We never thought we would see the day where the heel has practically become extinct – but lets just say that it’s on the endangered footwear list. Don’t believe us? Next time you’re in the office, look around. Chances are you’ll maybe be able to count the number of women wearing heels on one hand.
Before delving into the rising popularity of flat footwear, let’s rewind back to the 10th century. It is believed that the first heels were actually worn by Persian men while riding horseback, in order to securely fit their feet into the stirrups. However, it wasn’t until the 16th century that the first instance of a woman wearing a heeled shoe was recorded. That first woman was named Catherine de Medici, and she chosen to wear heels on her wedding day in order to appear taller. However, some historians also believe that she wore heels to emulate men in power at the time. From that moment on, the heel has remained a popular footwear option for women – at least until now.
Let’s face it, sometimes the cost benefit analysis of wearing a heel to work daily results in more of a cost to your feet and posture than anything else. While celebrities like Oprah, Kendall Jenner, and Meghan Markle still commonly wear heels, women who work the 40-hour week are turning their backs on the pump. Could it be due to the era of competing step counts and standing desks? Or maybe it’s because Apple recently added the ballet flat to its library of emojis? In any case, many women have now promoted their backup “walking shoe” to a flat that seems to have it all!
When transitioning your daily work shoe to a flat, there are three essential elements that we felt were worth sharing:
- Keep a Little Heel (even if it is just half an inch)
A little heel goes a long way - it can boost your height and your self-esteem in one fell swoop. While it may seem attractive to opt for a completely flat shoe when substituting the stiletto, it is actually suggested that a 1.5 or 2 inch heel may be more beneficial for feet. Unlike the stiletto, shorter heels take pressure off of the toes and back, resulting in less footwear fatigue and cramping.
- Consistency is Not Key
Although we all have that one pair of shoes that we could wear every day for the rest of our lives, wearing the same shoe every day has been known to increase the risk of stress injury in the foot. It is essential to switch up the type of shoe worn daily, since different shoes tend to target different muscles and pressure points in the foot that wouldn’t be used otherwise. By activating different muscles in the foot each time a new shoe is worn, the foot slowly becomes more accustomed to exercising areas that can commonly tense up and cause cramping and injury.
- Dress it up!
Gone are the days where women have to sacrifice style for comfort! Many designers and brands have now released flats that are upscale enough to be worn on the red carpet. Although most of us won’t have the pleasure of frequenting the red carpet in flats, we can bring the same style and sophistication to the workplace. Even though a flat doesn’t provide the added height to our ensemble, a flat can still certainly elevate the look of an entire outfit!
So what are you waiting for? Give yourself (and your feet) a break from those heels - and don't forget to leave a comment below on your experience!
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