Life without High Heels

I have bad feet. It’s just part of this disease. Let me catalog the badness of my feet for you:

  • Both my big toes have joints that are so painful it feels like someone is stabbing an ice pick into them when I flex them. I can’t have shoes that hit across the top of these joints, or that point my feet too much, or that put too much pressure on the balls of my feet.
  • I get numbness and tingling in my toes so severe it keeps me awake at night through my sleep meds (my feet are the number one reason I use painkillers at all).
  • I have plantar fasciitis, which means that the bottoms of my feet swell and hurt, particularly in the morning.
  • I have overly-flexible ankle joints that roll spontaneously, leading to lots of twisted ankles and ungainly trips to the concrete.
  • My toes sometimes spontaneously dislocate and then pop back in, leading to giant purple bruises.

So as you might imagine, I can’t wear high heels. This was not always so. In fact, as a young woman I loved heels, and wore them right up until I was in my late-thirties. Just four years ago, I owned, and routinely wore, five inch heels. But no more.

What’s a girl to do? The media would have you think that it’s impossible to be sexy without high heels. Jessica Simpson wore them until she gave birth, tottering around like a toddler in her mother’s dress-up shoes. Woman spend thousands of dollars a year on heels, nearly worshipping them.

Eh, whatever. I’m over it.

What I decided was that if I couldn’t wear heels, I would wear interesting shoes. So over the past few weeks, I’ve taken photos of nearly every pair of shoes I own, so that I could show you all what it means to have built a collection of colorful, fun shoes, rather than high-heeled ones. The only shoes I own with heels now are my Dansko sandals, which if you look closely, keep your feet nearly flat anyway, and my Ariat cowboy boots, which are nearly flat on the inside as well.

Not pictured here are a couple pairs of flip-flops, my winter Ariat black clogs, and my run-down snow boots. Otherwise, this is my “collection.” Enjoy!


Left to Right: Ariat Cowboy Boots from Renton Western Wear, Via Spiga Cap-Toe Oxfords from Nordstrom’s Rack, Sperry Top-Siders from Ross.


Left to right: Pink Converse One Stars from Target, Yellow Polka-Dot Converse One Stars from Target, Foil Rainbow Star Converse from Fred Meyer


Left to right: Merrill Floral Flats from REI, Orange Espadrilles from Ross, Ralph Lauren Pink Plaid Tennis Shoes from Ross.


(old) Ecco Walking Shoes from the Walking Co., (new) Ecco Walking Shoes from 6pm, Butterfly Twists Folding Ballet Flats.


Left to right: Dansko Embroidered Sandals, Miz Moots Mary Janes, and Dansko Cut-Out Sandals, all from Nordstrom’s Rack.

As you can see, I have a certain “type” of shoe I prefer: cheap. I generally buy my shoes from Nordstrom’s discount shop, The Rack; or from Ross. I rarely pay full price for shoes. This is partially because I’m generally fond of a bargain, and partially because my feet are so picky that shoes have to be minor investments, in case I find I really can’t wear them after all. I’ll often try things on in the store, only to find that after an hour or two, they are unwearable. Ah well. Still, I like all my crazy, fun shoes. It’s fun to hunt them down, and I receive compliments on them all the time. I think I look adorable. So there you go: no heels necessary.

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  1. Hopeful Romantic

     /  June 1, 2012

    Nice collection, and I’m with you. I normally buy my shoes at Payless. I’m still looking for another pair of Airwalks that look like they have paint splatter on them.

  2. accidentpronegirl

     /  June 20, 2012

    I feel your pain! I recently sold all of my stilettos because my ankles were too weak to walk in them anymore! Still hanging on faithfully to my wedge heels though, hypermobility won’t take those away from me (yet!)

  3. Makerley

     /  February 14, 2013

    I was recently diagnosed with this. Your story is helpful, thank you. And I love your shoes!


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