The lineup of six-inch stilettos in a photograph accompanying yesterdays New York Times article about the new craze over stilt-like heels makes podiatry seem like a lucrative career move (and walking a carefully honed skill). One especially mean-looking metallic pair by Balenciaga is known as the "gladiator," which is amusing, until you consider that this shoe is actually battling your own foot.
Fashion may not be practical -- I'm not calling for orthopedic Velcro sneakers here -- but this trend is frightening. The author of the article infers that the fad was sparked by a societal desire for "pumped up" versions of everything ("lips and S.U.V.'s, for example"). But certainly real women aren't expected to wear these, right? No, silly, these shoes arent made for walking. These shoes "serve a different purpose: seduction, fun, making men bark." They're more ideal for standing in place or walking short distances, the article explains. There is at least a pinch of self-mocking here, but somehow it's more scary than cute.
While the article unsurprisingly neglects to mention the not-so-sexy reality of permanently deformed feet from "glamorous constraint," it does acknowledge the "great many more opportunities" that the shoes present "to humiliate yourself." After all, how do you explain when you end up on a gurney after a nasty tumble?
Turns out that the author doesn't get the desired result of wowing the New York elite with the highest in-demand heels from Paris: "Now six feet tall, I suddenly felt less invincible than wretchedly vulnerable, to gross stares and gusts of wind."