Will you join the Flat Shoe Society?

posted in: Style advice | 9

It always catches my eye when I see a high-heeled woman in the street, as she is invariably  having trouble walking. And I take pity on the girls at work who can’t afford a mortgage, but have a few pairs of Louboutins (at around £400 a pair) knocking around under the desk.

Silver, red soled High heeled Louboutin shoes with studs
Christian Louboutin Shoes

Here is the truth: The world could not continue, work would not be done, children would not get to school, and public transport would cease if women habitually wore high heels.

Look at any photograph of a catwalk show, or a red carpet event, or a posh opening party and the models and celebrities wear nothing else. Open a woman’s magazine and high heels will be the norm. As we soak up  fashion “advice” we get the subliminal message that high heels go with everything. We are told that women look “elegant” and “leggy” in high heels. And a similar  school of thought suggests that  heels make us “powerful” as we can see eye to eye with men. We are shown platforms, “sky-high” heels, spindly stilettos, strappy Jimmy Choos, shoes with jewels or spikes or made out outlandish fabrics and we are asked to join the fetish.  High heels had their very own TV programme and ever more ghastly, vacuous films called “Sex in the City”. The breathy worship of inanimate objects – those shoes that are “to die for”, worth eating beans on toast for a month because they cost about £500, or more. But of course these actresses wear slip ons, trainers or lace ups most of the time – the heels are just an image thing. Let’s start being honest about this.

Model N Campbell falls over due to wearing high heels
Naomi Campbell wearing VW shoes, falls over

I know I am shorter than a lot of men. I accept my legs are of an ordinary length. I understand that higher heels actually create a flattering lengthening, and once in a while I wear them, but you know what? Stop gushing. High heels are actually footwear designed by the devil himself.  Worn frequently they can permanently damage your back, knees, calves, toes and heels. And models, who are in fact trained to walk in them , frequently fall over. Walking awkwardly in them looks far worse than wearing a nice pair of loafers. Don’t be a victim.

Dr Scholls high heel insoles
Various products to ease the pain of high heels

In response to high heel hell I have formed the Flat Shoe Society.

I invite you to make the pledge with me today:

  • I will not wear clothes that hurt me
  • I will not buy bits and  pieces to wear in my shoes to mitigate the pain
  • I won’t voluntarily deform my feet
  • I will walk at a reasonable pace
  • I am prepared to  run in an emergency or if I am attacked
  • If I need to be dominant or powerful I will rely on my brain not my appearance
  • I will not waste any more money on useless clothes
  • I will wear flat shoes with pride and style
Dr Scholl high heel inserts
Flat shoes can be varied, attractive, colourful and stylish.


Commit to wearing flat shoes!


Encourage and admire women who wear brogues, pumps, flat winter boots, summer sandals, and stylish sports shoes!

Fashion Designers, Editors, Educators, Journalists, Stylists, Film stars!

End the conspiracy. Design, make, sell, feature and promote beautiful, comfortable Flat Shoes!


9 Responses

  1. ab


    I am in two minds in this topic.

    Until I was in my 20’s I only ever wore flat shoes. Logic told me this was best for my feet plus I couldn’t walk in heels!

    Then I had orthopaedic surgery and was advised by my surgeon that from then on, I absolutely should not wear flat shoes all the time. His advice was to vary the heights of my shoe heels and avoid wearing the same shoes two days running, if possible. As I wear flats during the weekends when I do most of my running around, I use my working week to wear heels as it’s more comfortable to wear them for a meeting than a supermarket run.

    All heels, like all flats, are not equal. Good quality, well fitting, properly designed (for the feet, as well as aesthetically) heels can be easy to wear and comfortable. Good heels are designed with the spine alignment etc in mind; bad shoes are not.

    I agree with the sentiment, if it’s coming from a comfort point of view. We should wear what makes us feel good and what is comfortable. Suffering (short term or long term) for the sake of style is unnecessary.

    • Arlene

      Yes, I agree. If the shoes are wide enough and not pointy, the heel, in and of itself, is not necessarily creating discomfort. I walk really fast and often walk faster in heels than my friends wearing flats. But I also love flats, especially flip flops. But my ortho said the same thing about flats not having an arch for support. I do think we should wear what is comfortable, whether it is a heel or a flat. I have gotten rid of all my uncomfortable heels. Summer is a good time for heels because many sandals are comfortable due to their being open and not squishing your toes. If you aren’t comfortable and you can’t walk, what is the point?! Do what works!

  2. foamofdays

    I certainly will! I have to walk a lot during a day, and I wouldn’t have survived in high heels.. For formal occasions I wear wedges. I found out recently that I even can run for quite a time in my wedges.. I had to run not because of being attacked – I was just late 🙂

  3. Manuela Fridrich

    I love wearing heels, but sensible ones, with a little (less than half an inch) platform for cushioning. My favourite shoes have something like a 2 or 2,5″ heel and a little platform.

  4. Stephanie

    Your blog is such a treasure trove of interesting pieces! I’m catching up. I wear low heels or flats or loafers and almost never high heels anymore. I’ve noticed that, against expectations, Italian women in Florence often wear flats. This might in part be because the streets are difficult to navigate in heels, but they also adapt their outfits to suit flats. My boyfriend, also surprisingly, is always trying to get me to buy sneaker-type walking shoes for everyday wear.

  5. jenn

    Oh I am IN! As an eighties gal, the highest heels were about 2.5cm back then, either a kitten heel or stiletto, but loafers and flat courts were my preferred form of shanks pony equipment. I still wear flats today, but am a convert to Mary Janes and own several pairs that go from flat to 2cm heels. Having said that, my daughter who is very tall quite likes a 5cm block heel and she looks fabulous and stable in them 🙂

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