Heels You Can Walk in: Don’t Give Up on Your Higher Power


Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with how new eco-chic shoes are turning the hemp- and earth-shoe-wearing environmental hippie stereotype on its head. You’re well aware that there’s no need to sacrifice conscience for style. But if you are like me when it comes to footwear, you might just be prepared to sacrifice comfort for style.

Oh, the benefits of wearing a fierce pair of high-heeled shoes. They make your legs look longer. Even better, they make you look longer (and importantly, not wider). And for the eco-chic dresser there’s nothing better to punctuate a vintage outfit than a pair of well made stilettos. The high heel achieves all this and injects a little sex and power into our look (I know, earlier wave feminists are turning over in their graves).

But are they healthy for us? Unfortunately, wearing high heels shifts the dynamics of the gait – which is what makes us look so damn hot in them – transferring the force away from our heels, which normally carries the weight of the stride and toward the toe. Extended wearing of heels causes unsightlies such as bunions and hammertoes. Not to mention lower back pain, shortening of the achilles tendons, and possible stress fractures. Should women just abandon high heels?

Happily, the fashion powers that be are smiling down on our tired little toes. This spring/summer season there will be no need to sacrifice because the stores are full of shoes that give you the height you desire but with the comfort gained from a stable heel and rigid instep – in the form of clogs. The nostalgic wooden-soled shoe has made a timely comeback in a multitude of sleek and sexy mule and sandal incarnations.

Check out trendy Swedish Hasbeens. They make a wonderful clog based on original ’70s models. While they’re not vegan, they do use vegetable tanned leathers that do not harm the environment. For a heart stopping vegan clog, check out Stella McCartney’s Wood Castillo Sandal, or search for vintage on Esty or eBay.


Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.