Young Women Beware...The Sky Heel
It's All About Glam
There has never been such a flooding of the shoe market with outlandishly high heels, now, than any other era in history. While certain fashionable shoes from the 1920s, 30's and 40's have been repeated over the past 30 years (in the 70's it was the platform heels for women and men), women are now wearing four, five and even six inch heels which literally cause them to walk above ground level. These new fashionable heels, stilettos as they are called were designed to be hot, sexy and popular extraordinaire. However, what you will not find advertised along with the shoe is a warning label which says "these shoes might be hazardous for your feet ten years from now"!
I am approaching the age of being eligible for senior discounts (and proud of it) but I still can remember purchasing a shoe 40 years ago for its beauty, color and style! Comfort was not the issue. Who wanted a comfortable shoe? I was in my early 20's, pursuing a career in fashion modeling and needed to look as though I had just stepped out of a fashion magazine. I always did and that included a "super fly" pair of heels.
The History of Pain
In the 1960s and 70's there were no sneakers (as called then) worn in the streets. You had school shoes, church shoes and play shoes, or sneakers and each were worn for the appropriate occasion. So, as a young adult going to the office, I wore heels. The idea of wearing tennis shoes to work and then changing into your good shoes did not come about until the late 1970s.
A NYC Subway strike took effect and lasted for three weeks. Many commuters had to walk several blocks from the railroad and bus stations to their places of business, and people began wearing their tennis shoes. The idea caught on and the sneaker industry had a boom that is still lasting today!
Now, back to my office look. I wore a suit or dress (no slacks allowed) with a color coordinated pair of "high heels". I walked several blocks to the train station and then to my office building. I came home each night in misery with burning, throbbing feet. Thankfully, I had my own method of treatment at the end of each day.
Every evening I soaked my feet ,and then massaged them down with a cream used for muscular aches and pains. The next morning without fail, I would put on my "toe crunchers" once again and start my commute to work. Whether it was raining, snowing or hot and humid. No flip flops, no strappy sandals existed at that time in the office arena, or would have been permitted. Now, you did have an option and could wear flats, but you would then, unfortunately, be considered a "frump" and no one younger than 50 years old would dare wear them. In our neighborhood what we more accurately called them were "old lady shoes." Usually, those type of shoes were only seen in the form of a style termed as "orthopedic" - color selection - brown, black or grey only!
On A Mission
Please understand, that this was the thinking of that young generation of women who wanted to look glamorous at all times. The pressure was always "on" and you could not succumb to pressure if you wanted to look "out of sight!"
Yes, we were checking each other out and trying to find out "where did she get those shoes?!" So, there was no question that our feet were going to suffer whether they complained or not. High heels were the deal. And, they still are today.
Some Things Just Don't Change!
So as it was in the past, it is today, the right shoe must match the outfit and get the correct result...envy from the viewer. "Oh girl, where did you get those shoes?!" "Oh these? Somewhere downtown, I forgot the exact name of the place." Now, a scarf, or hat, even a pair of gloves; we won't mind sharing that information. But do you really expect us to divulge that vital information?
So many young women are walking around, dancing, clubbing, or walking the pavements to and from work, in shoes that are absolutely torturing their feet. They either limp home barefooted (waiting until all are out of their view) or suffer until they get into their door. "What was that blood curdling scream?" My mom would ask. "Oh, I was just taking off my heels." Lest I sound suggestively prejudice against young folks, I do realize that older women are somewhat guilty. I have seen some gorgeous shoes while attending my social events.
There is nothing wrong with looking elegant and coordinated. Not all women are vain about their feet, however, older women can, too, fall prey to a good looking shoe. My 23 year old daughter has a gorgeous selection of shoes and there is one pair in particular, that I would be tempted to borrow from her. There are two problems - not only are they too high, her foot is two sizes smaller than mine!
They Fit Perfectly!
One of the things we have all been guilty of in purchasing a pair of shoes, is settling for the wrong size. Why do we think that a size 9 foot will fit into a shoe size of 8-1/2? I'll tell you why...it's the last shoe in that style. Oh yes, you may as well fess up! I have convinced myself that the shoe felt great. Of course, that cushy, thick carpet in the shoe department helped me make that ridiculous determination. Or, my other back-up rationale was "they'll stretch over time."
With the peep-toes, I have seen women with the big toe literally touching the sidewalk. I'd say to myself "that was the last shoe in that style." The point I'm trying to make is that a shoe that is not correctly fitted and that is too high (no, not too high for me...too high for any woman), is going to cause a lot of pain and grief in future years.
Some Inside Information
I have come to realize that different women wear these "towers" for several reasons. I have seen women walking the hard pavement, who in stocking feet, might stand about 4'8" tall. They walk by in a heel (it might be a shoe or boot) with a 5 inch heel which puts them a little above 5 feet.
For some ladies, it's about stature. I don't have that issue since I am 5'7" tall, and I do sympathize with those who want height. In my opinion, we are all beautiful no matter the stance. For others, especially the "club set", it's about an entrance. I know about that because my long-time friend and I were famous for it. The outfit, the makeup and oh, don't forget those heels (or pumps).. Put your best foot forward! When making a "grand entrance" people usually look at you from the foot up and then down again. So, the perfect shoe that came into play had to be just right! Being vain however, did cause pain (LOL).
