I Was Raised in a House of Heels


I was raised in a house of heels. And now I’m done with them.

High heels were a family thing. Dad bought them. Mom wore them. And I adored them. Many came from Frederick’s of Hollywood, a catalog company carrying sizes large enough to fit mom’s feet, with a selection not available at our local shops.

They were usually stiletto’s, tall and sparkly, with a heel strong enough to be used as a weapon. For me, they were real versions of Barbie’s peep-toe mule sandals. When mom and dad were going out for a night of dinner and dancing, these are the shoes mom would wear to finish her outfit.

I loved watching her get dressed up. I loved watching her glow as she slipped on the magical shoes to complete her outfit.

She’d come down the stairs and swirl before dad. Her full skirt would rise, revealing a bit more of her long legs, their curve enhanced by the heels. Dad, watching appreciatively, would emit a low whistle.  Mom beamed.

For an evening out, most of the other mother’s also wore heels.  Not as well as my mom rocked hers, but heels were the style.

When it was time for me to attend my own dress-up parties, I embraced heels. I felt sexy in them. I accepted them as part of dressing as a grown up.

Sometimes heels came with problems: a heel stuck in a city grate; an ankle nearly twisted because of limited support; general discomfort from walking on your toes. But those problems seemed like a small price to pay to look good. And the heels were pretty; they were always pretty.

So when going out, especially in a dress to something fancy, I wore sexy, high-heels. At work, in a business office, I wore practical, low-heels. When I took up social dancing in my 40’s, I bought shoes with heels. All different heights, but still heels.

Then, seven years ago I went to work for myself. A lot of the time I operated solo in my office, where comfort was queen. I lived largely in flat shoes or comfy slippers. On the occasion I needed to see clients, I’d pull out my old office shoes. They fit, but whatever comfort I used to believe they had was gone. I’d kick them off as soon as I could.

Little-by-little, my heel-wearing declined. I gave a few pairs away. I bought some new ones, but much lower, with a solid base, ensuring greater stability while still allowing me to dress up a few outfits.

I still wanted to wear pretty, high-heels. Even while part of me recognized their impracticality and built-in discomfort.

But one day, the price got too steep.

It was a Christmas party. I brought my heels into the party before putting them on. I ate, danced, and socialized all night in them, slipping them off before heading back to the car. It had been fun. My feet ached, but no injuries.

Until two days later, when my back went out, like a twig-cracking. I buckled, and collapsed to the floor.

I couldn’t help but connect the shoes to my back. I had already grown suspicious that heels weren’t working for me anymore. This felt like confirmation. I found myself wondering, have I hit that ‘no high heels’ stage of life? I used to wonder why older women wore flats so much. I think I’m starting to understand.

I held this no high heels possibility lightly. I observed friends older than me still tripping the light fantastic in heels. My back recovered. Maybe I’m not done yet, I thought.  Giving them up felt like another admission I’m getting older, an admission I resisted making.

The next party came, and I slipped some heels on, walking around the house for a test run. It took just a few steps before I felt my back stiletto me a warning. I changed into flats.

I may have been raised with a character that strongly identified heels with beauty; but life is suggesting it might be time to retire that character.


Photo source: rmac8oppo on Pixabay


17 thoughts on “I Was Raised in a House of Heels

    1. Love the mantra. I’m in on embracing the flattie. Whatever remaining heels are still hanging out in my closet, will be getting passed on to women who still want to wear them. And blessings on their kneews. And feet. And hips. And backs!!

      Thanks for your comment. Given your avatar, I somehow pictured you in knee-high stilettos! lol

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I gave up on heels long before old age and think that you’re not getting older, you’re getting wiser. It was a bittersweet moment to let the heels go, but I like being able to walk without pain. As the commenter above said: embrace the flattie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on walking without pain. I really was trying to hold on to the possibility of wearing them, even after that last back-throw-out. But that next road-test in the house said, nope! Don’t go there! I pretty much just gaze at the shoes. But getting closer to sending them all to new homes! Thanks for your post!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The dancing and parties have slowed down, but my circle of friends largely consists of folks I’ve met social dancing over the years. It’s been a gift I feel fortunate to have received.

      Enjoy your flat shoes! I probably should’ve quit heels sooner, but I had definitely drifted into a very “infrequent” zone of wearing them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bobbi Taylor

    Really enjoyed this one! Gave up mine when I had the plate put in my right big toe and found it would no longer bend that way. Miss ‘em, but am all about comfort in everything now. And, getting ready to hit a birthday…ugh.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. You mentioned a birthday. Right near Mother’s Day, if I recall?

      I can see how a plate in one’s toe might impact shoe choices! I’m with you on comfort.


  3. I can’t even imagine putting on heels again. Comfort is a much higher priority than fashion at this stage of my life. My podiatrist once told me that when she sees young women wearing shoes with high heels and/or pointy toes, she knows they’ll be patients of hers or her colleagues in a few years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting how many of us “seasoned” women have realized how important comfort is, even though we set it aside at some earlier point in our lives. It’s hard not to look at the heels my mom wore (and me, too, to some extent) and see them as anything other than uncomfortable. Then again, advertising messages are a powerful force.

      I can only imagine a podiatrist seeing those shoes; the lens they’re looking through. I appreciate hearing that; thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Mom in Heels – Walk the Goats

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