Sole sense: making the case against stiletto heels

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Maybe 2016 will be the year when women say “enough is enough” to mega high heels. As a stylist, I’m the first person to appreciate the aesthetics of heels as they add height and enhance the shapeliness of a woman’s legs. Heels vs. flats also instantaneously dress up any outfit.

Since the mid 90’s however, I’ve watched as heel heights grew from three to as high as six inches. Every time I see a lady teetering awkwardly on her stilettos, I ask myself why she would subject herself to such torture. My only explanation is that many women have bought into the fashion industry driven hype that a five-inch high heel, like a glass slipper, magically transforms them. Christian Louboutin, author of the quote, “High heels are pleasure with pain”, also has this to say about their allure:”The higher the better. It’s more about an attitude. Higher heels empower women in a way.”

The myriad health risks associated with consistent high heel use are well documented. A 2013 Women’s Health Magazine article “What Happens To Your Body When You Wear Heels” explains that wearing a four-inch heel puts 30% more pressure on the front of the foot, thus stressing these bones and nerves as well as tightening the Achilles and adjoining tendons of the ankle. The article goes on to list the other unfortunate body parts victimized by consistent high heel use, such as knees, hips, and lower backs.

To all you stiletto wearing diehards, I invite you to step into some of this year’s high heel alternatives, such as block heels and sleek pumps. Who knows? You may like the way your feet feel and your legs look in these shoe styles. Having lived through decades of shoe trends and advised clients for years on their wardrobes, I can honestly say that moderate heel heights win the prize for both elegance and sexiness.

Sole Sense: 2016 Shoe Trends

J.Crew kitten heel shoes
$370 – jcrew.com

Black shoes
riverisland.se

Kate spade shoes
katespade.com

Talbots shoes
talbots.com

Fall shoe essentials

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Last week I set out on a mission with one of my clients to replenish her shoe collection. Since she had enough work shoes, we spent our time looking for boots, flats, and active wear shoes. It took us a total of two hours at two stores to find just the shoes she needed for a well-rounded shoe wardrobe.

Studies show that women own about nineteen pairs of shoes at any given time, and they also purchase seven new pairs each year. There are those with an Imelda Marcus mindset that need to accumulate more and more shoes. I once knew someone who had an entire extra closet built to house all of her acquisitions. On the other hand, one of my minimalist friends does fine with five pairs of shoes. Although the right amount and type of shoes to own depends on both the lifestyle and the diversity of a person’s wardrobe, here is my list of top ten fall shoe essentials:

1. One pair of neutral equestrian style tall boots;
2. One pair of short flat boots/booties;
3. One pair of short booties/shooties with medium to high heel;
4. One pair of modern loafer or driving moccasin style shoe;
5. One pair of neutral ballet type flat;
6. One pair of special occasion shoes;
7. One slip of rubber sole casual wear shoe – Keds, Toms, Vans, or the equivalent;
8. One pair of heeled pumps;
9. One pair of rain or water repellant boots;
10. One wildcard – a just for fun shoe. Mine is a Michael Kors silver studded black and white oxford.

Does your shoe wardrobe resemble this list? What would you add to or delete from this list?

Shoe Essentials

Charlotte Olympia flat shoes
$660 – forzieri.com

Frye boots
backcountry.com

Frye ankle booties
nordstrom.com

Kate Spade slip on shoes
couture.zappos.com

Tod’s slip on shoes
$420 – net-a-porter.com

Chloé ballet flat
shop-hers.com

Report suede boots
nordstrom.com

Top Guy knee boots
nordstromrack.com

Ballerina shoes
gojane.com

simple shoe prints
openclipart.org

Boot shopping basics

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Boots are my favorite footwear. Even though I loathe cold weather, I can’t wait until the temperature dips enough to warrant breaking out my boots. Judging from the vast array of boots I see on a daily basis, other folks must feel the same way. I understand their widespread appeal, for boots keep your feet warm and comfortable, look good with almost anything, and have a long style life. Although tall riding boots are my all-time personal favorites, I’m also partial to short stacked heel booties.

I acquired my first pair of boots at the age of eight during a cross country trip from Indiana to California. After stopping at Frontier City in Oklahoma, I set my sights on a pair of cowboy boots, and nagged my parents until they bought them for me. No ordinary boots, these were turquoise and black and beautiful! Of course I wore them for the remainder of our entire trip along with a western style shirt and bolo tie. I probably looked like a cast member from the musical Annie Get Your Gun.

Since boots are a bit of an investment and you will want to enjoy them for many seasons, here are some shopping pointers to help you select the right pair for your style and foot needs:

1. Take Your Time

Don’t shop when you are rushed or in an impulsive mood. Before you enter a store, do some research online and pinpoint certain brands and styles that you like. Make sure you read boot ratings and customer reviews to better passess a boot’s suitability for you. Then hit the stores and try on all kinds of boots. Once you purchase a pair, “test drive” them at home for a week (only inside or the store will not accept your return) at different times of the day to make sure they fit well.

2. Learn about your feet

Go to a reputable shoe store or shoe department with well-trained sales clerks and get your feet properly measured. Become informed about your feet so that you select footwear that won’t end up collecting dust in your closet.

3. Think about your needs

Are you on your feet a lot or do you walk long distances to and from work?
Do you live in a climate where a waterproof boot with good traction is a must?
Do you have a foot type or condition that requires a specific design quality such as a wide toe bed or extra shock absorption in the heel? The boot you want may not necessarily be the boot you need. Listen to what your feet are telling you.

4. Look for brands that have a solid reputation for quality, comfort, and style.

Quality and comfort trump style anytime. What good is a gorgeous pair of shoes if they cause pain and damage your feet? Nowadays you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort because there are plenty of brands that offer both. You can read weekly reviews and get email updates about comfort shoes at www.barkingdogshoes.com.

I just bought the boot by Rieker pictured below at GB warehouse in Greenville, SC, but it is also available online . I love the cordovan color of this boot, the decorative ankle buckle, and the fact that it is water resistant and lined with a fleece like material. Originally $130.00, I snagged this boot on sale for $89.99.

What boots are you wearing this season?

Bet on boots

Leopard print flat fan club

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Judging from the buzz around my last posting, it appears that many women out there love leopard print shoes. Although the Michael Kors leopard print peep toe platform pumps I featured are my objects of desire, I know that my feet don’t feel the same. One of my very good friends gauges a fine pair of shoes by how far she can walk in them. When we shoe shop together and I wax poetic about the beauty of a certain shoe, she always sets me straight by asking this simple question: How many miles could you walk in those shoes? I own two pair of high heels and wear them only on rare occasions. The rest of the time you will find me in low heels or flat shoes and boots. I know that the leopard shoe fan club includes members like me who wear leopard print kitten heels by Michael Kors or a sharp and eternally stylish leopard print flat by Sam Edleman.

I hope you enjoy viewing this eclectic collection of flats and boots of the feline variety. Personally, I covet the buckled Enzo boots. Which ones do want in your closet?

Leopard print flat fan club

Via Spiga loafer flat / Banana Republic nude ballet pumps / Enzo Angiolini short heel boots / Sperry Top-Sider animal print flat / Leopard print shoes / Charlotte Russe leopard print flat / Ted Baker oxford shoes, $175