Here's a recent letter from a reader:
I got a follow-up letter from Melissa the next day saying she had in fact decided against them -- the color wasn't right and maybe they were a bit funkier than she wanted. I loved those red shoes, I'm really sorry they didn't work out because I think they would have been fab with some skinny jeans and a loose top. Very Marni.
As far as Melissa's daughter is concerned... well, I'm sure she's a lovely girl, but I don't know too many 17-years olds from whom I'd take fashion advice. Teenaged girls are not exactly known for their open-mindedness or sound judgment, and the horror of being "different" is uniquely potent in someone that age. As for the age cut-off for wearing funky shoes? Phooey! I refuse to acknowledge any such thing. Because there are age-appropriate funky shoes out there, believe you me -- I've got a closet full of 'em!
I'm opening Melissa's question up to the community here -- anyone have advice on what shoes she should try? I'd love for anyone to send some suggestions for specific shoes, because I'm going to be tearingly busy the next few days and won't have a lot of time for surfing the interwebs. (Clever Style Spy, getting her readers to do her work for her!)
And now, we come to the section where Style Spy drops a few Home Truths on you.
The whole myth about comfy high heels is just that -- a myth. Pretty much no one has very much padding on the balls of her feet, and it does degrade as we age. We are just not built to walk around like that, as any podiatrist will tell you. I can scamper around pretty carefree in a 3" heel for a long little while because I'm used to it, but after a point, no matter what the shoe, I start to feel it. (I find a glass of champagne does wonders for this, but that, of course, is not always practical.) The sad ugly truth is that how "comfortable" a pair of heels is actually equates to just how much discomfort you are willing to bear. This is not to say that I don't have some shoes that are better than others, because I do. But the uncooked meat of the matter is that the difference between a High Heel Gal and a Non-High-Heel Gal is about how she works the Pain vs. Fabulous Equation.
If you see it like this:
you're not a High Heel Gal.
If you see it like this:you are. That's pretty much all there is to it.
So, do these look "comfy"?
No, honestly, they do not. Would I care? Oh, HELL, no!!
Up to a point, of course. I don't need to be able to walk far, but I do need to be able to walk. Limping and bleeding by the end of the night is not chic, no matter how fabulous your shoes.
I'm not saying every pair of heels you will ever put on will be like Torquemada going to town on your tootsies. Some heels really aren't too bad -- and it depends on your foot and the construction of the shoes as to how well they match up. But. In shoes, "comfortable" is a sliding scale. I don't have the same standard for "comfort" in a running shoe as I do in a fabulous dressy sandal. As I have told many a shoe-gawker who has asked, "Are they comfortable?" while staring at my feet, when you're talking about a four-inch heel, you're setting a whole different baseline for "comfort" to begin with. It also has to do with any given person's pain threshold (Mine is actually pretty high -- I once had a cracked rib for three weeks before I went to the doctor. I just thought I'd slept funny.) and how long you wear the shoes. Almost anyone can get through a dinner party in a pair of heels, but the back & forth of a day at the office in them might be too much for you.
There are steps that you can take -- a myriad of gel insoles and foot pads and arch supports are available these days, and a lot of them really help. I have a client who takes almost every pair of high heels she buys immediately to the cobbler to have half an inch lopped off the heel and a rubber half-sole attached to the bottom of the shoe. This won't work with every heel, of course, and you need a good shoe guy, but it can work wonders. Some people are even getting collagen or Restylane injections into the balls of their feet to plump up the padding, although I must say this seems a bit extreme. (Not to mention pretty spendy.)
So there are certainly things you can do to improve the situation, but I think it's unlikely that we will ever see the invention of a droolworthy high-heeled shoe you could wear to sightsee in New York City in all day long and end the day feeling your feet had been massaged by angels for eight hours. You cannot turn these
Then again, why on earth would you ever want to?
Photos: Zappos.com, NeimanMarcus.com, NewBalance.com