Jump to content

Stamina and Practice in Heels


mlroseplant

Recommended Posts

So many things to think about here! First of all, I would like to submit a photograph which shows exactly what we are talking about with the rails-to-trails bike path. Although the first iterations of rails-to-trails were indeed cinder paths, they really don't screw around with that anymore. 98% of the the bike paths around here are asphalt (concrete is way too expensive and time consuming to install). As you can see in the instant example, it's been around long enough to have been extensively repaired.

Passenger rail service from my town certainly never existed in my lifetime--I can remember exploring the abandoned train station as a kid. The last freight service was solely for the grain elevator, and they only made 2 or 3 trips a year. The track was in such poor condition by the 1990s that the maximum safe speed was probably about 10 mph.

As far as the rest of the conversation goes, I have no idea how truly steep certain sections of sidewalk may or may not be in San Francisco, but it just goes to show how, in the grand scheme of things, these shoes we like to wear more than anything are highly impractical for many situations. I think it would probably be easy enough to walk in stilettos on a cinder ex-rail path (in my personal experience anyway), but you'd certainly ruin your shoes doing so. Block heels would ok for sure, but I wouldn't want to try it in platforms, even with my strong ankles. What strikes me most is the fact that we even have to have this discussion at all. Unless you've got like 500 dollar designer shoes, you don't even think about exactly what you might be walking on in flats, be it grass, gravel, steep inclines down to the street, or whatnot. And yet, we choose to put up with this inconvenience by choice on a daily basis.

SommersetTrail.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites


10 hours ago, Shyheels said:

 

I’m a little sceptical of this. We have here in Britain - in Harwich, Wales, in fact - a street which vies with another street in New Zealand as the steepest in the world. The Guinness World Records people have studied both quite closely and the respective towns have employed teams of engineers and surveyors trying to determine the winner. Both these streets are in the neighbourhood of a 35% gradient or about 19 degrees. One of them is officially the steepest in the world - I forget which, it’s gone back and forth. I’m finding it hard to believe there are all these potential world record breakers in San Francisco and that the Guinness people are seemingly unaware of it

I misread the file, it must have been in %.  But the steepest in SF is Bradford Street at 41.5%.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I checked and its Baldwin Street in Dunedin which is presently recognised as the worlds steepest street, much to the disgruntlement of the folks in Harlech, Wales.  Baldwin Street has a gradient of 35%. I did see a mention of Bradford Street but it achieves its maximum gradient for only 9 metres so not a long enough stretch to claim the prize. Bristol, over here, also has a street that steep but also only for a short section.

Safe to say none of these would be fun to walk up, in heels or flats. I have actually walked up the street in .Harlech and it was a real trudge. And I was not in heels. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Walking up is so much easier than walking down in heels, especially platforms.  I've told the story how my lady friend had to hold my arm going down a driveway, all the time laughing at me.  If the shoe fits. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Shyheels said:

Riding bicycles steep hills is also much much easier than riding down them - at least in my book

Quite the opposite in my opinion 😂

Living on the middle of a hill means you have to negotiate a climb at some point of the ride, I’d much rather get it out of the way early on and coast back!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as regular pedalling up and over hills goes, I’d rather be warmed up and do them later in the ride.

But in my earlier post I was thinking more about the really, really steep ones with 20% gradients or more. It can be scary coming down. And on passed like Wrynose, Hardknott or The Struggle (all up in the Lakes District) just plain dangerous

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just returned from Omaha, Nebraska, where my son had a show choir contest. Well actually, he's the bassist in the backing band, he's not one of those to go about singing and dancing on a stage for people. He really does a good job, even though he's less than enthusiastic about the group. It's good experience for him as a budding mercenary musician.

At any rate, that's got nothing to do with heels, except that I had to park a long, long ways away from the school building where this contest was being held, just because the event was so large. Nebraska is in general a very flat, sparsely populated state, known mostly for being way too long to drive through on your way to Colorado, and college football. However, Omaha is a river town, and the Missouri river, upon the bank of which Omaha is situated, used to be many several times bigger than it is today. Therefore, Omaha is quite a hilly city in many places, one of which is where I parked.

