A woman’s relationship with heels is often a complicated one. On one hand, to many, comes the feeling of empowerment a chic high heel can provide; as well as the additional height given to the wearer, the legs feel straighter and sleeker and a classy feeling of sophistication can permeate from the knowledge of the timeless sophistication the shoes bring. Conversely, to be frank, the heels are not entirely known for their comfort or practicality ““ bunions and throbbing ankles are an easy result to arrive at with little care and there is also, indeed, the slim chance that the wrong pair of heels can make the wearer appear trashy instead of elegant.
As such, recent seasons have seen fashionistas and designers look at moving away from the design; alternatives have been sought for some time. Last year saw the rise to prominence of the wedge ““ summer time in particularly saw cork varieties of the shoe become almost omnipresent thanks to their endorsement by the likes of Cheryl Cole and Kelly Brook. The wedge, it seemed, was a great compromise sharing some of the benefits of heels (additional height for example) whilst also negating some of the troubles (the spread of weight across the soles make wedges much more comfortable to wear than, say, stiletto heels).
Yet, even this wasn’t far enough for some who, quite rightly, point out that many career minded and on-the-go women need shoes that they actually find possible to navigate in. So, whereas kitten and mid-heels have proven to be a fair alternative to some ladies, others have looked entirely to rule them out in favour of the renaissance for flats spearheaded by the likes of Zooey Deschanel whose approach to style embraces both the practical and the uber-feminine. The belief is that, even if heels are discarded, femininity of style need not be.
Ballerinas and Brogues
The surge in demand for flat shoes has seen a number of styles particularly benefit. The first of which is the classic “ballerina” style ““ they’re hardly the most durable of designs but, when it comes to unparalleled comfort, they are in a league of their own and the polemic opposite to vertiginous high heels favoured by designers such as Christian Louboutin. The second of the most prominent styles for women has seen the re-appropriation of traditionally male associated designs, retargeted towards ladies looking to add a touch of androgynous shtick to their wardrobe: the classic brogue. Taken their cues from Asian designs which have capitalised on androgyny in footwear for some time (and are far ahead of the West with synergistic desigsns included the wedged brogue), these shoes are smart, stylish and perfect for rounding off the Tomboy look!
The final style highlighted here which has managed to put a severe dent in the popularity of high heels is the emergence of sports and sports luxe on the high street. Taking retro cues from American sport stars of the 80s and early 90s, High Top lace ups are currently taking the market by storm and look set to be as popular this season as spiked shoes were for the past year. Taking the exact opposite approach to high heels, the sports luxe vibe is all about street wise edge and comfort takes a real precedence over elegance too. Whilst high heels will never be entirely a thing of the past, it is likely that their share of the market will continue to diminish in the next few years.