From investment bankers to Hollywood actresses, more women say stilettos have lost their cool factor. And it has been a long time coming, as high heels have been common footwear for work and dress since their 1980s return. There are plenty of physical reasons for the backlash. Wearing heels regularly appears to weaken ankle muscles in the long term, and can generally wreak havoc from the foot all the way up to the spine. Research shows that the amount of high heel-related injuries has doubled in a recent ten-year span.
Chic flats have made their way onto the runway and into the office; designer sneakers became a thing and Chanel made a pair to be worn under a wedding dress. And now even Barbie’s feet are shaped to wear flats, for the first time in the doll’s 56-year history.
Many female professionals, who originally wore stilettos to show power and authority, have since abandoned them. It was the ‘dress for the job you want’ mentality, but as soon as they got their dream job, they switched to flats as they found that people cared less about their footwear and more on their effectiveness on the job.
In fact, to some women in their 20s and 30s, wearing high heels is something the bosses do, but they are not following in those footsteps. It seems high heeled footwear has gotten the implication that you are trying way too hard if you are strutting around in six-inch heels all the time. In creative fields, like advertising and publishing, women have always dressed less formally. However, heels are still holding strong in some more conservative fields, like finance and investment banking — although even there, it is not seen as mandatory.
Presently, many women say they have given up wearing heels out of necessity — due to pain or injuries. Mostly, it had to do with their daily commute, which heels are ill equipped for if you need to run to catch the bus or walk long distances. The decision to wear or avoid high heels can also reflect the values of the wearer, like certain flats-wearer who don’t care for the opinions of others, instead prioritizing their own health and comfort of their feet.