As we head into the Fall season, the Westernized world is also entering into a new fashion season, which brings with it a hot debate about shoes – shoe height to be specific.
According to a recent article in the London Times newspaper, heels and pumps are no longer in fashion. In Britain and in many other Western countries, flats are now all the rage, particularly in the new fall fashion lines.
But, like other clothes and accessories, what’s considered a fashionable shoe height seems to change with weather – or at least the decade. The 60s and 70s saw high platform shoes, while the 80s and early 90s saw Converse sneakers and Keds, with the occasional stiletto mixed in. Then, in the late 90s with the introduction of Sex in the City, high heels, and I mean very high heels, became en Vogue again. Women around the world mimicked Carrie Bradshaw and rushed out to buy the unaffordable Jimmy Choo shoes.
But, after Sex went off the air, the heel craze seemed to deflate, leaving women in a foot bind over what the new shoe trend would be. Thankfully, they didn’t have to wait long. The weather changed again and heels were quickly replaced by comfort flats from Merrill, Born, and Keen, footwear that can almost double as active wear.
This new flat shoe trend also has been embraced by more than just women. Some authorities, like London’s Trades Union Congress, are encouraging women to wear flats to work. The group has even gone so far as to say that heels are demeaning to women and should not be worn to the office.
I understand that flat shoes are more practical and allow the wearer to do more throughout the day. And, for women who are model tall, flats can be a great option for a new look or to prevent height envy in a dating situation.
But for someone on the short side, a petite 5’1”, flats just don’t flatter. Heels, on the other hand, are what give my short stature a lift in a crowded room. Pumps enable me to elongate my legs and wear flowing pants that accentuate my modest curves. And, they bring a more distinguished essence to my whole look.
Even if you’re not vertically challenged, flat shoes may be hurting more than your height. In a recent article, experts from Britain’s Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists said that flats can cause more damage than heels, leading to shooting pains in the shins and arthritis. The reason being is that women, who are swapping their heels and even their gym shoes for flat dress shoes, are making their flats an everyday walking shoe. Experts say this is a problem because flat shoes do not generally allow the foot an opportunity to flex its arch. Furthermore, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists even recommends that women wear a one-inch heel in most situations.
So, what will it be for you this season – heels or flats? Well, whether you’re embracing the newest flat shoe folly or are still head over heels for height, I believe you need to go with the shoe that looks right and feels right on you. But, if you’re still not sure which trend to follow this season, buy a pair of heels and a pair of flats – this way, you’ll always be prepared when the fashion weather changes.