malls and outlets rather than shopping online. You get a feel of which height of heel and style works BEST for YOU.
-Try on BOTH heels and walk around the store especially if the heels are higher or thick/thinner than you normally wear. Literally walk around the interior of the store! The cool thing is people will comment on how great you look in the heels or not which can help you to decide on purchasing them.
-If you are buying shoes that you will wear daily or walk and stand in for a long period of time go with the most expensive heels you can afford. Higher prices usually equal better quality in material and padding.
-The great thing about heels is it doesn’t matter the color heels always look great! If you can’t wear yellow but would like a little sunshine try yellow in your heels.
-If you are going to be daring and buy those six inch heels with the four inch toe platform practice, practice, practice. Wear them in your house, if you have stairs go up and down with the heels on. Go outside and walk down the driveway, sidewalk and street so your body can adjust to the height. Practice days before going out to the club. It is NOT sexy when you are in the club on the floor crying with a bent up ankle! Save those heels for special occasions don’t be a hero and wear them to work.
Speaking of injured ankles let’s talk about the health issues high heels can cause. The most common is the bunions. I believe every woman has at least one, usually on the pinky toe. The higher the heel the more your foot slides forward this can cause an unnatural position for the body. Heels can wear down the cartilage in the knees, back and hips. Other injuries that podiatrist see from high heels are sesamoiditis (inflammation and swelling), nervosas (nerve damage), and metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of foot). Research even shows that high heels change your gait when you walk and affects your muscular-skeletal structure. The angle of high heels shortens the Achilles tendon and puts strain on your calf muscles. After learning all these health issues I will continue to wear my fabulous high heels. For me the damage is already done. Remember I told you I started wearing heels when I was in Junior High. Wearing ill fitting shoes at a young age has caused me to have a condition called “talons.” That is when the bones in your toes are slightly curve instead of straight, like the talons of a hawk. If you have a daughter who insists on wearing heels take her to the store to get size and buy her a pair of kitten heels. She’s happy and her feet will grow normal.
Don’t go all crazy on me and feel you have to throw away or give away your high heels. If you do decide to give away my door is always open. There are ways to keep your feet healthy and strut in your six inch heels. Invest in insoles you can find them everywhere. Stacy London endorsed the Dr. Scholl’s high heel insoles. Save the really high heels for special occasions or when you don’t have to do a lot of walking Daily leg stretches is great to do if you are always in heels. Switch shoes; wear high heels four days out of the week and flats the other days (baby steps here). Finally learn how to walk correctly in heels which is heel and then toe. Some of us unconsciously walk with our toe hitting the ground first, trying to maintain balance and not fall on our butts. Other women may walk with both heel and toe touching the ground at the same time; that is a no no so pay attention.
I believe high heels will never go away they do make a woman look taller, leaner and sexier. Due to procedures like toe shorting and injecting padding into the balls of a person’s feet high heels will be the go to shoes for that sexy female touch. I’m going to purchase a couple of high heels; six inches of course! Keep working it b@#$!