Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stilettos -They Can Kill You (Wrinkled Brows)

Stiletto:  a slender dagger with a blade thick in proportion to its breadth, a pointed instrument for piercing holes.

Clearly, from the two definitions above, stilettos were never intended to be worn as footwear.  As body armour, perhaps; as a weapon of self-defense, possibly; but as fashion?  I have heard it said that it must have been a man who invented these instruments of torture; because  you notice you never see a man wearing them.

Actually, this is untrue.  According to Wikipedia (that bastion of intellectual veritude) the inventor was a woman name Kristin Wagner, although there is some disagreement as to the very first maker of these things.

They came to mind today only because we have a guest staying at our house and as I placed an extra blanket on the guest bed, because the nights in the foothills are getting chilly, I could not help but notice a pair of black patent leather stiletto heels sitting by her suitcase.

My knees almost buckled in what must have been the podiatry equivalent of post-traumatic stress syndrome.  How many board rooms did I walk into over the years dressed in high-heels, while all the other attendees, all men, of course, were wearing Florsheim's or Ferragamo loafers?  Certainly something a good deal more comfortable than those loathsome stilettos.

Health-wise they are disastrous.  The very definition of a stiletto heel dictates that at the base of the heel stem where it meets the floor, it should be no wider than one-half an inch!  Really?

If you asked any sane woman whether she might like to just hop up and balance her entire body on the tip of her nose, she would justifiably look at you as if you were deranged. 

And yet, trying to balance your entire body on a half-inch diameter spot under your foot doesn't make a whole lot more sense, if you ask me.  (Of course, now that I come to think of it, no one did.)  I'm just saying.

Every foot doctor will tell you they are bad for your feet, bad for your back,  bad for your posture, .... bad, bad, bad.  I am telling you, women, Manolo Blahnick and Christian Louboutin (you know, the guy who makes all the soles of his shoes bright red) are NOT your friends.

Now don't get me wrong.  I have spent my fair share of filthy lucre on footwear.  At one point in my corporate career I had a different pair of shoes for every suit I owned, and in colors that were the height of fashion.  I like a well-coordinated ensemble as well as the next woman.  Well, I did before I retired.  These days my idea of an "ensemble" is a clean pair of jeans and a polo shirt with a sharp looking pair of Reeboks.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Those awful dagger-heels that will give you bunions the size of cantaloupes, plantar fasciitis, hammer toe, and probably dropsy, too - although admittedly I do not really know what dropsy actually is.

Sensible shoes.  The very phrase makes some women who fancy themselves "fashionistas" shudder at the thought.  Okay.  Fair enough.  It may be true that only lonely librarians and women of a certain age wear sensible shoes.

But I've got a news flash for you.  At least they are not making Dr. Scholl's richer than he already is, by buying corn plasters, toe splints, ointments, callous pumice, etc. by the gross.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from a woman giving a lecture to a bunch of us professional women during a seminar.  She said, "By the way, ladies, whatever else you do or don't do for yourself over the next few years, for goodness sakes, stop wearing those awful high heels and buy some good looking, but comfortable shoes.  Twenty years from now you will hunt me down to thank me."

I took her suggestion to heart and began from that day onward to select more comfortable footwear.  Do you know that stiletto heels are often associated with "foot fetishes"?  Now that cannot be a good thing.  And I am telling you that wearing your soft, fuzzy slippers for an hour or so before bedtime, isn't going to undo the damage to your feet you inflicted upon yourself during eight hours at the office, or wherever you labor.

So do yourself a favor.  The next time you are tempted to blow a wad on instruments of self-torture, stop (or at least hesitate) long enough to ask yourself this:  Will my feet thank me tomorrow?

If the answer is "no" - keep walkin'.  :)

Until next time  - your sensible brogan-wearing compatriot - Marsha

Note:  Wrinkled Brows is an occasional Monday series on a word or quote of interest (perhaps only to me).


  1. Hi Marsha,

    Yes, I walked round city and home with those heels for years, seldom changed into slippers.

    Now, I cannot wear anything over 1 inch high and have to have eee wide fitting too, I do miss my fashionable shoes and heels.

    But it does explain why I suffer from a bad back and a bunion on my right foot, not to mention some arthritis - Oh well, was it worth it, I am not sure. Probably not. When I look at the 4/5 inch heels now, I really don't know how people wear them.

    God Bless - Nita

  2. Oh, I love my heels- I hope I can continue to wear them for a long time to come, but if I can't, I hope to find cute sensible shoes.

  3. At least they are making sensible shoes more attractive now! One benefit to my job as a nurse is that we always get to wear comfortable shoes!

  4. I never understood stilettos. But then, I suppose many a fair maiden has employed them effectively in self defense.

  5. I've never been one to wear heels...(hubby is the same height I am) but have always envied the stylized look of women friends who wear them. Recently I bought two pair...just because. I am getting older and wanted not to pass this life without feeling that feminine thing had passed me by. I went alone to church Sunday and enjoyed wearing them. I may only wear them a few times but have to admit I felt "put together" and sooo girlie. I agree that they are not good for you but an hour here and there before I break my leg falling is FUN...Ha!

  6. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I only wore heels for a short time in my youth. After teaching in P/NG for seven years wearing cool sandals, I found it hard to go back to uncomfortable heels. They are not really suitable for crawling around on the floor with young children. So comfy shoes for me for over 30 years unless going out posh.

  7. I am with you on this but I have to admit I still pick them up and admire how feminine they make a woman look.....oh well they are making some really cute lower ones now.....a season for all things....

  8. I could hardly contain my laughter on this post, Marsha! They're hilariously true! Well, there’s nothing wrong about wearing those charming feet tortures, you just have to limit the time you'd have to wear them, so that you could still have a pair of happy feet. Thanks for sharing!

    Mark Wallace @ Chiropractic Memphis