H
ere we are, in front of a story that is already familiar! A high-heel lover and slave who banishes the heel to embrace the new world of flat shoes. Recently, Victoria Beckham announced that she is hanging up her heels. “I just can’t do heels anymore”, she told British newspaper the Telegraph. “At least not when I’m working. I travel a lot.” As a matter of fact, in February, she showed up at her fashion show in Adidas Stan Smith sneakers. Yes, SNEAKERS!

 

Let’s not forget that Victoria has been loyal to heels for decades, running around the world in platform stilettos, and more than once she’s stated how she can’t (or maybe I should say couldn’t) concentrate in flats.

 

Now, flats are a great shoe to have and to alternate with many different models of shoes, but why do we always have to go through life taking things to extremes? In our diets, in our exercise regimens, in work, in vices…. Can’t we learn (and with we, I mean both women and men) to enjoy life with more balance?

 

I find stilettos to be a very stylish and elegant type of heel, but even so, I would probably never wear a stiletto heel to my 3-year-old son’s birthday party. Likewise, even if I could hide behind the fact that I’m a trainer and I work in sneakers, I most likely will be wearing heels at business meetings or events. Shoe designers are so creative and so good at what they do that we have a shoe for every occasion!

 

Why do we get to the point where our feet hurt so much that the only thing we can do is to stop wearing heels at all? When we are young our body is able to handle the load, but when we start getting closer to 40, it’s a different story: bunions, cramps at the legs, hammer toes, pain at the ball of the foot, and more. These conditions can develop and the pain can be so excruciating that hanging up our heels seems the only solution. Sigh!

 

But this doesn’t have to be the outcome.

Not if you plan it in advance with smart choices

in terms of shoes and exercise.

Yes, exercise!

 

What do you do when your back is out of whack? What does the doctor, in most cases, prescribe for your pain? Pilates, PT, and physical activities! Boom! That’s what you need for your feet. Let them move, work, stretch, and articulate! Walk barefoot as much as you can, play with the sand when you are at the beach, slip your shoes off any time you can when you are sitting at the desk, and force all those positions that are opposite to when the foot is squished in a stiletto shoe. Spread the toes and stretch the calf muscles by pulling the toes towards the shins! Exercise your feet like you exercise the rest of your body and you’ll see the benefits. Depending on the level of damage you have already done you will get different results, but benefits and improvements are there for everybody!

 

Another important point to keep in mind is to wear a variety of shoe styles. The more we change the shoes we wear (in general, sneakers included) the better it is for our feet, our legs and our posture! Changing and going from a sky heel to a platform and, why not, sometimes to a kitten heel or flats makes it more fun for us and our feet will thank us!

Closeup photo of woman wearing high heel shoe and ballet flat holding thumbs down and up

I want to leave you with this note from Dr. Rock Positano, director of nonsurgical foot and ankle service at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

“If you are wearing a flat, it may appear to be comfortable, but people will develop other [problems] like plantar fasciitis and Achilles issues … [You’re] really putting stress on the lower leg.” According to him, the optimal heel goes from 1 to 2 inches because it gives better balance and shock absorption, and also the width of the heel is important when we prioritize comfort.

 

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Are you part of that half of women that still wear heels, or have you already hung your heels up on the wall?