Heels or Flats?

Do you remember your first pair of high heels and what a big deal it was that you got to wear them? Compared to the high heels worn today, they were tame and not exciting by any means. The heel was maybe two inches and there was no platform, just a regular leather sole.   Still, it was a learning curve to walk in them without looking like your ankles were wobbling all over. Babies learned to walk more surefooted that my first attempt in heels. Scrubbing the soles of new heels with sandpaper to rough them up gave some degree of safety on slick floors and a fighting chance to stay upright. Yes, I loved wearing heels. When you’re five feet nothing, you need all the help you can get. So I pretty much lived in heels through high school and for years after.

I well remember a visit to the mall with my little girl, ironically to get her new shoes. When the clerk told her to walk to the door and back, well, she walked to the door fine, looked over her shoulder and took off running. And there I went after her in my suit and heels, chasing her around the usual mall-walkers and into the store across the walkway. When we returned, me panting and red-faced, her quite happy that she had new shoes on, the clerk’s only remark was that they seemed to fit her well.

Then the Candies era of heels became popular. Remember those? In some ways, they were a prerequisite to today’s platform heels. I could not walk in those. I bought one pair and wore them to church with really no practice run. Big mistake! That was the only time I walked into church in shoes and out carrying them. I think I gave them away to a friend at work the next day.

My love of high heels was waning. I’d worn them so long that it was painful to walk in any other type of shoe. I had to start wearing flats more often to stretch out the tendons and reduce the pain level.

Honestly, I don’t think I could navigate in the platform heels of today. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a particularly graceful person. Frankly, I can trip over nothing (and have, more than once). My more spectacular claim to fame in this area was the day the tip of my shoe got caught on the edge of a sign waiting to be hung in the office. It got caught just enough to send me sprawling on the floor. Not the way to end a meeting by the way, tripping while exiting an office.

Flat shoes suddenly seemed to be much more stylish for some reason. Maybe because I’d finally given up on wearing heels. My posture seems better since I’m now in flats all the time and more conscious of standing straighter. Granted it’s sometimes hard to reach the top shelf in the grocery store; of course, the healthy stuff is always up there out of the line of sight. However, I am undeterred. I’ve been known to stand on the bottom shelf to reach what I need (to the embarrassment of family members – you know who you are). Or, I just ask someone taller to help out and get what I can’t reach. People are happy to help.

So, I have embraced wearing flats. Some practical, but more fun – like my pink and blue striped pair, the pink with little hearts all over, madras, metallic, paisley. They’re fun to wear and they don’t hurt at the end of the day.

That’s my heels to flats story. One extreme to the other. As Forrest Gump explained, “Momma always said there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going; where they’ve been.”


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