I know, I know. Heels are evil, you say. Health problems! Oppressive and restrictive pictures of what it means to be beautiful! I know.

But I love mine.

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(Skirt: A recent Banana Republic sale find. Tee: Also Banana, can’t find a link now though. Sandals: Born.)

Heels visually stretch out my foot and make it part of the leg, which makes them appear longer than they are and brings my lower half closer to balancing my top half. (My legs are athletic, thick and quite short for my height–I am 5’6”, have a 27” inseam, and a 17” calf.) Heels are an integral part of my wardrobe, so this week I thought I’d spend some time talking about how I work them into my daily life without getting sore feet.

First, as you saw in the first Fashion Friday, sometimes my “heels” are essentially just platforms. I love my clogs, it must be said, and wear them all over the place. Something with a little bit of heel that I can run in? Sign me up!

But I also love proper heels–the chunkier the better, to balance out my wider legs. And at least for me, at least so far, I’m completely comfortable in my heels all day without any of the nasty side-effects one reads about. Dansko makes some of my faves, but I’ve also had great luck with Clarks, Sofft, Ecco, and Born. I hear tell of these glorious Fluevogs that are comfy enough to do Disneyland in, and someday my budget will let me verify. There are some things that all of my heels have in common, though:

My daily-wears have a maximum of about a 2” heel and a nice solid foot bed. Nothing precarious for me, thanks! My Danskos came with me on a recent trip to NYC and we walked all over Midtown, with nary a problem.

I do sometimes extend this to about 4” with platforms, like the Born sandals I’m wearing above. I don’t think I’d do Manhattan in them, or a day with the kids, but I find them completely comfortable for an average all-day wear.

I love putting them with a super-long pair of jeans or skirt:

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This whole outfit makes me feel about ten feet tall. (Skirt: Boden from a few years ago–this one is similar. Shirt is Gap from 2010.) I have another, similar pair from a couple of years ago from the brand Naya, and they’ve been quite comfortable too. No matter how tall the overall shoe is, for me to be really happy at the end of the day the arch in my foot needs to correspond to no more than a 2” heel. I have no idea how widely-applicable that number is, but thought it worth sharing. It’s probably also worth noting that we have a shoes-off household, so I spend a decent portion of every day with bare feet and do stretch my calves daily.

I feel like I should close this post by reiterating that I believe fashion should be subordinate to our lives, rather than the other way around. For all that I love heels, and am very comfortable in them, I spend a fair amount of time being active outside with the boys. And no way are my clothes going to get in the way of that. So when you see me at the playground, I’ll be looking like this…

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…and totally happy with that. How about you? Do you prefer heels, flats, both? Does it depend on the outfit?

(And yes, before someone asks, I have two kinds of jeans–ones hemmed for heels, and ones hemmed for sneakers.)

(…and yes, the ones I wear with sneakers are capris. Hah!)