Answer Angel Ellen tackles questions about feet and their stylish coverings.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: How do women walk in 4-inch stilettos? Every time I try on a heel more than 2 inches high I feel like Im pitching forward. Every young woman I know who wears those things insists they are comfortable. Do men really find stiletto heels sexy? To me they look like torture devices, not attractive and certainly not sexy. Any sign of this trend fading away? Not a Fan
Dear Not a Fan: Thankfully, were seeing more flat shoes (especially lace-up Oxfords) in fashion magazines, on blogs and on the runway. That said, stilettos will remain popular because many people find them sexy. Your calf muscles are contracted so they get more defined. Stilettos also lengthen the leg, says podiatrist Marlene Reid. In short, yup, they make your legs look sexier than flats, wedges or kitten heels. I see women in their 20s wearing them. I tell them just wait till your early 30s. They can cause all kinds of problems, like stress fractures. Theyre not good for people. Youre going to wear down the padding at the ball of the foot, and it can never come back. I see many women walking in stilettos, and they look as if theyre in excruciating pain. And that, my friends, is not sexy.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Ive heard the optimum shoe for comfort and support is a 2-inch wedge. Is that true? Ms. J.J.
Dear Ms. J.J.: A 2-inch wedge is fine but not optimum, Reid told me. Best is 1 inch or 1 1/2 inches; 2 1/2 inches is the maximum. But she says the wedge is good. The wider the base of the heel, the more stable. A stiletto is both higher and skinnier, so theres more chance of falling off your shoes.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I read somewhere that flats are not a good idea if you walk a lot. True? E.N.
Dear E.N.: True. Most of those cute ballet flats are poorly constructed and dont have any support. If you want to wear them for long walks, buy versions that dont easily bend in half, and when you squeeze the heel it should feel somewhat firm. This advice will be lost on virtually all young women who choose cute over all else. And so did I, once upon a time. Hold it: I still do.