Crutches and high heels do not qualify as sensible womens shoes

Really, I’ll be ok: Another tale of unsafe shoes

This post is Part 3 in a series of why I love mens shoes.

I rolled my ankle Friday.

I’d love to say that it was caused by a fierce game of basketball with my kids, or a misstep while portaging a kayak in the Amazon, or because I enjoyed a wine-tasting tour of Napa a little too much. In today’s world, if an injury is the byproduct of an active, sophisticated lifestyle, it’s more like a badge of honor.

Sensible womens shoes: Do they exist?

But no. I was late for an appointment, and was hurrying across a paved parking lot, and my foot simply rolled inward as I was walking. I was wearing what most people would consider sensible womens shoes: The heel height was two inches, the shoes were the proper size, and they were strapped securely to my feet.

In medical terms, it’s called an inversion sprain, the most common kind.

In fashion terms, it’s called an injustice, and would never have happened had I been wearing men’s shoes.

I’ve written and re-written the rest of this post six times. No matter what I say, everything sounds like a rant. I have to keep reminding myself that this series is about why I love men’s shoes, not why I hate women’s. But the fact is, men’s shoes are safer, period. Do men talk about rolling their ankles? Sure, as a sports injury. As an occupational hazard of walking? Not in the least.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Alabama showed that injuries from high heels doubled between 2002 and 2012. In my six months of blogging, I have talked to countless women who told me about injuries they sustained simply because of the shoes they were wearing. Many concluded our dialog by saying something like “But that’s because I’m such a klutz” or “I wish I were more graceful!”

Number of injury stories from the hundreds of men I’ve talked to? Zero.

Why men’s shoes are safer

This is an example of a dress shoe that straps on. Because there are two buckles, it's called a "double monk."

This is an example of a dress shoe that straps on. Because there are two buckles, it’s called a “double monk.”

Men’s shoes (and I’m talking about dress shoes) are safer for several reasons:

  • They completely cover the foot. Closed toe and closed heel offer more foot protection. You can’t snag a pinky on a chair or stub a big toe if it’s covered.
  • Their heels are broad and flat. You won’t catch them in a grate, carpet, sidewalk crack or door threshold. (This is a partial list of places I’ve caught heels. My hilarious post on falling in my boss’ office has more examples.)
  • They strap or tie securely to the foot (see photo).
  • They keep the wearer close to the ground. People try to pass off platform shoes as a safer alternative to stilettos. I’m sorry, but shoes that lift you several inches off terra firma are simply not sensible womens shoes. They’re a hazard, and according to one spine surgeon, should come with a warning label.

When I wear my wingtips and captoes, I feel safer in other ways, too. Because I feel less vulnerable, they change the way I carry myself. My stride elongates. I swing my arms. My balance is better. In short, I move more confidently.

Perhaps that’s the best reason of all.

p.s. Please excuse the lack of apostrophes. I know better, but must sacrifice them to appease the search engine optimization gods.

p.p.s. No, that’s not my shoe, cast or crutch in the photo.



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