I did ok, but I was pretty slow, especially compared to the kids, who seem to like to run everywhere. I can run in the heels I chose to wear, but I have never tried it downhill, and it is probably inadvisable to do so. I did actually bring backup shoes with me, just in case. I did not need to be dealing with a shoe failure that far away from home.

There is really nothing out there on the internet about "How to Walk in Heels in the Real World." And really, what would such advice be? "Walking uphill OR downhill, you're going to look like you're struggling a bit, and forget about walks that are canted sideways. The best you can do is avoid falling or twisting an ankle." Or, "Walk tall and look forward off into the distance, while at the same time paying attention to what is directly in front of you, so that you don't put your heel down a crack in the sidewalk." Oh well, we do the best we can!

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mlroseplant, I lived in Omaha, Millard specifically, for 4.5 yrs. There is barely a flat spot in the city. It's a decent sized city with a broad cultural base, not what I expected when I moved there. This was back in 91 thru 96, when I really first started wearing heels. I went public a few times back then, was still worried about acceptance, a condition all of us new male heel wearers seem to struggle with. Anyway, in those few times I never had any issues.

What school did he play at?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many years ago (1997)  I had a magazine assignment which had me in Nebraska for the better part of seven weeks, travelling all over the state. I loved it. There is so much more to Nebraska, and to Omaha, than outsiders expect. And yes, Omaha is hilly!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wasn't going to mention all of it, but since we seem to have people familiar with Nebraska, I will say that Nebraska is far more interesting than most people give it credit for--once you leave Interstate 80. For one thing, it is far more geologically diverse than Iowa, you just have to be interested in such things.

@Jkrenzer, he performed at Westside Middle School. Which is a very nice, clean, well-maintained school, but absurdly huge. It is located about a mile north of I-80 at the 84th St. exit (I know you've slept at least a few times since the 90s).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I spent about seven weeks driving around the backroads from one end of the state to the other and absolutely loved it. Looking back it was one of my most enjoyable assignments, and this in thirty-odd years of trotting the globe. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, Shyheels said:

Yes, I spent about seven weeks driving around the backroads from one end of the state to the other and absolutely loved it. Looking back it was one of my most enjoyable assignments, and this in thirty-odd years of trotting the globe. 

It's particularly beautiful in late July and August when the corn and alphalfa crops are rich and green. Drive for miles and barely run across anyone or drive the small old towns sprinkled about.

Admittedly in February not so much. Miles and miles of dark brown dirt, not enough snow to cover. That can actually be a bit depressing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was there in autumn, from late September to mid November. The corn harvest was going on and the cattlemen were rounding up cattle in the Sandhills. The countryside had an autumnal bleakness that was oddly satisfying, which made stopping in the small town cafes all the more inviting. I really enjoyed it.

Edited by Shyheels
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spent about 9 months in a small town called Fairbury (south of Lincoln, near the Kansas state line) back in 1964 (or maybe 1965) - my dad was managing the cable tv company there for a while. I learned to play golf there, with my dad. The golf course was a 9-hole course, with sand greens!

Wealth is not measured by how much you have, but rather how little you need.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Aly said:

I spent about 9 months in a small town called Fairbury (south of Lincoln, near the Kansas state line) back in 1964 (or maybe 1965) - my dad was managing the cable tv company there for a while. I learned to play golf there, with my dad. The golf course was a 9-hole course, with sand greens!

I definitely learned how to play the wind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just rediscovered an old hack I'd forgotten about by accident. When I came home from work, I decided I had the energy to wear one of my higher pairs of stiletto mules to prepare supper. I move around a fair bit doing that, but nothing serious. The pair I selected is nothing crazy, at about 4 1/2" heel height. Did a little bit of light cleaning after supper, and a bit of this and that, so I was in these shoes, mostly standing and moving for about 2 1/2 or 3 hours.

So here's the hack: Because the weather was so much nicer than I had anticipated, I decided to take an evening walk. For this, I selected a sturdy pair of clogs with 4 inch effective heels (5" with 1" platform). After having been in the higher, minimalist sandals for a while, the clogs were like butter. I won't say they felt like flats, but walking in them was no effort at all.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I can't remember in which thread the subject came up before, but somewhere along the line I had decided to test out my new walking technique against stiletto heel tips, and now I have the first results. As expected, my heel tips now last twice as long as they used to.