Many women have had podiatry surgery to correct corns, hammer toes, bunions, and all sorts of maintenance treatments such as scaling calluses, due to wearing an inappropriate, uncomfortable and too small shoe over a period of time. The doctor's office was filled with patients waiting for their surgeries when I went in for consultation.
I had that surgery 15 years ago because I was in constant excruciating pain. When standing on the subway platform waiting for my train home, I would lean against the pillar and close my eyes lifting each foot in turn to get relief. The three-block walk home was shear agony. It took an incredible two years for me to make a final decision about the surgery because I was told I would have to discard all of my shoes. It seems that with bunion surgery in particular, the bunion has a tendency to grow back into the shape of the shoe.
Noooo! I had blue, red, brown, green, lizard, patent leather...a shoe for every outfit. I couldn't bring myself to do it. However, eventually the thought did occur to me that I'd have an excuse to buy new shoes.
"You'll have to change the type of shoes you are wearing." Above you'll see a photo sample of the shoe my doctor suggested. I'll wait until you stop laughing to go on.
There is A Happy Medium
I'm sorry, but I just couldn't bring myself to go that far. I decided to search out a comfortable shoe with some semblance of style, so that I would be content with my total appearance. It took trial and error (some shoes stayed in the box) until I found a store that understood that style and comfort were synonymous. I love the styles that Aerosoles design and I have been known to walk out with at least five pair of shoes when there is a sale! Now, there are so many beautiful shoes - ballet styles in particular, that can be worn to work. You have an option to carry the pair that sets off your outfit of the day, but some are so beautiful that they do compliment your wardrobe.
Then and Now
I am aware that medically, technology has taken the remedy to this problem to another level. There is now laser surgery which is considered less invasive. You spend less time on disability and can resume most activities quickly. I spent two months in those surgical shoes before I could very gently ease my feet back into sneakers.
Perhaps other changes have been made as well. My point is, however, why bother putting yourself through all of this in the first place? Wisdom takes precedence in all decisions that we make, and how you are able to walk when you become 61 years old or even 80 years old is very important.
Along with affecting your ankles and knees, other issues might involve not only the way we walk, but the condition of our spine, and for women who are childbearing age, I understand that it affects the position of your uterus (you do the research, please). Sadly, I see too often elderly women slowly making their way across a street only to be stuck in the middle of it with a red light flashing. I can tell you from experience that it strikes terror...I experienced that when wearing those surgical shoes. I needed two lights to get across the street! I wonder how many of them were suffering from bad feet?
Some Remedy Reminders
After I had the surgery I adopted some solutions to wearing heels on those "special" occasions, and even after wearing my modest shoes. So, if you're going to wear them high and look hot, here are some suggestions. These "old" remedies still work for me!
Hot foot soaks, or an extended pedicure help very well. When I treat myself to a private home foot soak I use that foot soap. I also use certain mineral salts that are inexpensive and can be purchased at the local drugstore. I then massage my feet with my wonderful Ben Gay cream. You might think I am crazy but I also use Vicks Vaporub sometimes. It's a household product and less expensive than the creams specifically made for the feet. (Remember, I was using these methods about 12 years ago.) Then, I allow my feet to rest, sometimes elevating them during the night. The next day I wear my comfortable shoes or gym shoes...aahhhh!
The decision is ours to make. Personally, I remember too vividly the pain of being extremely uncomfortable. I paid a high price for looking gorgeous. Now, I do have a few shoes that are "hot", but if I wear them one night, my feet get about a three-month vacation before I pull out another pair. I alternate with low shoes or those with a medium heel that are just as pretty and do coordinate with what I am wearing. I find that I enjoy my events more and am no longer anxious to "just get home."
I understand that many women own vehicles, or have a mate that accompanies them and walking and subways are not an issue for them. (I do remember saying to a date once, "Did you really park that far away?!") However, no time, regardless the long or short of it should cause you pain and discomfort.
I love purchasing a new shoe and looking forward to that special event to sport them! I also love being able to walk in comfort in the days and weeks following that great time. I don't want to wear bandaids on the heels of my feet or on certain toes just to look good for one night. The sacrifice is too great. So, for those young, gorgeous and "occasionally tall" gals out there...beware...your turn will come sooner than you expect. Making some slight revisions in your shoe collection now, will augur well when you become of maturity. Remember, "these feet were made for walking!"
Fourteen Months Later...Torture Goes On!
I wrote this article in 2011 and it is amazing how I see the young women are still rocking these skyscraper heels and enduring the pain. Torn ACL's, sprained ankles and sore backs. Ever heard of soaking your feet, rubbing on the Ben Gay, using heating pads, just so you can put another pair of them on the next weekend?!!!
Just ask my daughter. She is presently soaking in a hot tub with Epsom Salt on today, Monday, because she painfully dragged around the office as though she had been body slammed by a professional wrestler. LOL! Her Saturday night bash at a friend's birthday party was the culprit and paying dividends for wearing those sexy six inchers.
I'm telling you girls - you better listen up! Now, if you're prepared to pay the dues, then...
Five Inches and Climbing in the Year 2013
I am just "smh" as I look at the gorgeous shoes with more heel than shoe. Some would call it, I think, "foot candy!" This is just a little sidebar as the year 2013 goes out with holidays approaching, wear the shoe if you must, but at least carry a pair of adorable flats as a rescue for those dancing feet.
As they say these days..."I'm just saying!"