Tuesday, April 30, 2013

High / Low: Shoes

Go high end for heels, and low end for flats.

Deciding what to splurge on and what to save money on in any given area is tough. When it comes to everyday shoes, I recommend going expensive with the high heels, and cheap with the flats.

Being a New Yorker, I walk an awful lot. It’s a forth of a mile to the nearest subway, and that’s before I’ve even gotten on a train to wherever I’m headed. Since high heels are not exactly comfortable, it’s best to wear pairs that are better made. They should also be made of leather, not synthetics. The leather allows one's feet to breathe, as well as move and stretch with her feet.

Blahnik Shoes
Photographs by Olga Hoffman/PR image
Something to look for is a shoe heel that sits directly below one's heel when she stands. Notice how these Manolo Blahnik shoes have heels that curve under slightly? That’s so that when one stands, her weight will be supported as much by her heels as possible.

J. Crew
Ava Metallic Trim Pumps

J. Crew, like many other manufacturers, makes a pair that is not as expensive as Manolo Blahnik, but uses the same idea. I have a pair of Ava style shoes from J. Crew, and while I do not find many of their shoes to fit my feet well, this style does support my heels well.
J. Crew
Everly Satin Pumps

As you can see from this picture, some heels are not placed in the best spot to support one's weight. I would caution against this type of heel.

Flats, on the other hand, can be purchased for cheap. Ballet flats in particular get ripped up much faster than heels do, so they are not as much of an investment piece as a good pair of heels. There are also many more decent options in the cheap department for flats than for heels, so there is a much better chance of finding something that works for one’s feet.
Blinker in Nude

The biggest reason to go cheap with flats is that the difference between cheap and expensive flats isn’t as huge as the difference between cheap and expensive heels. When it comes to flats, if the material doesn’t breathe or flex with one’s foot, it’s not as painful as when a heel doesn’t move. I also find that many, many pairs of expensive flats have no more support than cheap pairs do, so the higher cost is only going to how the shoe looks, not how the shoe feels. And whether one’s flats are expensive or cheap, if they need more support, there are many more useful drugstore options for correcting whatever ails feet in flats. I usually buy up a half size in flats so that I can add a thick and comfortable insert with the arch support I need -- an option for correcting the support which would be visible in most heels, but is not visible in most flats.

Manolo Blahnik Current Shoes $595 - $1,885
J. Crew Ava Metallic Trim Pumps $275
J. Crew Everly Satin Pumps $265
Restricted Blinker in Nude $45


  1. I agree with your thoughts on heels. I never knew that my best heels were supported by the position of the heel to the shoe. I just thought the Italian ones-still made on separate right and left shoe forms-were comfortable for that reason alone. Thanks!

  2. Anon 6:55-
    Yes! Shoes made on separate forms make a huge difference. Thanks for pointing that out!


"There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut