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Awesome post, Jennifer! And those boots are seriously fabulous...

I'd like to report that those pink shoes are my new favorite pair of heels for their brill arch support. I can't hack heels which redirect my weight to the ball of my foot, but these are actually quite comfortable because they don't do that. I wouldn't volunteer to walk 10 miles in 'em, but I also won't worry about my feet getting sore just for a night out, either. :-)

Also, FWIW, I didn't get tons of negative comments about the shoe-blogging this time; by now, most of the Shakers are used to my flights of fancy, I think, lol. The post was was, like most of my "Feminism 101" posts, a sort of feminist homework post -- writing on a topic that comes up a lot, so that other feminist bloggers would have a ready-made resource to which to point when "unseriousness" comes up the next time...and the next time...and the next time...

I just used the shoe post as an example of the sort of thing that tends to draw such complaints. (And I did get one complaint, sure enough!)

Awesome post!!

FWIW, my shoes were Puccis (I mean. How can anyone not like Pucci fabrics??) andn I recognize Shakes's as Pradas. Le sigh....

Glad to see my high-heels equation lives on!

This is yet another post that keeps me coming back to this wondeful blog. I once had too few shoes in my closet. Being a person that abhors clothes shopping, I felt a little guilty telling my loved one that I had to go buy shoes. And not just one pair but about 6 pairs. He and I being of the school: brown, black, neutral, dressy covers all. Well I did some research. I polled every woman I knew to ask how many pairs of shoes did they have. (My count 19) They had to include all: closets of unused, but saved shoes, flip flops, everything. I got results from 42 women. The average number came back at 48 pairs. I think my mother-in-law blew the curve with 234. I went out and bought 4 pairs. That was 4 years ago. I now have 32 pairs and only 4 are unwearable. Tallest heel is 4 inches. My most comfortable are the ankle boots with 2.5 inch heels.

Don't know why I felt the need to post this. Enjoy by responding with your own numbers. Don't cheat.

If you haven't seen Kinky Boots, I recommend it - there are some nice scenes where the engineering and sexiness of spike-heeled boots are discussed.

I've asked the Spousal Unit to order "Kinky Boots" from Netflix, thanks for the recommendation!

I tend to shop for shoes in spurts, when need to replace the ones I've worn out. Otherwise, I fear myself. There's way too many awesome shoes out there. Plus, we don't have much closet space right now, only room for about 14 pairs (two of which are unwearable, but some part of me can't let go of the Kors ballet flats. I keep hoping one day they'll magically fit). Should I ever have my dream closet, I shudder to think of how my shoe collection will grow.

Dr. Shellie had an interesting shoe story last month.

My podiatrist says that, for my feet, an inch-and-a-quarter heel is the way to go. But I'll settle for very nearly anything comfortable, as long as it isn't full of swoops and swatches and aggressive fabric that makes me look like I want to sell dope while playing basketball.

I'd shout out to my fellow Teva wearer here, but doing so would, by association, seriously damage your internet-wide reputation for style. So I won't.

I'll just say that science-blogger boot-blogging* is not a new thing:

* For which, in German, there is probably one well-established capitalized word.

I'm a runway model and spend a lot of time in heels that are anything but sensible. To make matters worse they usually don't fit. So I mostly wear running shoes or flip flops when I'm not working.

With me it is a bit silly. I realize the change in posture, but I'm 190 cm tall in bare feet:-)

I reckon Paul might need to add an extra term to his equation to describe the fantasy heels that some dancers wear. My poledancing shoes have six inch heels, a good two inches higher than I'd normally be able to walk in let alone dance. The secret is that they have a one inch platform sole too, which makes them really comfortable. And what about Antonio Berardi's fashion-forward heelless shoes ( Paul, we need some more equations.

I found your link through the "Bitch PhD" blog. I typically agree with what she writes-- but I have to say that on this issue: She and you are absolutely wrong in the approval to women wearing high-heeled shoes.

A woman wearing high-heels (and by that, I mean, like over 2 inches high) is not comfortable and not healthy. Even in the your 'science' bits in this post, you mention that it is not advised to wear heels for more than 3 hours at a stretch, and that 90% of the foot problems and operations are due to women wearing impractical shoes.

If a woman is choosing being uncomfortable/unhealthy BUT sexy to others, then she is not a true feminist and not living up to her full human potential. She is putting "appraisal from others" above her own health and well-being. In the words of Simone de Beauvoir, a true subject (a true individual human) defines the self through projects, ideas and work (in short, through 'transcendence')-- not by her "object status" in the eyes of other. She writes, "in refusing her role as object, she is defying society"-- but it is only in defying society that it is possible for her to become a true individiual, the author of her own life.

Also from de Beauvoir:
"Social custom furthers this tendency [for women] to identify themselves with their appearance. A man's clothing, like his body, should indicate his transcendence and not attract attention, for him, neither elegance nor good looks call for him to set himself up as an object."

