Emma Thompson at the Golden Globes proves I’m not the only chica to start out in some fierce heels only to regret them when it’s too late to change! She even said they were “stained with her blood”! Emma will you be my bestie?
Pride goeth before the fall – and never is that more true than when it comes to wearing high heels. For years I’ve prided myself on my ability to walk well in heels. I’d giggle when the new girls on America’s Next Top Model would admit they’d never worn heels and then would totter around like Bambi on ice. (Did I just admit to watching that show? Yes, yes I did. I love Bambi.) Also, I have this weird complex where I think I’m taller than I really am so add that to my love of pretty sparkly things and you’ll see how I have ended up with a very large collection of very high heels.
I divide my heels into two basic types: walking heels (usually wedges and platforms) and sitting heels (usually stilettos). The former I can wear almost anywhere with confidence but the latter often require an elaborate system of band-aids, gel inserts and the odd piggyback ride to go any farther than a block. The trouble started when I decided to wear a pair of sitting heels to church – where I teach an adult gospel study class and have to stand and walk around for an hour. Normally I wouldn’t do that to myself but I had the cutest 40’s emerald green dress and my only green heels are these:
Yeah those are VELVET with SILVER STARS. Silver stars of pain and dismemberment.
So I ignored the irony of hobbling myself in the name of vanity while teaching about the magnificent creations that our bodies are and proceeded. Cognitive dissonance is my jam. But as I taught, I started to get distracted by the pain in my feet. I tried shifting back and forth which unfortunately closely resembles the pee-pee dance. I did the flamingo pose with one leg up. I tried squinching my toes up but that made them go all numb, which made me think of that new Heel No Pain foot spray to numb your feet so you can be more comfortable in your shoes because clearly the solution to painful shoes is to numb your feet nerves rather than make more comfortable shoes and sweet mercy what does this have anything to do with the Bible? Focus Charlotte! To heck with apples, the serpent should have offered Eve a Louboutin.
The only thing I didn’t try was that breakdancing move where you spin on your head and that was only because I was in a skirt. I made it through the lesson and we even had an excellent discussion about mindfulness, one of my fave topics these days. But the second it was done, I sprinted for my chair and ripped my shoes off – much to my friends’ delight. “They murdered my feet!” I gasped as I tried to get feeling back into my big toe. (See? Who needs numbing spray? If you stand long enough your feet will go numb all on their own!)
I think I may have finally crossed that (sensible) bridge, you guys: I may have reached that age where I value function over fashion.
As I mulled over my decision, an older woman leaned over and patted my leg, “Be careful with those or you’ll give yourself bunions and then you’ll never get to wear cute shoes again!”
To be sure, I’ve always limited my time in my insane shoes. I save them for special occasions or church and at home I wear socks or bare feet exclusively. Running errands or bopping up to the school (to have another throwdown with the administration over my appropriately active little boy) is always done in flat boots or Converses. But seriously, bunions? Me?? I’m not even really sure what they are other than that they’re in that category of weird stuff the elderly complain about along with gout and bursitis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Bunions are an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe.” They add that the cause is mainly from wearing shoes that are too tight in the toe box although I’d guess that the downward pressure of high heels doesn’t help either. Even worse, 90% of sufferers are women.
But nothing explains it like a picture:
You know what you don’t want to do on a random Sunday afternoon? Google pictures of bunions because that is an internet hole you will not come out of! For the love of little green apples, what am I even looking at here? How is this possible??
Okay, sorry. That was unnecessarily extreme. (But so interesting, right?) This is a better picture:
Also, did you know you can get a little bunion – adorably called a bunionette – on the outside of your pinkie toe joint?
For the record, neither of those are my feet. From what I can tell, I don’t have any bunions. Yet. So is there any way to prevent getting them? The Mayo Clinic says that some bunions are genetic or the result of arthritis, neither of which you have much control over. But, the bunions that come from wearing ill-fitting or too-high shoes? Those can be mitigated. First by quitting the heels (sigh) but you can also use a toe separator (and here I thought those were just for pedis!) as well as some preventative exercises (one of them is actually long walks on the beach). This is important because it seems like once you have them you’re left with dealing with them and hoping they don’t get worse or having surgery to remove them. Yikes.
In the meantime I’ve got some A-list backup as it’s being reported that fashion moguls Alexa Chung and Kate Moss are “trying to bring back the flat.” Lest you think super models care about your foot function, the article clarifies that it’s because they look better with the trendy matchstick and skinny jeans. Either way, bring on the flats! Although I will say that I find most ballet flats extremely uncomfortable. The only kind I’ve ever liked are the Keen “ballet” flats but those have a toe box so big (and sooo comfy!) that my family calls them my duck shoes. I guess my toes just wanna be freeeee! Bring back the bare feet! (But not for running! Because that did not go well for me!)
In the end, I don’t think I’m ready to give up all my heels for good. I’ll still wear them for fun but I will think long and hard before wearing any of my “sitting heels” out again, no matter how cute they are!
What’s your go-to shoe for every day? What about for when you want to dress up? Any of you deal with bunions? Any advice?