It’s been 416 days since I’ve worn a pair of heels.
At first, this was by necessity — I badly sprained my ankle on a run the day after Thanksgiving in 2014. That’s what I get for trying to run off my gluttony the day before! As a stubborn individual by nature, I didn’t go to PT right away and instead used crutches for a few days and figured it’d heal on its own…which it didn’t. Lesson learned. But even months after my ankle healed , wearing heels or even wedges caused some discomfort. That is, even more discomfort than wearing heels usually causes. I’ve never understood (nor believed, for that matter) women who swear that heels are in no way painful for them.
So instead of grinning and bearing it for the sake of fashion, I just said screw it! Now, heels were never really my thing to begin with, but I wore them out of a weird social obligation that I felt. My old office was in SoHo, so I wanted to feel a little more dressed up at work. This meant keeping a few pairs of heels at work to change into when I got into the office. And sure, I felt a little more “put together” if you will, but because I wore them so infrequently, I always felt like I was teetering around like a toddler learning how to walk…all in the name of dressing for success, as I’d been lead to believe through the years by the media.
I think of my ankle sprain as a blessing in disguise, because it allowed me to take a (non-high heeled) step back and think about why I made myself wear something that I was never comfortable in to begin with. In our twisted society, we’re always presented with images of women wearing heels in photos, tv shows, movies, music videos, magazines…so as a recent college graduate in New York City, despite having what I consider is a good head on my shoulders, I was brainwashed into believing that in order to be taken seriously in the business world, I, too, had to don torture devices on my feet to fit in.
And you know what happened once I stopped wearing heels? Not a god damn thing. Well, aside from the fact that my feet never hurt. And that I feel more confident walking around the city and the office not worrying that I’m going to fall over. Oh, and the tiny fact that I’m no longer doing damage to my body by throwing it out of alignment.
This Fortune Magazine piece, “Why More Women Are Rebelling Against High Heels”, appeared in my Twitter feed in the summer of 2015, roughly 6 months after I decided to eschew high heels, and it was like music to my ears…especially the opening quote in the article:
From investment bankers to Hollywood actresses, more women say stilettos have lost their cool factor. Says one: “It seems like you’re trying way too hard if you’re strutting around in six-inch heels all the time.”
Bingo. There’s certainly nothing wrong with throwing on a pair of heels to jazz up an outfit for a special night out, but if you’re wearing them daily, I’d urge you to think about the longterm damage that you could be doing to your body. I’m grateful that I have a job where I can wear flats, sneakers, or boots to work every day (especially because I have a standing desk), because after experiencing over a year of bliss without wearing a single pair of heels, I’m positive that I could never go back to the dark side.