Wednesday, June 24, 2009


That, unfortunately, has never been the case with me. My head has, is, and always will be, over feet which are encased in flat footwear. Not heels.

Once upon a time, long ago, I had tried heels. Drastically high platform heels. Wooden ones making a horse-like racket on the hard cement floor. It had not been a successful stride. In fact, it had not been a stride at all. After a failed falter, heels became another one of those allergy-inducing objects which I could see, but could not use.

And, thereafter, I have always been a Cinderella in rubber slippers. No dainty-toed high-heeled glass slippers for me.

So I know all about the platform, the wedge and the vicious/vertiginous stiletto (the lady-boss of all heels). I even know about the non-threatening kitten heels, which are less than 1.5 inches in height. These innocuous-looking low-heels are treacherous creatures, because they can tempt heel-allergic flat-footers like me. But I am, and sadly will always be, a full-grown tabby cat, and no longer anything like a kitten. And so, even kitten heels trip me up.

Any heel, and my ankle rebels. A self-defeating rebellion, as it ends up getting twisted in the bargain. But I end up all in a tumble. Embarrassing!

Any heel-thy person will diagnose my disease as vertigo. For me, heel-thy is definitely not well-thy. I am scared of heights. Not on a rollercoaster (I love them on an empty stomach). But on my heels. I prefer facing life with my feet planted solidly on the ground.

There are distinct disadvantages. Shoe shops are apparently meant for the well-heeled, as most of the shelves are devoted to the sky-high variety of shoes. Whenever I enter a shoe-shop and say, "Flat sandals only, please", I am directed to some obscure corner where a shelf and a half displays the frumpiest of designs in the most boring of colours.

Even when flat shoes are 'in', like they were 'last season' with ballerina-flats, this is usually a passing fad, and women soon abandon their firm-on-the-ground-walk for a balancing-totter. Even the once-flat Kolhapuri chappals have turned traitor and sprouted heels.

I can be the darling of feminists (who rage against the tyranny of heels and the consequent commoditisation of body-image) and the podiarists (who rage against the foot and tendon problems caused by heels). But that is a limited appeal.

Alas, I can never be a Posh Spice, who apparently even goes gymming in stilettoes (I hardly ever go gymming, so I do not wear stilettoes). All heel-addicts will rave about the sex-appeal of heels. How a shoe has to have a 'defined heel' to be in the 'sexy shoe' category. How heels transform us into objects of lust and desirability (check out any heel-vocabulary: 'stripper shoes' have 3" platform heels, 'hooker heels' are at least 3-4",'slut shoes' have 5-5 3/4 " heel...). My head is reeling after all those vertical stats.

To come back to the issue of sex-symbols and heels, I had once read that the legendary Greta Garbo (the reclusive and unattainable silent-era Hollywood beauty) always used to wear a pair of flat and comfy men's bedroom slippers (size 10 or thereabouts) under the long, trailing, lovely ballgowns she wore while filming.

That settled the matter for me. I chose the classic Greta Garbo over the upstart Posh Spice. And I'll stick to my slides and mules and unsexy-but-safe flat Dr Scholl's-type foowear. And my lovely red mojris from Mochi's, which make me feel like royalty. Even when I am not on a pedestal.


Nona said...

A whole lotta shoes! My head is also reeling after reading that link about various shoe types!

I didn't know there was a health issues associated with heel-thy.

Nice post. :)

Suko said...

Clever post! :)

SGD said...

Never the high-heels person (whenever i was on moderate heels during the late teens & twenties, my ankle would turn 45 deg...emabrrasing to say the least!!), but now it's ONLY Dr Scholls for me (in blacks & beige)...*sigh*
But you make me feel better after the Greta Garbo example....!!!

Ankit said...


All I can say...Thank God for a lot of things.

Ugich Konitari said...


From one antiheely to another: I am just back from a trip to Linking Rd. Great flat footwear currently available there in all kinds of style, kolhapuri (gold and silver and colours) for say, wedding wear (other people's), interesting minimalistic sandals which no one will steal outside temples, and really many designs in flat footwear like peep toed shoes (currently my daughters favourite) ... etc. Good prices too. RUSH.......

Priya said... another anti-heel girl...if i try heels in shops...just to get a feel as to how it feels wearing a life becomes a hell for the next two days with a bad infact worst "back-ache" time when you are here in kolkata....visit "Metro-Plaza" once...that is a heaven for all flat-sandal lovers. amazing and stylish and not at all "bland" color flat sandals in every shape and size and price so low that you can buy 7 at a time if compared to the flats that the branded store offers..

sujata said...

Heels are a complete no-no for me as well, It was embarrassing to say the least, the first time I tried them on and that too with a saree, immediatly after my marriage, Since then after a badly hurt ankle, a torn saree and a permanently damaged pride..i stick to my liberty sandals that are so soft and so sturdy!!

magiceye said...

shoe shoe...

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I know, I know, heels are a gal-thing...except for shorties like Salman and Aamir Khan.


Nothing like celebrity endorsement to boost our fragile egos (and ankles), right?

How typically MALE non-committal response to such a make-or-break issue!

@Suranga and Priya,
Thanks for the helpful advice. If I can't get high on heels, your hints well help me to be 'high' on shopping!

Liberty has me on its mailing list, too!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@magic eye,

Pradip Biswas said...

I was in an orthpedic ward for one month after an accident. There were cases of ankle injury, sprains, ligament fracture etc and the doctor one of the best surgeon who cured an impossible case of mine through two surgery used to come heavily on high heels. According to him it is very much injurious for a sustained use and walking more than 500 meters at one go.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@ Pradipda,
I am a podiarist's darling!

Swaram said...

