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The High Heeled Ruminations Of Melrose Plant


mlroseplant
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Perhaps we should consider what we mean (or think we mean) by being 'empowered' - if that is in fact the right term.   Leaving aside the 'granting of authority' meaning, it suggests acquisition of greater strength and confidence.    (Cali mentions feeling 'bolder', but that is not quite the same thing.)   But why?   Is it because openly worn and displayed knee-boots represent power and domination - as many military personnel and dominatrices are well aware - or because a man wearing what is still generally regarded as female footwear (wellies and riding boots excepted) is being somewhat daring in doing so and therefore gets a boost, and maybe some vicarious pleasure?   Or is there another reason?   Do heels on the boots make a difference, or are they just the icing on the cake?

I have no knee boots other than wellies but, if I were to go out in public wearing a pair (with or without heels) over trousers, I would likely feel 'daring and bold' in much the same way as when I wear high-heeled footwear of any description - because I am doing something as a man that is different and arguably (In some people's view) wrong, reprehensible or even perverted.   But I'm far from sure if I would feel 'empowered' in the sense of being stronger or more confident - maybe the opposite if I am exposing myself to potential ridicule or worse, especially if I can't so easily run away! 

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14 hours ago, mlroseplant said:

Furthermore, why would boots over your jeans get you noticed in particular? Especially since it's a very normal style for women (and, to some extent, men) these days, I would think it would be something which would not really catch people's eyes. In fact, when is the last time you saw a pair of knee high boots NOT being worn on the outside? Cowboy boots in certain instances, that all I can think of, and usually that's a work or livestock type situation.

Actually knee high cowboy boots inside, under my pants, is almost always how I wear them.  I just prefer the feeling and look of my boots being fitted, and my pants being loose over them.  But almost all men who wear dress cowboy boots insist this is the only way they should be worn for men, and that only women wear their boots on the outside.  However, looking around at here in the rural area men wear them on the outside because that is most functional.  It's kind of a controversial topic in cowboy boot discussions, with some men quick to call out any sighting of a man wearing their boots on the outside "dressing like a woman".  

 

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We seem to have two separate discussions going on at once--the "how much people really notice" discussion, and the "empowering/powerful" discussion. I'm going to drop the "how much people really notice" part for the moment (or at least attempt to, people are gonna write what they gonna write), so that we may concentrate on the empowerment thought.

It had not occurred to me before this discussion that boots ARE in fact depicted as powerful in popular culture. Superheroes wear boots, sometimes high heeled ones, if they are female. Super villains also wear boots. I suppose the opposite would be true of sandals. Or maybe not. Roman soldiers wore what were functionally sandals. Martial arts people fight barefoot. I think those are narrow exceptions, though, and not really part of Western culture.

Perhaps my bias against boots is the fact that they do not fit my personality. I tried that for a while. Wore nothing but boots for many years. Oftentimes big, heavy boots. I'm not a big, heavy guy. It didn't really work for me. Perhaps these new boots will change my mind.

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I can see where one could feel a sense of empowerment in simply defying convention and following your own path - whatever that may be. In this case it’s wearing tall boots, with or without heels, over jeans - a style that is perceived to be feminine. And for a guy to buck that does take mental and emotional strength and an awareness of that strength would feel empowering. 
 

I’ve always been drawn to boots right from my teenage years - although we’re talking hiking boots here. I grew up in the mountains and much preferred the solitude I found up there than the socialising in school and town and very much defined myself that way. Hiking boots were emblematic, and remained so. They were “me”.

At the same time I had/have a bohemian streak and liked the look and style of knee and ankle boots partly for aesthetics and partly for the daring and unconventionality that went with wearing them.

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I even feel more empowered wearing my stiletto booties, specially my blue and red suede ones.  I like the pop of extra color, especially on a dreary winter day.

So maybe its the extra

8 hours ago, Shyheels said:

simply defying convention

that happens in these heels that I don't feel in my regular heels.

But whatever it is, I enjoy it.

17 hours ago, p1ng74 said:

 It's kind of a controversial topic in cowboy boot discussions, with some men quick to call out any sighting of a man wearing their boots on the outside "dressing like a woman".  

 

You got deer in Texas, and deer have ticks, and ticks carry lime disease. Wear your boots on the outside.

Edited by Cali
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I love wearing tall boots, and I never leave the house wearing any other footwear.  A primary appeal of wearing boots to me is that it does give a feeling of work and purpose, which I can accept is related to this feeling of "empowerment" that is being discussed here.  They cover not just the feet, like most footwear, but also ankles and legs.  There are certain outdoor tasks and activities, which have been mentioned here, where some type of boots are the only appropriate footwear because of the design. 

Perhaps it is the widespread practice of wearing boots for a specific reason that creates the association with "empowerment".  There are people that only wear boots when it might rain or snow that day, or only if they expect to go somewhere muddy.  The boots give them a kind of extra help to get through the specific trials and activities expected that day.  

I think this also causes many people to notice when you are wearing boots, because they are worn for special purposes and situations.  So when they see that you are wearing boots, they might ask themselves, "what is the special occasion today"?  For me, I don't need a special occasion to dress up.  If boots are really that empowering, and useful for working and all sorts of tasks, why would I ever leave that "power" at home?  I think the reason is common to why people don't wear heels - they find boots uncomfortable, but that could be because people are wearing poor fitting boots.  

I tried to stay on topic, but I guess I still touched on "how much people notice"...

32 minutes ago, Cali said:

You got deer in Texas, and deer have ticks, and ticks carry lime disease. Wear your boots on the outside.

Actually, you just gave a very good reason why we wear boots on the INSIDE.  I've had critters and things fall into my boots when worn on the outside.  It is much rarer for critters to climb up from the ground and actually get me, especially with tall boots.  

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We are (or at least p1ng74 is) now exploring something of the history of boots!   No harm in that, and it is relevant to the ongoing discussions.   If we think about it, then ignoring (relatively modern) fashion trends amongst women, boots are and historically always have been essentially practical footwear, worn to cope with conditions that would not be suitable for simpler footwear such as shoes or sandals.   Why would anyone want a boot, particularly a long boot (with its much greater use of leather, and therefore more expensive to buy and heavier to wear) if it were not necessary for the task - riding, wading, navigating mud or snow, protection against thorns or snakes etc?  So, although basic shoes or sandals might be regarded as the norm for everyday wear, having regard to weather and climate, someone putting on boots is almost certainly preparing for a special activity, as p1ng74 suggests - and is indeed likely to get noticed as being the 'exception' to the norm.   

But of course we cannot ignore the fashion aspect, which will transcend any question of practicality or necessity, particularly with women.   Few will bat an eyelid if they see a woman wearing long boots on a warm summer's day, or for a formal indoor function (although I for one would think both inappropriate) as we are conditioned to seeing women putting fashion, or simply personal preference, ahead of comfort, safety or style.   Men, however, are not supposed to be such dedicated followers of fashion and are (allegedly) essentially practical, so wearing the 'wrong' footwear for the occasion or activity, or wearing something unduly embellished or fancy - which might include high heels - will certainly stand out and they will have their motives questioned.   And as there are very few activities other than riding or being around thorns and snakes that require (or justify) long leather boots, they are not mainstream menswear, even if flat-heeled and plain.    We come back therefore to the question of 'empowerment' (however one defines it) and I must conclude that a man wearing long leather boots as a fashion choice is being empowered in some way when doing so - perhaps without seeking or realising this, although the symbolism of the 'jackboot' is not lost on most of us.   He likes them and/or feels good in them - and that is quite enough to provide some sort of boost to his confidence and an enhanced feeling of strength or power which no other type of footwear can really provide.   I like sandals - but the common association in climates where they are not considered the everyday norm is one of gentleness or fragility and (dare I say it) effeminacy; scarcely 'empowering' characteristics.

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Right, there is so much to like about boots.  I can appreciate both the historical practical function of boots, and also their current role as a fashion choice and self-expression.  Perhaps both contribute to some feeling of "empowerment".  Effective self-expression feels good, and for some that is communicated through tall boots, and for others and other times it is through colorful stilettoes or fancy sandals.  I suppose self-expression is "empowering" because your voice is heard, through what you wear and present to others when out and about.  And tall boots make quite the statement, because they are relatively rare!  One of the most common questions I get asked is, "where did you get your boots?"  You can just walk into a shoe store and come away with a pair of sneakers or sandals on a whim, and around here there are plenty of boot stores where you can get cowboy boots with 13" tall shafts off the shelf and ready to wear.  But the tall, knee high boots that I wear are not nearly as ubiquitous, and you kind of have to plan ahead if you are in the market for a pair.  I like a feeling of exclusivity, and that's probably just my personality, because it applies to many others things for me.  

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So much going on here. It is impossible to comment on everything. I don't know where to begin! I think p1ng74 kind of hit on something that applies to me personally, and that is perhaps the feeling of exclusivity. I suppose it goes without saying that a man in high heels enjoys almost total exclusivity anywhere he is likely to go, but perhaps that is not enough for me. I have to be the guy who wears sandals even when it's cold outside. The funny thing is, I tend to be colder blooded than most guys. I cannot wear just a t-shirt outside for any length of time when it's below 60º (or 15º). But for some reason, my feet don't get cold very easily, it's quite the opposite.

Even I have my limits. I'm not going to wear sandals when there's a foot of snow on the ground, though there is some fascination with the thought of being able to do that. Bringing it back to the instant topic, does this have anything to do with power or empowerment? I am not sure. I just like it. I don't even really understand my own motivation(s), and I don't expect anybody else to. If there is one group of people who might come close to the edges of understanding it, it would be you folks. And I mean understanding it in the same way that almost nobody understands that I actually like to wear high heels, and by actually like, I mean that I actually like the way they feel completely independent from the way they look, and prefer them over flats in almost all circumstances. There are very, very few people who get that.

Having said that, I rather like these new boots I just purchased, and I suppose I should wear them more than just a couple of times a year. And then there's all of the enclosed shoes that I own that literally have dust all over them. I know this because I went through the collection the other day, and purged 11 pairs. Some of them were even sandals I never wear anymore. Again, is it about power or empowerment? For me, I don't think so. There may be an element of that in there, but it's a small percentage.

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There is a strong element of theatre to tall boots. And theatricality in dress is not condoned for men. Women can be - are indeed encouraged to be - as theatrical as they like, but not men.

A man wearing tall, riding style boots would be expected to be wearing them for a practical purpose - perhaps he’s going horse riding, or possibly on a motorcycle, or if they are tall sturdy boots possibly heading out into the bush; maybe he’s a surveyor. The idea of a man wearing tall boots for fashion sake is an alien one.

That said, I wear tall boots a lot and the only comments I ever get are favourable. As noted above there are not many high street places where one can buy tall boots in mens sizes. I am often asked where I got mine. Having started wearing tall boots I’d not willingly give them up - they are wonderful in winter. Warm ankles and calves are a pleasant novelty 

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Let me recount an interesting conversation I had with a friend last night. A non-high-heel wearing friend. I asked him the question, "What do you think about wearing your pants tucked into tall boots?" He said that sometimes there's a practical reason to do it, and then he went on to say he supposed if you had paid big bucks for a pair of Tony Lamas with fancy stitching on them, that perhaps.  .  . and then he suddenly remembered that cattlemen (as distinct from cowboys) in southeastern Iowa always wore one boot with the pants tucked in, and the other out. I asked him why that was, and he said he didn't really know if there was a practical reason for it, but that was the standard in his little pocket of rural Iowa (he currently lives in Texas).

I woke up this morning and a memory hit me--my parents' neighbor of many years, who was a plumber, but he was a cattleman on the side, often wore his boots that way. I always thought it was part of his sort of disheveled appearance, but now that I think about it, maybe it was on purpose. I have not seen this in modern times, as these are all people who are now in their 80s to 100s, or would be, if they had survived.

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Interesting. I’ve read that in the old west tucking one’s trousers into one boot and not the other was a signal - indicating your employability or being in the market to buy or sell cattle. 
 

When I used to go down to Antarctica frequently and made a lot of zodiac landings, I wore tall boots but never tucked them in - you’d just get water dripping down inside via the trouser leg. Much better to have your trousers (waterproof ones) over your boots.

Edited by Shyheels
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I don't know if this boot subject has reached a point where one could compare it to beating a dead horse, but I'm going to change it anyhow. I just realized that within a few days, I will have been a member here for 9 years. In another few months, I will be celebrating my 10th anniversary of public heeling. It seems impossible that that much time has passed.

Here is a picture of my wife and me, actually participating in a leisure activity together (eating at a restaurant) for the first time in a very long time. One might have called it a date, but in truth it was piggybacked onto other, less appealing activities, like shopping at Costco.

PradaJoe'sCS.jpg

Edited by mlroseplant
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It has been several weeks since I purged 11 pairs of shoes from my collection. I have not even thought about them until now, much less missed them. Perhaps I should purge more. I can think of several more pairs that I'm on the fence about, but probably wouldn't miss much, if at all if they were gone.

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Or, that I forgot I had them!!  Yesterday I was getting ready to go out to dinner and had planned on wearing a pair of heels that I wear all the time.  As I looked in my closet I saw a pair of kitten heeled sandals that I like but have not worn in ages.  I forgot that I had them.  Well, they were dug out of the closet and taken to dinner.  Gonna be out in them today as well.  

Here is a pic.  They are a pair of nice looking, comfortable slip on sandals.  

I'm not against getting rid of "stuff" but sometimes I forget about the nice "stuff" that I already have.  Maybe I have too many heels?  Naw...

Have fun....   sf

IMG_5489.jpg

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"Why should girls have all the fun!!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally made it to the cobbler with the two pairs of shoes, both of which immediately destructed upon first wearing, chronicled in the "New Shoes" section. So, I guess we'll try this again. I have not worn the FSJ stilettos yet, but I have worn the Steve Madden pumps. I think they're going to work out. Though they are much quieter with their new Vibram heels, the sound they now make is not unbalanced, the heel sound sort of complements the toe sound.

There is a third pair of shoes I had reheeled that I didn't mention before, because they are old. They are my BCBGenerations "Milliard" clogs, which I evidently liked well enough last year that I wore down the heels. The only reason I mentioned them is because I noticed once I got home that my cobbler seems to have switched brands of replacement tips, or "top lifts," as he would call them. These say "SuperTap" on them, and he used them for both my near-stiletto clogs, and my obviously stiletto mules.

The curious thing about these new heel tips is that they appear to contain a harder substance in the center of the heel tip. Or, it might just be the way they are finished. Up to now, the best wearing rubber heel tips I've run across are Bissell. It is very difficult to tell whether these new tips are actually harder than the old ones, and if so, whether it's a plus or a minus. Part of the test will involve going to my favorite supermarket, where they have polished tile floors, and are a true test of whether something is too hard, and by extension, too slippery. I guess another, perhaps more crucial test will be to pound the pavement for a few miles and see how they wear. It would be most useful to do this in the next few days because I still have another pair of shoes into the cobbler, for pickup sometime next week. Hopefully, it's not too busy when I can make it up there, and I can ask him about the new product, and give my feedback.

ReheeledLosers.jpg

Supertap.jpg

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I don't yet have any feedback about the new brand of heel tips (labelled "SuperTap"), other than they seem to be slightly louder than the old ones (labelled "Bissell"), but despite this seeming hardness, they do not slip on polished tile floors, which is a good thing. I have no data or feelings on the durability. However, I was able to try out both "new" pairs of shoes properly yesterday, and with the same outfit! I figured that if I had two pairs of blue shoes to try out, I'd ought to have a blue themed outfit.

First, the FSJ cheap stiletto mules. After a very dodgy start to our relationship, these inexpensive non-leather shoes seem quite all right, once some proper heel tips were installed. In fact, they were so all right that I can't really tell you much about them, as I was rather busy and distracted pretty much the whole time I was wearing them, which was a few hours. I didn't do a whole lot of walking in that time, but I did a considerable amount of standing, and I don't remember either state being noteworthy. By the end of my time in them, I did notice that the area directly behind my right big toe was starting to rub a little raw, but that has happened with several of my shoes of differing types over the years. It may be part of my physiology, rather than bad shoes. A small bandage put over that piece of skin doesn't show, and it solves the problem 100%. The stiletto heels, while equipped from the factory with incredibly substandard heel tips, seem quite sturdy in and of themselves for such skinny heels.

Next and last, the Steve Madden pumps. The heels are about 1 inch wide, and 3/4 of an inch front to back, which definitely takes them out of the stiletto range by a lot, but I still wouldn't refer to them as "block" heels, as they are not rectangular. They are not "cone" heels, as they have a pleasing slight curve to them. "Tapered" heels would be accurate, but rather vague. So what on earth does one call this type of heel?

Whatever it is, these shoes seem to work out well in the real world. So far, I am much more impressed than I should be, as they are not real leather. I found them to be unexpectedly comfortable, despite the fact that I wore them without hosiery, which I rarely do with any type of enclosed shoe. It's not that I don't like the look, it's that my feet usually won't cooperate with such shenanigans, becoming soaked in buckets of sweat in short order. That did not happen on this particular afternoon, perhaps due to the cool weather, and perhaps other factors beyond the scope of this post. Not once did I have the misfortune of walking out of the pumps, while at the same time, there is sufficient room for the toes at the front of the shoe. An unusual situation for me with a pump. I shall have to try them with hosiery at some point, and see if this is still true.

With both of these shoes, the somewhat modest heel height of 4 1/4" for both gives them enough height to be "high," but they are low enough to where you can actually kind of forget about them if you are doing an activity that requires your attention elsewhere. My only wish is that the pumps were in fact a little bluer. They are obviously not black under strong sunlight, but they definitely appear black in this photo. The sandals are almost equally as subtle, but they are definitely more noticeably blue than are the pumps. Which do you like better?