To briefly recap the last 10+ years, I quit wearing stilettos for actual walking a long time ago because typically I got about 8 to 10 miles out of them before they needed attention, whereas with even slightly thicker heels, that mileage increased to around 40.

I then became interested in the mechanics of walking in heels, and have attempted to alter my walk, somewhat successfully, and I have discovered that I am not wearing heels out nearly as fast as I used to. This is mainly because, although I still walk heel-to-toe of course, I come down much more gently on the heel compared to the way I used to walk. At any rate, it came up in some thread somewhere, "Why don't you try stilettos again for walking, and see what happens?"

I realize this is not scientific at all, but it is interesting. The first test pair was my Shoedazzle mules, 4 5/8" in heel height, and 3/8" in heel width, and I got 16.5 miles out of them before I hit the nails. If I were willing to go down a little bit further, like @Jkrenzer, I'm sure I could have gone a few more miles yet. They now have brand new heels, and I am a bit curious to see if the feat can be repeated.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

An interesting post. What exactly is it you are doing that is making such a change in your mileage? How are you coming down more gently? A change in gait? Shorter strides? I tend to wear chunky heels so wear and tear is less of a worry, but I’d like to know how to reduce wear anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think most of it has to do with ankle flexibility, of which I still don't have any amazing amount. I don't take shorter steps than I used to, if anything I take longer steps.

It has been so long now that I don't ever remember learning to walk in high heels, or how I went about that, I just started putting miles on, and shortly after that is when I got to know the cobbler very well. What I do remember is that traditionally, even in flats, I would always wear out several heels before I would go through a sole. Guys were always talking about getting their work boots resoled, I just never had that issue.

The first thing everybody says when walking in heels is "walk heel to toe." As if you could really do it any other way. What they don't say is that the heel part of it, especially in stilettos, shouldn't really be a structural part of the stride, it's there as an aid to guide you down as you put all of the weight on the ball of your foot. Keeping this in mind, I found that the life of my heel tips, no matter what the height or style, has increased dramatically across the board, including work boots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, that's a good point - you don't use your stiletto as a fulcrum to lower yourself down, but as a guide.

I do have good ankle flexibility - although not what it once was. And I know that certainly makes a difference when it comes to walking in heels. Mind you, I do not walk in heels as high as yours, but more generally 3 to 3.5" chunky heeled boots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a fairly defined limit, which is in an amazingly narrow range. Below 4 inches has become very easy and natural for me. 4 plus change feels like a heel enough to where I'm not able to zoom around in them. Somewhere right at 4 1/2, I hit a wall, and cannot wear anything higher. Not that I can't walk in them at all, I just wouldn't want anyone to see me walking in them.

I have very little idea why I would ever want to wear such shoes, but I find the desire to work toward that goal attractive. Perhaps it is because the gold standard for designer shoes, most notably Christian Louboutin, is 120 mm. I have one pair of black pumps that emulates the style, but is actually a couple of mm short of that. I assume that in my size, U.S. 9, that the heel height would exceed five inches, or approaching 130 mm.

In order to do that, I feel like I'm getting into ballet territory, and I simply don't know if I'm capable of it. Although this photograph shows a 140mm heel from Maison Ernest, far exceeding my goal, my ankle would need to be able to do something like this. I'm not even close.

AnkleFlexibilityEx.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a pair of 120mm knee boots from Italian Heels, who scale their heels according to size to keep the lines and proportions correct - so at my size (their standard is a 38) my heels are somewhat higher than 120. I love the elegant lines on boots at this height (but no higher) but don’t get nearly enough practice in them to walk well - indeed do much more than totter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a matter of practice. I'm a U.S. women's 10 to 11, depending on make and style. I rarely wear under 120mm or over 140mm. My sweetspot is 130mm. These numbers are all based on single soles. I agree that for my size 120 to 140mm also look the best. Anything higher looks off and anything lower just don't appeal to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m afraid I simply take the easier option and go with my 3 to 3.5” chunky heeled boots - although to be fair ease is only part of the reason. I genuinely prefer my chunky heeled boots - aesthetically, speaking and in terms of my own personal style. They seem more “me” if you know what I mean.

That said I really do love the lines of 120 stiletto boots and keep meaning to put in the effort to learn to wear them 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using High Heel Place, you agree to our Terms of Use.