Oops! R there really so many types? I wear heels but was nt aware there were so many of them!

ZiLliOnBiG said...

high heels look good with saree or salvaar. My wife is a high heel addict....But prefers a platform shoes when not in Indian Attire. Nice post:))

Pinku said...


Poor you girl....

heels are lovely...whatever u say and whatever my ankles may say.

prithvi said...

At my age I would say too girly a thing too comment on. But on write up I can say the facts have been very well presented. The irony of posh Victoria’s heels to Greta Garbo’s flat sandals has been well presented. Well written........

Vivek Patwardhan said...

My wife does not wear heels either. One lady advised her that those persons who wish to wish to be seen taller than they are should stand with feet very close. And persons who are very tall like 5ft9in in case of ladies, should stand with their feet a little apart like a sailor.

Actually this works and creates good illusion of height.

You may like to try this as it is safe! :)


Vasant Prabhu said...

I am 'Head over Heels' on this one ...literally! whatever reaction the subject evokes, it remains an enigma.Thanks planet Venus for the musing,

Double-Dolphin said...

Heel the world...

PURN!MA said...

my dream is to sashay arnd in stilts. I dream of them everyday. But given the prize of the heels themselves and my priceless ankles; I stick to 1 inch heels. and yes, for flats try the Osho chappals. :)

Anonymous said...

I am a flat footer too :D
and SO NOT a heels person..
and yet I persist for some strange reason...(someone cure me!)

5'6 and yet I want to wear heelsALL the time..even though my fet are killing me by the end of the day..

number of times heels have ben wron?

umm let me see...6! :D:D

I LOVE kolhapuris, ballerine flats and everything related! :))))
gimme my flats any day instead of the heels(which are currently gathering dust in some scorner of the house)

loved the post:))
it said all that I would have said on the topic except that you said it much better than I ever could:)))

Anonymous said...

I face the same problem when I go shopping for sandals...only a rack or two with flat ones...But atleast it takes less time to make a choice. :-)

I got into the habit of flat ones due to my mom. She used to say "if you wore heels, people will think you are extremely tall and you won't get many marriage proposals" Imagine!!!!!!!!! The effect of shoes on a girl's life.....Heights na??

I had to give into her order, cause I tried heels once at the store, and managed to sprain my ankle then and there....Can you imagine the embarrassment?????

Koel said...

Same pinch!!! I did try heels but always ended up with bruised feet and sometimes also twisted ankles!!! And then after a foot injury with torn tendons which grounded me for 3 weeks some 3 years back - even doc advised against heels :-( So I was left feeling sorry for myself every time I looked at shelves full of trendy heels, but accepted this gracefully as I have done many of my other flaws....But this year, I have managed to find myself some very colourful trendy flats - do cash on it till the "trend" of flats is on!!!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I just googled and got the facts. Amazing!

@Zillionbig and Pinku,
Lots of heel-addicts out there!

As you are all of 19, you cansafely leave heels to your female classmates!

That's an interesting if statue-like suggestion.

@vasant and double-D,
Heels are a 'venus' thing for sure! But check out the Khans.

@Purnima, and Indyeah, and Jyothi, and Koel,

May the flat-footers tribe increase.

Aparna said...

Went to Italy this summer and was amazed to see these European women balance on sky-scrapers. They walk on those cobbled paths, pushing a pram or carrying shopping bags. Simply amazing.
I love shoes,and would love to wear heels but my gait becomes a choreographer's nightmare. So have given up. Currently wearing osho slippers. They are great.

Sumandebray said...

very interestingly expressed!
But why look at shoes and heel in isolation. Doesn't everything complement each another to create the image that is YOU.... the body structure one has..the color that suits the skin tone, the dress you wear and off course your foot wear..
.... that is how I see things .. but others might agree to disagree with my opnion!

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

I used to hate wearing heels coz I'm 5 ft 6 in and I towered over everyone (even the boys!) anyway! Now, since I well out of all that teenage awkward phase, I enjoy wearing heels though I am very wary of stilletos!! Wearing a nice pair today, as a matter-of-fact and feeling at the 'top of the world'!!

Still, as you say, flats is the sensible option!

Ranu said...

I love heels!!! I can wear upto 4 inches. I cant wear flats, I wobble in them. My foot has a huge arch and a narrow heel because of which I cant wear flats even in sneakers I am on my toes most of the time!!!

After breaking both my feet I am not on rubber chappals!!! but still on my toes on an imaginary heel.

BTW I broke my ankle wearing sneakers not heels !!!

Swaram said...

Hey .. I hv tagged u. See if it interests u :)

Sucharita Sarkar said...

@ Aparna,
I have long admired the style-quotient of Italian/French mums-in-heels.

U r right, the total package is what counts, but with heels, my total package is in danger of toppling over.

@Roshni, Ranu,
Sigh...envy you.

Thanks for the tag.

Suko said...

I know this is forward of me, but I'd like to invite the author and readers of this blog who enjoy books to visit my blog about books, Suko's Notebook.

Suko said...

(P.S. Sucharita, I know you've already visited. I hope you'll come back again.)

Lilly said...

Excellent post. You are such a great writer. Oh I wear heels on the odd occasion but do like my flats now. As I am also tall I never liked wearing too high a heel. My daughter on the other hand is small so she wears the 5 inch heels all the time. She is a shoeaholic. And does have beautiful shoes I have to say. I hope her back holds out though. As for Posh she leaves me cold.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I'll definitely visit again. And it would be great if more people read books and book-blogs.

@ Lilly,
My height is strictly 'medium' (in your country it would be 'short'), but heels were nevr an option because ankles never co-operated.

And the very thought of 5-inch heels make me tizzy! But the most luscious-looking shoes are always the heels.