BluBlockerMules.jpg

BluBlockerPumps.jpg

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I prefer the mules!   

I think that the pumps (courts) have what is often called a 'French heel' - the thicker forerunner in the higher/slimmer heel category to the stiletto.   (I would hope that Pierre1961 is an expert on the history of these!)   Whilst on the subject, to my mind a block heel does not need to be truly rectangular (if only because its back will almost always have some curvature) but is typically a heel that is of the same width as the shoe and has a similar front-to-back length and little or no taper.   But I don't think any heel nomenclature is that precise - many shoes have what are called 'stiletto' heels (simply because they are slim and usually high) that have a shape and/or position that owes little to the classic stiletto.

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I did not expect anything different that the opinions which were expressed. The only surprise was that there was one vote for the mules! Even in the "civilian" world, the pumps got the nod. Perhaps it is the relative formality of the rest of the outfit? It seems that my friends would prefer that I wear pumps more often, but whatever. It seems that my friends would truly prefer that I wear Allen Edmonds, so what's the difference?

To be perfectly honest, the pumps are growing on me. I got the chance to wear both pairs of shoes once again yesterday, enough to wear down my heel tips to where you can't read "SuperTap" anymore. I wore the mules for errand running and grocery shopping yesterday, and the pumps for Christmas caroling. Our church choir spent about 2 hours yesterday visiting shut-ins and singing for them. I'm becoming a fast fan of these pumps. Did I say that out loud?

Edited by mlroseplant
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10 hours ago, mlroseplant said:

I did not expect anything different that the opinions which were expressed. The only surprise was that there was one vote for the mules! Even in the "civilian" world, the pumps got the nod. Perhaps it is the relative formality of the rest of the outfit?

...

 

I may have misunderstood.  (If so, I humbly seek forgiveness for almost leading you astray.) 

In the context of your overall look as pictured, the court shoes do look a better 'match'.   But in terms of footwear style/design, I prefer the stiletto mules to the 'French Heel' courts!   

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On 12/15/2021 at 3:58 PM, Puffer said:

In the context of your overall look as pictured, the court shoes do look a better 'match'.   But in terms of footwear style/design, I prefer the stiletto mules to the 'French Heel' courts!   

Since this reply, I've worn the French Heeled Courts (I guess we'll call them that, for lack of a better name) a couple more times.  For some reason they seem very natural, even though they are clearly styled as a woman's shoe, and one that is quite possibly a little out of date, at that. See here the semi rounded toe and clearly defined "V" throat.

SMNavyPumpTop.jpg

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Yes, French heels like yours are somewhat out-of-date, although (as we well know) such fashion never completely dies and tends to come back in cycles.   Before the true stiletto heel was introduced, a French heel was about as slim as one would find, and elegant, although not necessarily particularly high.   Look at late 40s/early 50s fashion pics for examples.   One can readily see that it developed into the stiletto (when manufacturing techniques allowed this) and then acquired a more pointed toe with a cutaway throat to become the 'standard' court shoe of the late 50s/early 60s, with a height of anything up to 5" or so.

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On 12/14/2021 at 4:39 PM, Puffer said:

I prefer the mules!   

I think that the pumps (courts) have what is often called a 'French heel' - the thicker forerunner in the higher/slimmer heel category to the stiletto.   (I would hope that Pierre1961 is an expert on the history of these!)   Whilst on the subject, to my mind a block heel does not need to be truly rectangular (if only because its back will almost always have some curvature) but is typically a heel that is of the same width as the shoe and has a similar front-to-back length and little or no taper.   But I don't think any heel nomenclature is that precise - many shoes have what are called 'stiletto' heels (simply because they are slim and usually high) that have a shape and/or position that owes little to the classic stiletto.

I'm afraid we're going to have to change the name of my new pumps, now that I've gotten used to calling them the "French heeled courts." I thought so at the time, but didn't have the time to dig it up, but I didn't really think my shoes looked like they had a French heel, despite the catchy name. A French heel, as I suspected, is curvy, both at the front and the back, whereas my shoes have straight sided heels. Here is an interesting article:

https://blog.americanduchess.com/2012/08/v234-what-kind-of-heel-is-that-quick.html

If we can take this woman at her word, the closest I can see in this article to the shoes I've got is a Spanish heel, although it's an imperfect fit. The problem is that all of these names are historical names, and my shoes are relatively new by comparison, with much higher heels than any of the shoes pictured (or in several cases, not pictured) in this article.

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