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Saturday 18 August 2018

Ditch the heels? After you Victoria - we Irish girls love impractical footwear

Victoria Beckham in a pair of flats
Victoria Beckham in a pair of flats

It's hardly headline news that women tend to wear shoes purely for their aesthetic value, even at the sacrifice of their health.

But reports that Victoria Beckham has launched a shoe collection for 2015 which focuses on flats is different.

This is news. Big news. Beckham, who once stated that she "couldn't concentrate" in flats and "beyond hated" ballet pumps, sent models down her spring/summer runway in New York this week in a series of slip-on styles.

The pointy winkle-pickers were plain, leopard print calf skin or embellished with leather flowers and contrasted with the other prevalent style, strappy flatform sandals.

Where Victoria Beckham leads, most of the fash-pack follow.

So, does that mean we'll be saying goodbye to our towering stilettos, agonizing pumps and nosebleed-high heels? Does it heck.

Impractical

Like our 'more is more' attitude to fake tan, we Irish women seem to love what an impractical shoe can do for us.

With the right height, cut and balance, our footwear can elongate our bodies, lengthen our legs, thrust us forward and give us the confidence to take over the world.

The fact that they also give us lumbar problems, bunions, shrunken tendons and, the latest affliction, infertility (something to do with the way our reproductive organs hang from our spines), will not deter us.

Victoria and her fashion cronies can push brogues, slippers and ballets all they like but if we ladies want to make an impression, we'll do so in at least four inches of agony.

We suffer for our appearance, and we pay for the affliction. Ask any woman if their heels are comfortable and they'll tell you comfort has nothing to do with it.

Some go as far as to get fillers injected into the balls of their feet (for a cushioning effect). As long as the shoe fits, and looks good, we'll suffer the pain, blisters and Compedes.

It's no wonder every young woman now packs a pair of flip flops in their bag for the journey home.

Recently, I was judging a Most Stylish Lady competition in The Shelbourne Hotel. I saw a woman I know walk past me in such obvious agony I offered to swap shoes with her.

After short, polite resistance, she gratefully accepted a bit of time out in my Prada patent wedges.

I immediately got foot cramp in to her seriously challenging pumps. She'd been in them for nine hours - I couldn't last nine minutes.

I have to confess; my patience with divine-looking but aching heels is waning.

I adore seeing pieces of pure foot architecture on the shelves but I know that's exactly where the same shoes would sit in my house if I shelled out the umpteen hundred quid for them.

They're stunning, but what good is that when the Manolos and Jimmy Choos live very lonely existences in the back of a wardrobe?

pain

There was a time when I'd go to any extreme, including pain and health hazards just to look and feel the part.

I think Victoria Beckham might be of the same sentiment. I'll never forget seeing her at the British royal wedding, pregnant, and still rocking Louboutins.

So, I'm kinda loving Victoria and her ability to surprise. And I'm happy to swap my stilettos for something more edgy and fashion-forward, especially if it means I can rush around town in comfort.

But will I regret it when I'm the shortie in the group photo, or waddling like penguin beside my leggy gazelle-like friends? Or once again, knee-high to my husband?

Perhaps I should go flat, but really, back ache and bunions aside, can I actually afford to compromise on style?

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