The Trouble With Heels

I’ve had an on-off relationship with shoes.

There used to be a time when I had only two pairs. One black, that went with everything in winter. One ivory, that saw me through each summer. Then, when I was working and fleetingly flush with cash, an inner Imelda burst forth. I had shoes to match every outfit and a couple of pairs that didn’t match anything, but perhaps one day would.

For a particularly spectacular corporate event I purchased a pair of Jimmy Choos. Let’s be clear. They were almost half price in the Harvey Nicks sale. But even so, still more than double the cost of any pair of shoes bought either before or since.

The trouble is, I’ve always been hard on heels. There are ladies who can wear flimsy strappy little numbers with elegance and finesse. And then there’s me. The event was held out of doors, at a temporary hospitality unit with a decked terrace out front. The Jimmys didn’t even make it to the door. A heel found its way down a crack between the decking and the leather covering was wrecked. I spent the rest of the event on tiptoe between the cracks, but to prove it wasn’t a fluke, managed to get the other heel too.

As we were climbing the 84 steps the other day, I drew some criticism on the state of a pair of rather ordinary black ankle boots and realised that I’ve come full circle again. I wear them everywhere and with mostly everything and I suppose they really ought to be replaced. But if you climb a rain sodden hill every day, hopping over mud and fast flowing rivulets just to get to the car, how many Choos do you need?


2017-11-09T18:22:02+00:00January 29th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Denise January 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    I was just thinking along these lines J. I bought a pair of new boots this year – and I haven’t had them off since. So so comfortable and more importantly waterproof. I am no good in high heels and love the fact that I don’t have to power dress anymore. I wear boots then a canvas type of shoe for the summer……..whenever it comes along. I am only short and unlike other shorties I do not like to wear heels – no flats suit me perfectly! Infact spotted a nice pair of loafers today – may just be the next pair of shoes I will wear until they drop to pieces!

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      I think that’s what got me into heels – being short. And I have to agree on the power dressing, don’t miss it one bit!

  2. Cumbrian January 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Got me thinking how mant pairs of footwear I own. (in no particular order)

    1. Slippers, all the time inside.
    2. Wellies, wet days in garden.
    3. Sandals, for holidays.
    4. Black leather shoes, for everyday shopping etc.
    5. Brown leather shoes, for best.
    6. Plimsolls, for holidays.
    7. Flip-flops, for summer days.

    Not bad for a man?

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      Not bad? More than me!

  3. Jill Chandler. January 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    Flip flops in the summer, or slave sandals if its dressy up time, boots all winter, one pair that are comfortable and suit all occasions. If I had to wear heels now I would have to be propped up in a corner.

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      On our last trip away I took two pairs of heels and no flats. And had a real problem – I found I could no longer wear them! A muscle somewhere in my foot just gave way every time I tried. By the time we got back to the airport Mike was more or less carrying me.

  4. Vera January 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Crikey but you have a lot of steps to climb! I bet its an adventure each day, especially in the wet and slippy weather, so go ye carefully Jessica, go ye carefully.

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      It keeps us fit Vera!

  5. the veg artist January 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    I gave up work about 15 years ago, so, like the rest of you, spend my days in the same few pairs. Of course, I still have lots, but there is no real excuse to buy any more!

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      It’s the same with clothes for me – wardrobe full of things I very rarely now wear.

  6. Josephine January 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    When I was in school, I worked part-time at an upscale shoe shop. I’d wait for the change of season sales, and buy a pair of every color. I hobbled around in those five inch heels well into my late thirties, I’m not sure why…..maybe a fashion statement and wanting to look chic ?
    Nowadays it’s flat-shoes for everything, mostly wellies and crocs, how’s that for coming back down to earth !

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      Back down to earth for sure, but in a good way is it not? We have adapted to the lie of the land Jo.

  7. Simone January 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    I have never owned a pair of ‘Choo’s’. I go for sensible Hotter shoes these days. A flat shoe for everyday and flat ankle boots for the vineyard! I am also short and used to wear high heels so I could talk to people on the same level. There was a time that I wouldn’t be seen dead in flat shoes but nowadays comfort comes first! I bet your ankle boots will last you longer than your Jimmy’s!!!

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      I’ve had the boots probably 8 years Simone, worn constantly in the winter (and some summers too!!). The Jimmys I’ve worn half a dozen times. I still have them, but if I ever wear them again I’ll have to carry them up to the car..

  8. Vintage Jane January 29, 2013 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Oh goodness, I am too embarrassed to admit how many pairs I own, certainly in excess of 30! I love shoes, although most are flat, even though I too am only 5’1″!

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      Snap. 5’1″ also. As I get older I feel more confident about it too.

  9. Viv January 29, 2013 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    Having developed more foot problems than the podiatrist can cope with my favourites at the moment are my Go Walkers these are my indoor shoes that I wear as slippers very light with spongy soft sole to relieve me of my foot pain. For outdoors I am with Simone – Hotters win and sometimes Reiker or anything sensible that has a thick sole, wide toe box and probably doesn’t bear any resemblance to a fashionable shoe. Heels are definitely out and sadly the only Jimmy’s I come close to is the hospital of the same name in Leeds for my 6 monthly check ups!!!

