There have been two stories in the news lately about women having to give up high heels. One is about Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker Is Done With High Heels… Unless They’re Really, Really Nice; and the other about Jessica Simpson, Jessica Simpson Stops Wearing Heels During Second Pregnancy, Practices Walking In Flats.
The real question is why so many women voluntarily wear the things that will ruin their feet.
Regarding Sarah Jessica Parker, the comments from her foot doctor say a lot:
I went to a foot doctor and he said, ‘Your foot does things it shouldn’t be able to do. That bone there… You’ve created that bone. It doesn’t belong there.’ The moral of the story is, the chickens are coming home to roost. It’s sad, because my feet took me all over the world, but eventually they were like, ‘You know what, we are really tired, can you just stop — and don’t put cheap shoes on us?’”
Supposedly she’s now wearing sneakers (and Uggs) a lot.
There is also a claim that she sprained her ankle wearing cheap shoes with a plastic sole, and if a lack of leather (which, when processed for a sole is often slippery) made the difference. It’s more likely, in my eyes, that she was finally using some muscles that hadn’t been used in a while.
Oh, and you want to see what she thinks are better? These things with 3-inch heels.
[Photo from here.]
Trust me, those are still putting ridiculous stress in places that aren’t designed for it.
The situation for Jessica Simpson isn’t much different. From that story:
This time around, Jessica took to Twitter to admit her defeat against the increasingly-painful footwear during her second pregnancy. “Practicing walking in flats around my house,” she tweeted along with a photo of her feet in a pair of black flip-flops.
“Jessica is no longer wearing heels,” a source recently told Us Weekly. “Her feet are swollen and hurt, and high heels hurt her back.”
Of course, the story gigs her for wearing flip-flops: not stylish enough.
But high heels hurt everybody’s back, whether pregnant or not. In fact, shoes have a bigger effect on one’s back than one realizes, and many who start going barefoot realize after a while.
The thing is, high heels are probably the most dangerous footwear out there (despite the fears of store owners about bare feet). When looking at lawsuits, there are just a ton of them involving injuries to women wearing high heels. Yet the general attitude of people is that such things are “normal” despite all the long-term damage they do to feet.
The heels make them more unstable, and the heels themselves (particularly the pointier ones) get caught on all sorts of things.
When I look at older lawsuits, back from the 1920s to 1950s or so, there are a lot of cases of heels getting caught on the flashing of stairs, or heels getting caught in heating grates.
So, what did the stores do? They put up big signs saying:
High Heels? No Service.
Naw. Of course I’m joking.
What the stores did was eliminate the hazards (as best they could) from the heels getting caught. For instance, heating registers are no longer on the floor. Flashing is engineered. Nonetheless, they haven’t managed to eliminate all the hazards from high heels. You still see the occasional lawsuit from a loose carpet that catches a heel.
But when it comes to barefoot customers, stores for some reason take the opposite approach—ban the customer instead of making sensible changes. Actually, the main change they have to make is simply mental and realize that bare feet are nowhere as fragile or prone to injury as they think. The store owners make up all sort of highly improbable scenarios that don’t even come close to the dangers presented by high heels.
Yet they still allow in high-heeled customers.
It’s really a pretty good example of buying into the myths and seeing only what they want to see.
Even worse, these examples of the “Jessicas” won’t make a difference. They will still acknowledge the dangers and discomfort and long-term disabilities from the high heels, but accept that these women are making a personal choice.
But a personal choice to go barefooted will still throw them into a frenzy.