Unlike the commenter above, I would never presume that women needed my "approval" on the issue of whether to wear, or not wear, high heels, or to pass judgment on what constitutes a "true" feminist. That, to me, is a level of arrogance on a par with Men With Explain Things. As far as I'm concerned, feminism is about doing what makes you happy as a woman and a human being, and the freedom to make your own choices about how to live your life, whether it's a career, or whether you like to wear high heels or not. (It's possible to wear heels AND be conscious of your health; you just need to be smart about it.) There are as many kinds of "feminists" as there are women who embrace the label.

Also? Times have changed since Simone de Beauvoir's day. Certain attitudes need to change with those changing times.

Shoes are important, because if your feet aren't comfy, ain't nothin' comfy. I find it amusing that although I am kind of a shoe freak, I can never locate my soul-mate shoe-freak community, because I'm a Chucks wearer, but not a kid or a punk. I search the web (cause the shoe stores ain't gottum) for the best new and wonderful Chucks. I mourn, with the other few who know, the passing of the "real" Chucks, I find the best and decorate them to suit. And I do have a semi-extensive Chucks wardrobe. My latest are a pair of high top "Picante" outfitted with authentic Chucks laces (not easy to find) in bright green, and little chili-pepper beads. I am so proud.

>>Also? Times have changed since Simone de Beauvoir's day. Certain attitudes need to change with those changing times.

I think you are not correct, the younger wave of feminists is having a hard time separating appearance and sex appeal from power and oppression.

Really, lymie? You can speak for the entire "younger wave of feminists"? That's very impressive

What needs to change is the simplistic, dualistic notion of "subject" vs "object", "appearance and sex appeal" vs "power and oppression." Things are never that simple, that black and white. It's time to move forward with the conversation. Figuring out how to navigate that particular landscape is part of growing up, and very much an individual choice.

We need more equations. What about KIDS who wear high heels? What about kids who skate around in heelies? I overheard a conversation in a shoe store (a parent was buying sandals for her toddler) "my toddler cannot wear wedge heels because she waddles when she walks". Clearly there is some value of importance being placed on kids as young as 4-5 years old to wear high heels in America, or else parents like this would not be complaining about the fact that their kids don't have the dexterity to walk in high heels. These shoes are also available in children's shoe departments routinely so it must be of some importance to society. Is a child thought of as a lesser person if she does not know how to walk in heels at a very young age? What do other parents think of children they see walking around with or without high heels, do the parents of those who don't wear heels constantly wish their kids would wear them? What are the reprecussions of children who walk around in high heels constantly, or wear ill fitting shoes in general? Will feet problems in today's generation be exponentially higher than in past generations? It might be a good time to start studying to be a podiatrist....

Jennifer - I totally agree with your comments to the dissenters. It is perfectly fine to dissent, but it is not fine to criticize an individual who chooses to wear heels. I love heels and am more comfortable in them than not. I like the way they make me feel, not at all because of how they make me look to the opposite sex. I enjoy nice things. I enjoy looking "good" in my eyes. My style is not necessarily trendy so I think that emphasizes the fact that I am not dressing to please others. I don't wear heels that are uncomfortable, and I pretty much know immediately if they will be. I have told many friends and coworkers who comment on my constant wearing of heels, that I absolutely would not wear them if I felt that I had to or if they hurt me. It's just my thing. Jenn comes with heels! (I do work out regularly so I stretch my calves and Achilles tendon when exercising).

And just a sidebar - I am really bored with those that feel they must define what a feminist looks like. That is why so many young feminists, in my opinion, do not call themselves such. I thought feminism was alive and well because it means I can be me - whatever that entails

I'm glad to see that you mentioned Insolia High Heel Inserts. They are unique in that they are placed in the heel of the shoe, and hold the weight back at the heel where it belongs. A typical 3 inch heel will have a 75/25 forefoot/heel weight distribution. No amount of padding under the forefoot makes a material difference - the increased pressure is still there. Insolia Inserts can shift the distribution back to 50/50 and that makes all the difference.

What is strange is that we are almost unique in the US Market because we have four sizes. There is incredible pressure to make the product "one size fits all" - which would force us to eliminate the geometry that makes Insolia work - since we are simultaneously lifting the front of the calcaneus "heel bone" while supporting the 2,3,4 metatarsals - and because of that, sizing really matters. I'm putting together a short video that shows a before and after pressure map. You'll be able to find it at (It should be up by 12May08.)

I'm the product engineer for Insolia Inserts - so obviously biased - but a big fan of "getting it right".

Hi there! I took liberties in linking to this fabulous blog entry. Hope you don't mind, shoe and all… :)

You should see patients nearly jump out of the chair when I squeeze the forefoot (like those tight shoes do).
Those neuromas can be quite the electric shock!

X-rays only accentuate the distortions you describe.
I think 300 years hence, high heels will be akin to Chinese foot binding.

please tell me where you bought the Spider boots.
I only saw one place and they didn't have my size.

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