It’s OK to love your feet and spend money on heels

November 26, 2018 — by Jessica Wang

Michael Jordan once said, “It’s not about the shoes. It’s about what you do in them.” Unfortunately, this truism certainly does not apply to Winter Formal, the school dance where half the venue ends up littered with abandoned high heels.

The actual dance is about three hours, but including pre-formal and other obligations, the entire time spent at formal-related activities will probably average around five to six hours. One hour is spent taking pictures, which, for the sensible girls out there, is the only time that their feet will spend in heels.

For those who love to suffer, or just love an extra couple of inches of leg, never fear: Beauty is pain and spending six hours in pretty torture devices will definitely hurt.

Many girls tend to make the mistake of prioritizing their clothing over their shoes. Yes, the dress needs to be cute, but I recommend that you first invest in a quality pair of shoes, because in the end they’re the ones to support your entire body weight. Better material, fit and durability are honestly worth splurging a little on.

Higher-end brands generally use sturdier, yet more comfortable and breathable material, which will significantly reduce the possibility of getting blisters within the first hour of dancing; higher quality heels also actually have padding on the sole so your feet aren’t incredibly sore the next day.

Most of this seems blatantly obvious, but why spend more when the same style is being sold for much less? It’s hard to believe, but there are legitimate reasons certain brands such as Sam Edelman and Steve Madden are more expensive than others.

When more expensive brands design a shoe, the shape of the foot, the ankle and the width of the heel, for example, tend to be all taken into account when producing a heel, which means “pretty leg lines” when people wear them. A nice pair of heels becomes an enhancement to the dress rather than an add-on; if you plan on attending formal for multiple years, this means that the same heels can be paired with a great variety of cheaper dresses.

That being said, when it comes to school dances, stilettos too often become a kind of unintended weapon. Think of those times when either someone steps on your foot or you step on theirs. And the amount of pain is inversely proportional with the diameter of the heel. If your feet weren’t hurting before, they sure are now after being stabbed in this manner.

Ultimately, the most pain-free course of action is to just slip on a second pair of comfortable shoes and drop the heels: After all, formal didn’t happen unless you took the pictures to prove it.

For those who want to tough it out, chances are you won’t be alone in your 3.5-inch open-toed black heels with the ankle straps. But there’s not shame in abandoning them, because even the most expensive heels can’t prevent the inevitable suffering your feet might experience on the big night. That’s what ibuprofen and prayers are for