10/09/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5-Inch Heels: A User's Guide

Nice girls don't wear five-inch heels. Or at least they didn't. Lately, the same skyscraper shoes you would find in the red light district have been given a spit and polish by the fashion cognoscenti.


The platform silhouette that's been gaining ground for the last couple of years on the runway just keeps on growing. High heels spotted during New York Fashion Week are on the rise- some clocking in at a nosebleed inducing six inches tall. While I must admit that the models stomping down the runway in these creations really do look great, the cynic in me ponders the potential increase in hospital emergency room admissions due to injuries caused by fashionable footwear. I can't help but imagine the headline splashed across the Times when the first lawsuit appears, "JANE DOE vs. MANOLO: 'No one warned me these shoes were a safety hazard.'"


Despite their perils, super heels really are going mainstream. I'm watching as highly respectable women in five star neighborhoods teeter through their urban jungle strapped into them. The shoe salons of major department stores are filled with platforms vying to be the tallest and there is no question that they serve as a suitable full stop anchor for the exclamation point of recent fashion. Shoe choice can make or break a look and the delicate spun sugar shoes of yore only tremble beneath today's dramatic clothing shapes.

Perhaps this is the inevitable backlash against our years of ballet flat frenzy. As both a creature of habit and one constantly bored by it, I know that too much of anything always leads to something new. So it doesn't surprise me that we are experiencing the heady heights of current shoe trends, but I for one am looking forward to the cresting of this wave. I have bought my share of super heels and mostly they just sit in my closet. I stare longingly at them and play dress up in front of my mirror with my favorites, but I have learned the hard way to really consider whether to actually wear them out or not. I find that walking in my five-inchers becomes my main event focus and I am always stressed about navigating myself across tricky flooring, praying I will not have to yell out "TIMBER!" if my calculations go awry.

So I am hoping that some season soon designers will flip the release valve and allow their shoes to deflate a little. Currently I've been yearning for beautifully proportioned, weighty but elegant two- to three-inch heels with no platform- a shoe that's sexy but allows you to still feel the ground when you walk. Until then, here is what I have learned about how to wear my five-inchers:

1. Be event specific: know the parameters of where you will be wearing them instead of just putting them on for the day.

2. Never pair super heels with a non-stretchy pencil skirt: you will look terrific, but be completely unable to move.

3. Be careful how much you drink while in your super heels, as good balance is a critical component to success.

4. Shorts look bad with them. Really bad.

5. The less you move, the better you look- so get lots of posed photos taken to immortalize your unbelievably long legs, then kick your super heels to the curb when you are ready to have fun.