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Why this woman won't give up on her stilettos

Publisher, editor-in-chief and author at Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Are stilettos too painful a price for being fashionable?

"You can't wear those comfortable shoes of yours to Michael's wedding," instructed my mother when we discussed my attire as mother of the groom. I had seen a doctor last year when an old spinal cord injury was acting up, and the first thing he did was point out that my shoes had pushed my toes into a triangular wedge. I threw out a bunch of my shoes and started wearing ones with rounded toes that didn’t force my feet into unnatural shapes.

But, when your 82-year-old mother tells you to spice things up, you listen. So, off I went to the shoe stores, trying on various instruments of torture until I found a very fashionable pair of Italian black-patent leather sandals complete with platforms and stiletto heels that were surprisingly comfortable, at least in the store. And I looked great in them as long as I didn’t move. Then I looked a bit like a little girl trying to walk in her mom’s high heels.

When we packed for our trip to the wedding, I decided to take a backup pair of less stylish black sandals from the “comfortable” shoe manufacturer. And after two hours of posing for pictures, watching the ceremony and standing around during the cocktails, my feet were killing me. So, I asked my husband to get my less daunting sandals from the car and I hid the Italian ones under the table.

The band was fabulous and we danced for hours, but my feet started killing me again, damaged as they were by the original sandals. Thus, the less torturous sandals were abandoned too, and I switched to the flip-flops that had been thoughtfully provided for the guests by the bride’s parents.

When we left the wedding later, I limped out in the flip-flops, carrying my two pairs of rejected high-heeled sandals. Every step was agony. And I felt like an idiot. Why do women do this to themselves?

Now, before you men start feeling superior, let me say one word: purses. That’s right. We’re on to you. You refuse to carry a bag, not even one of those “man bags.” And instead, you ask if you can stash your glasses and wallets and phones in our purses. My defense has been to carry smaller and smaller purses, so that my husband can’t load me up with all his stuff. Why won’t men carry bags? Because you don’t like how it looks, even though you know how much sense it makes.

So, we women will continue to foolishly hurt our feet in the name of fashion, and you men will continue to stuff your pockets because you refuse to be seen carrying a man bag. I rest my case. And my feet.

A bonus story for anyone who has purchased those adorable shoes on clearance: "The Turquoise Shoes."

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