Monday, 27 December 2010

The lure of heels

One of the most enduring clichés about female beauty is that a woman always looks more attractive, more sexy and more sophisticated in high heels. I don't buy that at all, I think it's nonsense.

Women clumping around in heels that are both uncomfortable and hard to walk in are anything but attractive. And quite often the discomfort only makes them rude and grumpy.

There's nothing less appealing than a woman discreetly slipping off her painful footwear and relieving her aching feet.

As for those career women who're expected to wear heels to look "professional" (and how does that square with being sexy exactly?), why do three wobbly inches make them better at their jobs?

It just makes them feel superior to anyone not similarly shod, and entitled to browbeat and intimidate them.

Most high heels are of course designed by men who never wear them and are confident they themselves look ravishing without the need for such routine hobbling.

If men were obliged to teeter around in three-inch heels all day, they'd soon change their view of how "attractive" they were.

Heels are just a big liability if you're being pursued by an unwanted male, or trying to run for the bus, or doing anything physically demanding. They're only practical as long as you're moreorless stationary and doing nothing more taxing than light office work.

It's really not attractive seeing a woman staggering clumsily towards a bus stop as the bus accelerates away without her. Or sinking helplessly into a soggy lawn and having to be pulled out by a sniggering male.

But for some women it's the very impracticality of high heels, and the traditional feminine "vulnerability" they suggest, that tempts them into buying.

And they'll pay ridiculous sums to get into heels with the right designer label, even if they're crippled for days afterwards. Mr Blahnik* must be laughing all the way to the bank.

* Manolo Blahnik, shoe designer. He has made a fortune out of his fashionable high heels. How about the new jewelled satin pump at a mere £749?


  1. i do love to see a woman in heels but only if they can walk in them!

    my local shops have a function centre next door and on weekends i see many many women attending weddings and so on in their heels. a good number can barely walk and it is so opposite to sexy.

    being unable to wear heels, or any gorgeous shoes at all, is an enormous disappointment to me and women who slob around in flip flops or other garbage when they could wear something pretty annoy the crap out of me

    here ends the tirade

  2. Kylie - This is it, I see so many women who can't walk in them, hobbling along laboriously and looking totally graceless. There are plenty of pretty and sexy shoes which don't require being permanently on stilts.

  3. yeah, nick, i dont see a need for heels but i do think that if you can wear attractive shoes you should!

  4. The only time I wear heels is when I'm glammed up. And yes, I can walk in them.

    The rest of the time I wear walking boots or trainers or flatties.

    Yes, I could make the effort. No, I can't be arsed.

  5. Nick, why single out women? There are men going around wearing high-heel boots, and all my cow boy heroes of boyhood wore them with panache!

    Your earlier post on the same subject caused me to some research and at the end of it, I gave up on both genders insisting on being uncomfortable!

  6. Because I'm short I wore heels every day from the moment my mother relented and let me have a pair (14 or so) until about eight years ago. I was able to run, dance, and stride about all day (and night) in them. After a while of living in Scotland I began to wear more flatties because I often feel quite tall here! Now I only wear heels with certain outfits, though I still love the extra height they provide, and that feeling of elegance.

    I agree, though, seeing women staggering and in obvious discomfort isn't attractive, unless you like your women weak, which some men still seem to. I often think of some of the more extreme shoes as a western foot-binding equivalent. But there is something about the shape they give to the leg...

  7. Kylie - Yes, but are high heels really more attractive than shoes with standard heels? Or are they just more dramatic?

    Roses - That suggests to me that most of the time heels are totally impractical for whatever you're doing. Special occasions are the only time you succumb.

  8. Ramana - I think women do tend to wear more uncomfortable clothes than men, since they're more willing to sacrifice comfort to a perfect appearance.

    Eryl - Yes, there's not much point in wearing heels if you tower over everyone anyway. Though some women just want to be even more towering! Personally I've never noticed much difference in leg shape....

  9. You didn't mention the long term effects of wearing them Nick, bunions, corns and arthritis and deformities.
    I am staggered at the heights to which the designs are carried these days and the idiots who wear them.
    I strongly believe they will vanish like the dinosaurs when women gain a little more self-esteem.

  10. www - Indeed, I'm very aware of all the health problems linked to high heels. I'm surprised they aren't banned under health and safety laws! The totally unnatural shape inevitably damages a woman's feet.

    I didn't bring that up in the post because I was basically looking at the idea that high heels are essential to female beauty.

  11. "Manolo Blahnik, shoe designer. He has made a fortune out of his fashionable high heels. " He helped Orthopaedic Surgeons make a fortune!

  12. Grannymar - Indeed, and I wonder how much money the NHS is spending on the victims of his toe-crushing shoes.

  13. if you know the price of manohlos...well, i doubt the nhs pays for too much damage from them because nobody can afford to buy em!

    if you want to talk about beauty, it all depends on the shoe and the person it's on and the outfit it's with but i will say heels arent neccesary for beauty. poorly fitting shoes of any description annoy me, as do badly maintained ones.

  14. Ah wasted on me. I am the Queen of the sensible shoe.

  15. I've always believed that comfortability is best... I walk around in flip flops or sneakers most of the time, and the occasional dressy shoe only when I have to...

  16. Kylie - True about the price of Manolos. But of course there are plenty of cheap high heels. Glad you agree heels have nothing to do with beauty.

    Nurse Myra - Very sensible. You're not contributing to Mr Blahnik's bulging bank account.

  17. Baino - Very sensible also. And who would need heels at an Aussie barbecue anyway?

    Terra - Absolutely, why put up with discomfort just to be someone else's eye-candy?

  18. I never wear them anymore. My back is no longer up to the challenge, and I much prefer comfort and convenience. There have been periods in history when men wore heels, but not in our lifetime. (Elevator shoes don't count, and I once knew a guy who wore Frye boots because they made him taller.)

    While I would love to be a few inches taller, suffering in tall shoes is not worth the pain. And my feet are not deformed, which makes me happy although no one cares for feet.

  19. Heart - Ah yes, the age of the male dandy, that must have been fun. But you'd never get a man to wear stilettos all day, only women will put up with them. Good to know your feet haven't been ruined in the name of fashion!

  20. They are useful for slamming in a jutting nail...
    They make attractive legs look more attractive and bulging calves more bulbous. Learn what suits you!!!

  21. Scarlet - And also useful for jabbing an obstreperous male. Hmmm, I wonder if they'd enhance MY attractive legs? Not they need any enhancing of course.

  22. Anyone "clumpng around" looks ungainly regardless of heel height. I wear heels only occasionally, although it's not a problem for my job since I sit all day. And even then, I wear moderate heels which are designed to be comfortable. I definitely don't if I have a lot of walking to do. But for a dressy evening out, I still do wear them. (But I don't spend a fortune on them or any clothing - that's just silly.) The reason people find them sexy is because they alter the line of the legs and backside. I don't wear them to feel tall (I'm just shy of 5'4" but I love my height as it is) but for the way they make me look in a dress or skirt.

  23. Secret Agent - Well, I must have been missing the sexy aspect of heels all these years! To me, legs are legs and the type of shoe doesn't seem to make much difference. But no doubt many men would disagree with me....