The Fall of the Heel

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I used to live in high heels all throughout university. During my first pub crawl in London, I spent three hours walking around in an amazing pair of black sequined four-inchers. Yeah, I felt like I was walking on hot coals by the end of the night, but hey… I did it. The thought of doing that today, however, makes me think of nothing except instant death. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older (damn it all to Hell!) and my feet don’t have the stamina they used to, but I definitely have NOT fulfilled that vision I once had of myself, running through NYC at night in an amazing pair of Manolos. I run around the city at night, of course, but you better believe it’s always in flat shoes.

What makes me feel better about leaving my stilettos at home so much, however, is the fact that most women here don’t actually wear sky-high heels on a daily basis. It’s not like many of us have a car and drive back and forth to work, park close, and spend all of five minutes walking. Instead, we have to trek to the Subway station, stand around waiting, weave through crowds, and even if you’re hailing a cab… you may be standing on the corner for awhile if it’s rush hour. We’re talking “rejected hooker” status. As much as I’ve given in to the whole “beauty is pain” thing, there’s a difference between a bit of discomfort and literally falling on your face because you can’t feel anything from the ankles down. Heels throw off your alignment (which sucks, because I love how they improve my strut), mess up the weight distribution on your feet, damage your knees, etc., so it’s also important to take care of your feet when you do wear them. (Check out these awesome foot stretches.)

Carrie Bradshaw has given the world the idea that heels are the must-have accessory for female New Yorkers. But in reality, it’s all about the Converse, flat boots, and $400 Italian leather ballet pumps. Even women who wear heels at work will typically change into them when they get there, rather than wearing them during their commute. Every so often for a special night, I definitely break out the stilettos (provided I’m taking a cab) – but even then, I usually have a backup pair of slippas (aka “flip flops”) in my purse in case I’m praying for an amputation by the end of the night.

For you ladies planning a trip to NYC, do not feel pressured to walk on stilts the whole time you’re here just because you think that will make you look non-touristy. In fact, you’ll look even more like a tourist if you’re stumbling around on the Meatpacking District’s cobblestones (every “real” city girl knows that area is a danger zone), so be smart with your footwear. Nothing ruins a sexy pair of shoes more than a chick who can’t actually walk in them.

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