Well, let’s just get one thing right on the table: almost every outfit just looks better with high heels. They lengthen your legs, they make for better visual proportions, and they add an element of chic to anything they’re worn with.
Personally, I know some women in their 70s and 80s who still rock stilettoes – good for them! But really, how many of us will still wear anything higher than a 2″ heel, especially as we creep closer to 70? My own feet say, “Nevermore.”
Still, we don’t have to sacrifice fashion for comfort. For some foot conditions, a slight heel is actually preferable. If you have that itchy or aching sensation toward the heel end of your arch it could be a possible sign of plantar fasciitis.
In that case, elevating the heel slightly with a wedge – either one that you apply inside your shoes, such as an insert designed specifically for the purpose, or wearing a shoe with an actual wedge heel – will relieve the pull on your tendon. Kirsten Borrink’s wonderful website devotes entire sections to reviews of cute shoes for whatever ails you, foot-wise.
With all of this in mind, let’s look at some hip, cute and chic alternatives to super high heels that will still add caché to your outfit.
So, let’s start with a wedge. Shoes with a wedge heel come in many styles lately, from booties to sandals to espadrilles and the heights vary greatly as well. They go with almost any kind of outfit, but tend to be more casual than pumps or dressy flats.
Right now, booties are all the rage. They serve a multitude of purposes – not the least of which is keeping your feet warm and dry – and can be worn with everything from dresses, jeans, tunics, pants, you name it. And, they come in flat, wedged and low heeled styles. Plus, they provide a more stable surface for balance.
A lower-heeled pump serves a variety of purposes. They go with almost anything, although it can be a little tame if your outfit is more fashion-forward than strictly classical. If you wear pumps in a skin tone it will lengthen your legs in a very flattering way.
Whether you go for a pointed toe or an almond shape should be determined by your comfort level. For example, my toes are almost all the same length, which means that I end up taking my pointed toe pumps to the shoe repair for stretching on a regular basis. I just like the look of them better on my feet.
Kitten heels are a great alternative for dressier occasions. But keep in mind that, visually, they are more insubstantial than a pump, wedge or sandal. So, you want to make sure the volume of the rest of your outfit – coat, suit, dress – doesn’t overwhelm their delicacy.
They work best with garments that have simple lines such as a sheath dress, straight or slight boot cut trousers and lighter outwear. That means no heavy wool or trench coats with them.
Moving into warmer weather months, mid- to low-heeled sandals are a lovely alternative, and frankly, they’re much more popular now than spiked heels. The shoe manufacturers seem to have gotten the memo from our demographic. And many of them are extremely comfortable.
Then there are the flats – glittery, bejeweled, something with a d’Orsay cut, or simply elegant classic styles can elevate your outfit, even if they don’t elevate your height.
An ankle strap flat can add a little sexiness, but only if you aren’t very short or have short legs, in which case they will truncate you and make your legs look even shorter and chunkier.
So keep those shoes in good condition. The rule goes: if your hair and your shoes look great so do you. Everything in between becomes a winner.
Do you still wear high heels? What kind of shoes do you prefer? Do you have any favorite websites where you shop for shoes? Please share in the comments.