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On my (former) tortured love affair with high heels on and off the court


For sentimental reasons have been hanging on to the last few pairs. Actually wear a few of them in trials this year. But as 2022 comes to an end. So does my desire (mostly) to ever wear high heels again.

It started in earnest in the disco years. Attended the U of W refusing to wear the uniform of jeans and flats. Can remember walking across red square (which is brick) on my toes – even in the rain. The cobbled streets of Europe. The discos – hours and hours of dancing. All no problem. Loved the look. Didn’t mind the squeeze. Or the blisters. And because they were a minimum of 3-4” always walked with eyes on the ground so wouldn’t have a misstep and twist my ankle.

All through law school – heels. At home of course was always barefoot or in flip flops. But for any event – heels. This included every single trial have ever been in. Up until the third decade.

The single biggest event that changed my relationship with heels – was 15 years ago when Nala arrived. She may only be 25 pounds. But is ferociously strong and fast. Living in the city on a leash just meant that she would whip me this way or that. I stopped wearing heels to the office. Or anywhere that she would be with me. It just wasn’t safe.

But still any time went out, to an attorney board meeting, socially, and to trial – wore heels. Until the next big event happened in addition to Nala. In 2015, my right knee had a mechanical overuse injury from running. Ignored it. Until it turned into a balloon and could not bear weight. Six months of PT fixed it. But during that time had a trial. And for the first time ever did not wear heels.

This was a turning point. On the one hand loved how they looked. They were interwoven into my idea of being properly dressed. Also as a shorter person I felt the additional height gave me more “presence” in the courtroom.

On the other hand, especially if I was doing direct exam, that meant would be on my feet for hours at a time. There were instances where I tripped a little over the detritus that ends up in tight court quarters. Teetering but not actually falling. Even so – never thought about the option of not wearing heels. And had a whole beautiful boat load of them.

It was a slow process but sometime in my 50s, I began to fall out of love with them. Not just because of how they could hurt sometimes. But was becoming used to striding around without them. City life means walking. There were daily runs with Nala. Hiking in the mountains. Flats meant I didn’t have to think about my feet. Or scan the ground for crevasses.

In trial, the striding continued. Moved without a second glance to see what was stepping on or over. Height didn’t impact my ability to dominate the courtroom in a way that felt comfortable and true to my persona. Never experienced discomfort even if on my feet all day.

Today, I ripped through my closet pulling out the remaining few pairs of heels that had been slow to part with. Paused over a few sentimental pairs. Pressed on. Bagged them up. And hauled them away.

Photo: bye bye heels forever


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