A Goodbye Letter to High Heels From A Longtime Devotee

It's not you, it's me. Well, really it's both of us.
Publish date:
November 12, 2013
high heels, back pain, jimmy choo

Dear High Heels,

It’s time to reexamine our relationship. It’s not you, it’s me. Well, really, it’s both of us, and it’s time for this to end.

I remember the first time I saw you, swinging from my mother’s foot as a baby, all shiny and silver and mesmerizing. The hypnotic curve of your heel, the exotic skin, the way you caused my mother to walk just so: I knew right then we would be destined for a lifelong relationship.

There are photos of me in mom’s bra, a diaper and sunglasses with you on my feet. I was holding a baby blanket, clearly believing I was properly dressed to leave the house. Oh, and a purse. And a smile. Yep, I was ready to take on the world.

When I was allowed to explore the depths of our relationship, I went right for it. Tiny kitten heels were fine until the prom when I was allowed to explore 2” of glory. I owned that dress. I owned the night and the two of us together helped me discover how I could make the boys sweat, that a well-timed strut across a floor was enough to ensnare the attention I craved. We walked across the stage together as I received my diploma, you were the first item packed as I went off to college, and the first item unpacked in my dorm room.

From college into my twenties, you carried me through sorority formals and inched up in height as I made my way into the professional world. You helped me walk with confidence into my first day of work, you became a date night weapon with all the wrong men, you even helped me escape a rather bad date when I drove your spike right into the foot of an aggressive suitor.

I learned to walk, to run, to strut and to stomp in your vast array of shapes and sizes. I had you in every shape, every color, and it seemed we’d never end. You helped boost me with confidence the day I quit my job, you carried my shaking ankles the day I boarded a one-way flight to New York City to become a writer.

But, as your heel height has been raised to astronomical proportions and dangerous platforms have become part of your structure, our years of playing together have secretly caused some serious damage. I have bones separating in my right foot, causing searing pain every time I slip on anything that causes pressure on the ball of the foot. The pain is so intense it causes tears within seconds. This isn’t how I thought it would end.

The shapes of my toes aren’t quite right and the lower back issues just aren’t worth it anymore. Someone explained to me years ago that the best heels are shoes that you wear from a car to your seat and back again, but as someone who has to full-on race around town all day, I can’t imagine spending that kind of money on that kind of pain or such a brief affair. Simply put: I want more.

The heart is willing, but the ankles are weak. The pain is too great to bear...and so I let you go.

I’m still keeping a few of your designer editions as artwork in my home. And I couldn’t part with my first pair of Jimmy Choos, but I fear I’m just too old to keep hurting myself like this anymore. There are women with tougher feet and constitutions lining up to hand over a month’s rent so you can carry them into their future. It is to them I pass the torch...and anything over 2-2 1/2 “ in heel height.

You’ve meant everything to me, but I feel I’ve got to move on to lower boots and midi heels. I’ll miss your strappy goodness and I’ll always think of you fondly as I pass the windows of Bergdorf Goodman. I’ll have to catch my runway stride in something that doesn’t cause so many tears...or the threat of surgery.

Goodbye, my lovelies. It’s been amazing.



So, have you had to give up your favorite high heels or some other fashionable item you once held so dear?