Heels or flats? This is a perennial style question, and a source of contention for many women. Some of us practically live in heels; others can’t stand wearing them. Whether you’re into simple flats or tall stilettos, both types of shoes can complement your outfit– without hurting your feet.
Why Wear Heels?
High heels have entered and receded from fashion trends since World War II, but they’ve always remained a perennial staple. From low kitten heels to six-inch stilettos, there’s a heel for any occasion. Heels are versatile. A high heeled shoe can be sexy or no-nonsense and professional; cute and playful or dangerously femme fatale; great for the office, or appropriate for nightclubs and not much else.
Heels change the angle of the foot to the lower leg, accentuating the muscle tone of your calves. They lengthen the legs, making you look tall and lean. If you’re short, they offer some practical benefits by boosting your height. They’re also alluring and sexually appealing. Even a sensible pair of office-friendly pumps can help you feel sexier in your work clothes.
Heels aren’t without their downsides, of course. They’re not the best for your feet, and if you have lower back pain, heels can exacerbate it. They can also shorten your stride, and naturally, you can’t really run in them. With that said, anyone can walk confidently in heels with some practice.
The comfort level of heels can vary. Some women walk confidently in four-inch stilettos, while others feel unstable and wobbly. If heels bother your feet, consider a low to moderate heel (under three inches). You’ll get the height-boosting, leg-lengthening benefits of heels, without the locomotor issues. Platform heels are another option to provide some extra stability.
The Low-Key Elegance of Flats
Flats are comfortable and easy to wear, making them ideal for casual outfits, or for days when you know you’re going to be on your feet for extended periods of time. Flat shoes don’t have to look frumpy or “sensible,” like something your grandmother would wear. There are all kinds of cute flats out there, ready to complement any outfit. Personally, I’m a fan of ballet flats. They’re comfortable, yet they still have a subtle elegance to them. From simple solid colors, to interesting patterns, to ornamentation like bows and sequins, ballet flats are versatile and super-comfortable.
Flats work well with casual or professional wear. Personally, I wouldn’t wear them with a cocktail dress, but there’s no law saying you can’t. The right pair of flats looks awesome with a casual jeans-and-sweater combo, or a laid-back sundress for summer. Try pairing a pair of ballet flats in a fun metallic or animal print with a matching or coordinated handbag. Casual, yet chic.