A Wobbling Thought on Shoes


As I was crossing Fifth Avenue the other day, I found myself behind a very tall and well-dressed woman who took her strides in chic stilettos. Each time a foot hit the pavement, the leg wobbled before gaining its firm grip; and so did she strut westward: heel to the pavement, wobble, steady; next heel down, wobble, steady, and so on. Fortunately, she was young and quite fit; indeed, her calf muscles looked like prize-winning eggplants. Enter the laws of physics: the heels and soles of those shoes were undoubtedly manufactured to uniform specifications for both short women and tall ones. Assuming you are (as this lady was) over six feet tall, even if you are thin (as she was), you are putting a lot more weight on those heels and offering them a much higher center of gravity on which to balance the whole of you than would a similarly proportioned woman one foot shorter than you. Although I had to admire the lady’s determination to wear what she liked, I had to wonder if there was perhaps a fashionable alternative—Salvatore Ferragamo pumps or Tory Burch ballet flats—that would prevent every stride from looking as if it were an invitation to a trip and fall scenario. Or is it that we men, bound as we are to heels that look like horses’ hooves, cannot fully appreciate what woman are prepared to go through with their shoes and why they choose to do it?

Credit:  Alan Behr