In this week's Sold Out column, I found myself in the unexpected position of question the relevance of high heels, wondering if modern women were gradually rejecting the most uncomfortable iterations. Height, mind you, is not going to go anywhere; platforms (hidden or visible) and the popularity of thicker, more supportive heels have made it easy to go to extreme heights with far more comfort than a pinchy, thin-heeled stiletto. Fashion show producer and writer (and Merc contributor) Elizabeth Mollo agreed with the theory, declaring "I wouldn't ever, ever, wear stilettos again. Women are heading to a more functional place, and I think that includes great looking and comfortable footwear that one can actually walk and live in for extended periods of time."
"I do not see pointy high heels being phased out," says Christian, thereby blowing my fantasy out of the water. However, she acknowledged what prompted this topic in the first place, which was the editor in chief of this paper ranting out his scorn of stiletto'd and hobbled women on the Las Vegas Strip after returning from a recent trip. "It is unattractive when a woman is shuffling around in her heels. It is also unattractive when a woman decides to walk with her shoes in hand because they are uncomfortable. I do not think that it is the shoe that is unattractive. A high heel is sexy."
"Stilettos are for runway looks, important people, and sorority girls. That is solely my opinion," counters Dahlgreen. "I have never been a heel person until platforms became popular. I will and can only wear platforms. I think real fashion is being able to dress up a comfortable shoe and still look killer. For example, I saw this blogger and she was wearing a Nike sneaker with a leather tight skirt and an oversized tee shirt. AND SHE LOOKED AMAZING!! That, to me, is what's sexy. And I think many men would agree."
When asked about the variety of alternatives available for a woman today, Christian said, "Women are excited by their shoe options and comfort is something that I find to be on many women's minds when they are looking for a shoe. I have also experienced women who are expecting their shoe to meet all of their life's needs. That is a lot of pressure to put on a shoe! It also stifles one's ability to really enjoy the creativeness of shoes and what they offer to one's personal style." Says Dahlgreen, "There is a time and place for stilettos, but why torture yourself if you can make a Converse, a western style boot, or even a sneaker look just as fashionable? Also, working in a shoe store, I can't even tell you how many times I've heard, 'I love these, I just don't think I could walk in them!'"
Conclusions: "I do not see the end of the stiletto. They are needed in different aspects of our lives such as business formal work environments and holiday parties. A clog worn with a cocktail dress or evening dress doesn't convey the same level of sexuality as a stiletto," says Christian. "Personally I am a big fan of the stiletto. They are a very versatile shoe. The problem with them lies in making sure you have the right fit and that the shoe is well balanced."
As for Dahlgreen: "I don't think stilettos will ever be completely out, but I think they are no longer (were they ever?) considered high fashion.