    • Jessica January 29, 2013 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      What I wear most frequently these days are Hunters – as in the wellies but shoe shaped. Perfect for going up the steps to get the post as absolutely waterproof. They’ve become so much of a habit I sometimes forget and go out in them. Hey Ho.

  10. elaine January 30, 2013 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Shoes are the bane of my life – I can never find anything stylish that fits (I have a Victoria Beckham bunion) so I stick to old faithfulls, boring and flat but comfortable. Thank goodness I’m not a celeb. having to endure the shoes they have to wear to look glam.

    • Jessica January 30, 2013 at 9:52 am - Reply

      We went hill walking in the Lake District a few years ago. And met several groups of Japanese girls trying to negotiate the rocky path in their heels! Couldn’t believe it!

  11. Anny January 30, 2013 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Just got back from walking the dog in thirty year old pair of Hunter wellies – warm, dry and comfy. Will potter around in socks until I have to go out again, then shall wear flat boots. Pretty much describes my footwear these days. (Anyone want a load of black court shoes, circa 1985-2000?).

    • Jessica January 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Given that I knacker shoes so quickly they rarely achieve vintage status, unfortunately. Or should that be thankfully?

  12. 1gus1 January 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Boots, trainers and Crocs and always trousers. I’d like to dress smartly but there’s no point with four large dogs galumphing round the house.

    • Jessica January 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      It’s nice to do it once in a while, and makes it all the more special when you can.

  13. Rosie January 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    I vaguely remember wearing shoes with a wedge toe, high heel and ankle strap that used to hurt so much – I’m talking early 70s here. I’m not good in heels or flimsy shoes and like you almost live the whole winter in my trusty black ankle boots. I love boots in the winter and sandals in the summer, loafers in the bits in between. Now I don’t have to go out to work everyday court shoes are a thing of the past, last time I wore some for a funeral my feet were so sore afterwards:)

    • Jessica January 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      I remember platform shoes getting higher and higher.. and heavier and heavier. But I suppose the generation before us with their stilettos didn’t fare any better!

  14. BadPenny January 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    I love my black Fly boots & wear them under jeans or with a skirt. I do like slight heels for dressy & I bought some orange canvas wedges last summer & friends said they suited me. I feel more empowered in heels but rarely wear them.
    Just home from a dog walk & kicked off my muddy walking boots !
    In my early twenties, I worked in a trendy shoe shop in Brighton & spent a lot of my wages on the shoes – then I went travelling & it was practical boots & sandles which replaced fashion shoes !

    • Jessica January 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      The thought of canvas wedges and the little bit of sun today has got me dreaming of lazy summer days..

  15. Anne January 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Jessica, the answer is simple – have a shoe rack installed in the boot of your car, then when you go out you can change from the sensible stair-climbing, mud and puddle navigating shoes/boots into something elegant!! I have to admit to buying two pairs of boots in the sales – one practical, and one drop dead gorgeous pair (blame my lovely new next door neighbours, who own the fabulous shoe shop in Hawick!)

    • Jessica January 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      Now there’s an idea. But having next door neighbours with a shoe shop could indeed prove expensive! Loyalty discount?

  16. Ali January 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    When I finally grow up, I’m going to master heels. I like buying shoes, and the idea of wearing them, but in truth, I am extremely loyal to a few rather functional pairs. The most expensive pair I’ve ever bought have been my Ilse Jacobson wellies, but the cost per wear is teeny and they always get compliments. Never regretted the splurge.

    • Jessica January 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      Cool wellies!!!

  17. CherryPie January 31, 2013 at 12:44 am - Reply

    I have rather a lot of shoes, but I still struggle for the right one for occasion/weather…

    I think I need educating 😉

    • Jessica January 31, 2013 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Or more shoes? 😉

  18. Em January 31, 2013 at 9:58 am - Reply

    I haven’t worn heels since we moved here eleven years ago! Just getting from the house to the car down the garden is enough to ruin anything but the most practical of footwear so I just don’t bother. it’s cheaper this way too!

    • Jessica January 31, 2013 at 11:24 am - Reply

      I keep a few pairs, but since we moved here I’ve had only a couple of occasions to wear them anyway. If I did again, I’d wear the gardening boots up to the car and carry the shoes, as Anne suggests!

  19. Sue February 4, 2013 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Wellies, crocs, slippers and a stash of Hotter ‘smarter shoes’ are my only repotoire now, virtually all flat as flat can be. To think of the heels (and platforms in the 70’s) that I used to wear, I don’t know how I did it. It helps that I’m 5′ 6″, I only ever feel short when I stand between my sons!!

    • Jessica February 4, 2013 at 11:13 am - Reply

      I know Sue, 5 and 6 inch heels I used to do. It makes me feel dizzy and wanting to sit down!

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