It’s a centuries-old debate and one that extends beyond mere fashion. It speaks to a person’s right to wear what they like and like what they wear. Flats vs. heels: it’s about personal freedom as much – if not more – than style.
So, which one reigns supreme?
Let’s take a look.
Heels vs. Flats
While women are the ones who most often sport heels today, heels had their humble beginnings in the world of men’s fashion. Throughout history, they were designed to make men look taller, and accentuate their calf muscles – the epitome of male virility and power. They were first created in Persia – modern day Iran, thus joining the ranks of other world-renowned inventions that came out of this area, including Venetian blinds and the bagpipes. This original intent was based more on practicality than style, as heels were used to secure the foot in the stirrups when riding. However, they were soon adopted around the world and lauded for their stature-enhancing capabilities.
Eventually, this men’s fashion staple was appropriated by women, much like pants, trench coats and the peacoat. Many women love heels for the same reasons as their earlier enthusiasts: they can do wonders for one’s physique. Heels instantly make legs look longer and more sculpted, and they give your rear end a little lift.
Flats, on the other hand, don’t do as much to add length and lift to your lower body. However, unlike heels, flats aren’t as likely to cause chronic and acute pain, or degenerative diseases in muscles, joints, ligaments and discs. Heels have a long and well-documented history of causing serious problems for wearers, ranging from lower pack pain to permanent shortening of the Achilles tendon when donned habitually. This can make walking without heels extremely painful.
Win for Wearability: FLATS
It’s safe to say that flats take the field open when it comes to the well-being of our bodies, through heels can be worn on occasion without physical detriment.
But what about pure fashion? Heels or flats?
Considerations of bodily health aside, even a die-hard ballet flat lover can’t deny that aesthetically speaking, heels are beautiful, and they look incredible when worn. Let’s face it: a pair of killer heels adds more sophistication to a sleek LBD than a pair of flats ever could. Even the most amazing flats. Heels have way more wow-factor.
Of course, we’re talking about what look the wearer is trying to achieve. A pair of flats is a hands-down win if you are going for Audrey Hepburn chic, whereas heels are in if you’re trying to evoke Grace Kelly.
So which takes the fashion category?
This is a two-pronged answer: Heels win for all out aesthetic prowess. They demand attention by making the wearer stand out by literally standing taller. And for those of us who look like a newborn deer when we try to wear heels, we can appreciate that someone successfully strutting along in a pair of stilettos is a sight to behold.
However, when it comes to style in general, either heels or flats can be worn with equal measures of success. It depends on your desired look, and this is why which reigns supreme when it comes to the general category of fashion is going to be a matter of personal taste. When you feel comfortable wearing a something, you’re going to be confident, and fashion that empowers is always the fashion that’ll reign, no contest.