I often lust after very high-heeled shoes when I’m browsing the internet – the temptation to make my legs look impossibly long, to be teetering over the rest of the world, to get that near-vertical arch to my foot that is so inexplicably sexy often threatens my good sense. But I know from experience that these skyscraper heels would all eventually kill me.
Because if a heel height exceeds that with which my chalk-boned ankles are comfortable, teetering becomes swaying and every step becomes lethal. In high-high heels, my ankles give way, my hamstrings and calf muscles tighten so much that it feels as though someone has placed a row of tennis balls down the backs of my legs. I do not look sexy when I walk in highest heels, I look like someone who has been folded into a suitcase and kept in the attic for three years. I look like someone who has only just learned to use their limbs. I look like a penguin making its way into the sea.
So I just peer at these high shoes, because to buy them would be a death sentence. I have tripped down stairs in heels like these; I have slipped on curbs and sunk into lawns and fallen down the gaps in people’s decking. The fact that I still have two working feet is something that astounds me on a daily basis; in medium heels I’m a liability, in stilettos I need stabilisers and a crash mat.
But none of this stops me looking. And so here are the shoes that would probably kill me – if not financially (most of them are ruinous) then definitely by way of accidental death. I wonder if many people actually do die by way of their shoes? I can imagine untied shoelaces are the primary shoe-related hazard, but surely trying to walk around on pencil-thin heels is a close second? I mean, if someone was clarting about on stilts next to the edge of the train platform we would all hold our breath and wonder whether that person had lost their marbles, but high heels are worse than stilts! There’s just no surface area – there’s hardly any point of contact between foot and floor. It’s a ridiculous situation to willingly place yourself in.
But I love all of these lethal heels and if they were less money I’d be tempted to buy them and just wear them for when I’m sitting down, or even lying flat on my back. And I’d like to say that I’ve tested them all for wearability but to be quite honest, I tried on the Anouck pumps from Jimmy Choo and immediately pulled something in my lower back, so I’m not reviewing the rest of them unless someone gives me danger money.
Shoes that would kill me:
The Paloma from Charlotte Olympia, £595 here. I mean, just look at it. The peach satin, the fanned heel detail, the architectural-looking sole that’s even smaller than the usual (inadequate) stiletto sole. If I was going to be killed by a shoe I would want it to be this one. It would probably grind out its Sobranie on my face afterwards and then throw on a feather boa before sashaying out of the hotel room door. Saucy minx.
This one is the highest heel at 145mm, which is so high that it’s probably snowing at the top – but it does have a 35mm platform so the drop isn’t as sheer as it could be. Still, expect a visit to A&E if you try and run for the bus in these…
The next in line is an even steeper proposition – you may as well just stand on your tiptoes. The So Kate pumps from Louboutin have a whopping 120mm heel with no platform. A killer silhouette, no doubt, but I’ve just realised that I have worn this shoe style on a shoot before and I think I now have a series of small, broken bones somewhere in my left foot. (They only ache when it rains, but still.)
£525 (loads of gorgeous colours available) at Net-a-Porter here*.
Another shoe I’ve actually tried and the last of the mega-expensive ones; the Anouck pointed-toe pumps from Jimmy Choo are supremely sexy but only suitable for the sort of evening where you’re going to spend 98% of the time seated. If you’re in a restaurant then you’ll be the only diner requesting a table near the loos, because God forbid you have to hobble the walk of shame across the entire eatery. Only book a place that’s carpeted – hard floors, especially shiny ones, are too risky when you’re walking on the equivalent of six inch nails and not much else. You have to consider these things if you decide to leave the house wearing hobblers.
The fabulous Anouck pumps are £475 here* and, like the Louboutins, come in lots of different colours and finishes.
Ooh! Here’s one that can feasibly be a “just for the bedroom” heel; the Stessy courts from ALDO are a snip at £36.98 (here*). Random and very specific price, there, but maybe I’m missing something. It’s like being back in 1995! Do you remember when everything was something-pounds-and-ninety-nine-pence?
Anyway, these are ridiculously high and you will, without doubt, step into one of those grids that cover the drains and snap off your heel. But it doesn’t matter because your pride will be damaged more than your wallet.
Let’s finish with the Alice shoes from Carvela – another nice price, comparatively, from £69 depending on colour. These have a 110mm heel which is HIGH, believe me, especially if you’re trying to walk down a catwalk in 2002 and you know that David Beckham is seated to the left and you’re concentrating more on that than actually walking in a straight line without falling over. You can find the superbly-cut Alice online here* – a great colour and pattern selection, but I am partial to the zebra ombré (a sentence I never thought I’d write) pictured above and also the floral ones.
OK, go forth and buy your lethal party shoes. Maybe your ankles are stronger than mine; maybe you don’t walk like a maimed Ostrich after two glasses of wine. Maybe you’ve always been good in heels, perhaps you practised when you were young. Good for you – I’ll be sticking to my mid-height shoes and probably struggling in those. I think I’ve found my optimum heel height and it’s called…flat.