I identify as a pretty feminine person but one stereotypical girly article of clothing that I hate is heels. I'm not sure who in their right mind would want to walk around on a pair of mini-stilts and you all know what I mean when I say that they are the epitome of sacrificing comfort for beauty. High heels are bad for your back, knees and hips, as heels take these parts of the body out of their proper alignment. According to the University of Texas Science Center, 77 percent of women wear heels for special occasions, just over half wear them to parties and social events, and 31 percent wear them to work. So many of you out there are dealing with the pain of high heels on the daily!
I could go on and on about why wearing heels is awful, but I think the comfort argument is argument enough. I have flat and wide feet which makes wearing and even finding a good pair of heels that fit me a huge challenge. This is why I've always stuck to flats — in fact, the one time I decided to sport a pair of wedges, I broke my toe. Seriously!
Comfort should be a part of your style and you shouldn't have to sacrifice it in order to look good. I find ways to wear flats to every occasion, from weddings to nights out with my girls to parties. I make it work because, unlike what you're led to believe, there are amazingly cute flats available right at your finger tips. I'm going to show you exactly how you can throw your heels aside and sport flats, no matter the occasion or dress code, while still looking chic.
1. Shop Around
If you're not used to shopping for flats for anything other than practicality, use your next day off as an excuse to go to every shoe store in town! Make sure to also go in the afternoon, when your feet are at their largest, which will give you the best indication of fit.
Sometimes finding cute flats require a bit of work, but once you learn what styles look and suit you the best, it becomes easier to find pairs that work for you. Try on as many styles as you can and notice how they feel; obviously the point is comfort, so if you like any that are uncomfortable, don't buy them! You'll be defeating the entire purpose of wearing flats! Many times brands will sell online or at several retail locations, so if this happens to you, take note of the brand and style and go and search online later. You can also ask the staff if they can have a pair in a different size shipped to you from another one of their locations, which they usually do free of charge.
Some of my favorite chains that carry great, affordable flats are Francesca's, DSW, and Famous Footwear. Don't be afraid to shop off season either (like buying sandals in the winter and booties in the summer), since you can often score great deals that way. Get a feel for what your flats' style is and stock up!
2. Store A Pair In Your Bag
This is a trick I've seen recommended in numerous fashion magazines and publications and it's really something to take advantage of! If you're not willing to permanently ditch your stilettos, at least carry a bag that you can fit a pair of comfortable flats in for walking. Especially if you live in a city or somewhere that requires a lot of walking, I would travel to your destinations in your flats and then change into your heels once you get there. This will save your feet from a lot of pain! Also, if you're feet get sore in the midst of a long event, you can have your flats handy and change into them to find some relief.
You can also find flats that fold up compactly so they fit nicely into your bag — that way you don't have to lug around your hobo day and night. Here's a list of some of the best foldable flats out there!
3. Learn The Styles (There Are More Than Just Ballet!)
There are many, many different styles of flat shoes out there besides just ballet ones. I find that stiletto connoisseurs are often unaware of this and think all flats look the same, when that is a total misconception! Some examples of other types include boat, loafers, oxfords, t-bars, gladiators, clogs and espadrilles — just to name a few.
I would recommend doing a little research into the world of shoes and using tools like shoe glossaries, dictionaries and histories, in order to learn about the various kinds of flats out there. Experiment and don't be afraid of trying new styles. The world of flats is very diverse, so don't think that because you're wearing flat shoes they're going to be boring!
Studs, sequins, spikes and steel toes — these are just some of the types of embellishments you can rock on your feet with flats. I find that flat shoes often will have more options for embellishment than heels, since many want to draw attention to their stylish shoes or make a statement without wearing pumps in order to do so. This goes against the "flats are boring" principle that everyone seems to buy into, because I'm telling you it's a lie!
In fact, most of the flats I own have some type of embellishment. I have a pair of black booties with gold studs and a steel toe and heel that I get stopped on the street about at least once a week for, as well as some baby pink loafers with silver studs that always steal the show. Don't be afraid to amp up the amount of embellishment on your shoes when you're wearing flats! Many people don't want others to see that they're not wearing heels when society says you should be (like at a wedding), but it's always better to own your style and not be afraid of showing off how comfortable you are. Which brings me to my last point:
5. Rock Your Flats With Confidence
People always wonder what makes chic individuals so chic, when they often wear the same clothes as the rest of us, and the answer is that they have the confidence of a queen. Doubting yourself is a guaranteed way to look silly or cause others to criticize your appearance, so the last thing you want to do when wearing flats (or anything) is be insecure. Wearing flat shoes actually means you probably have more confidence than the average person, since you aren't afraid of standing out from the crowd and making a fashion statement. In a world full of five-inch Louboutins, rocking a killer pair of flats is a bold move, and I think a smart one. If you've wanted to be a trendsetter or look like the chic women you see in Vogue, then wearing flats is definitely for you.
I hope I've convinced you to start rocking your ballet slippers or oxfords on the daily, since comfort and ease should always come before supposed high fashion. Help me to start a trend and toss your heels aside so you can start living your life in comfort! Trust me, your feet will thank you.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy