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Why the high-heel fashion could be tottering at last

PUBLISHED: 06:56 19 March 2018

The best way to wear high heels... sitting down in comfort.

The best way to wear high heels... sitting down in comfort.

Archant

Could high heels have had their day? About time, says Sharon Griffiths.

It was all Carrie Bradshaw’s fault. As she strode through Sex and the City twenty years ago, she never wore anything less than a five-inch heel. Ouch.

An entire generation of young women copied her. So they limped and tottered through their lives, crippling themselves in the process.

Now I love a good heel as much as anybody. A particular scarlet pair that I love so much might have to come with me to the grave.

But every day? For work? No way. They can just about last a party – and only then if I spend most of it sitting down.

But for the third year running, sales of high heels have plummeted. Women who grew up with the Carrie Bradshaw role model have discovered the joys of loafers, trainers and comfort – and of being able to stride out confidently and not get to the end of the day battered and blistered and bruised.

Since a city firm insisted a few years ago that women employees wore high heels, there’s been a backlash. Flat shoes have even appeared at the Oscars and red carpet events.

High heels have always had a strange role in society. I spent most of my working life in radio in jeans and boots and my male colleagues treated me as a mate. On the occasions when I put on a smart suit and serious heels, their attitudes changed utterly. Weird. But that’s heels for you.

For those of us feminists who grew up long before Sex and the City, this addiction to Jimmy Choos, Louboutins and their imitators seemed almost akin to voluntary foot-binding and just as restrictive. The generation that has achieved more equality than any before seemed intent on hobbling themselves with their footwear. For every woman who can stride confidently, there are scores more just longing for the moment they can kick their shoes off.

But now everything’s changing, the emphasis is on fitness, on walking, running, counting steps. Jimmy Choos won’t hack it. You need something you can actually walk in.

Even Victoria Beckham – who once wore high-heeled trainers – has now come down to earth and is seen quite often in tennis shoes or loafers. Mind you, we’ve seen pictures of her bunions. That explains a lot.

It doesn’t have to be either Louboutins or Uggs. There’s a middle way.

And not just in shoes. A former investment banker had enough of the sheer discomfort of her smart suit office wear - agony by lunchtime, especially on a plane - so has invented a new range of stretchy clothes that look like power suits but feel like yoga clothes.

Clothes that are smart AND comfortable? That really is women’s liberation…


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