These heels might actually kill you.


Via Huffington Post
I’m not a big follower of fashion, or a wearer of high heels, but these shoes are out of control. Apparently they are, unsurprisingly, the invention of the male designer, Alexander McQueen.

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66 Comments

  1. PDXHopeful
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    They look like Bedazzled pointe shoes with a heel stuck on…

  2. Brianna G
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I’m all for heels, but there is definitely a point where they become dangerous– and not in the “wear them to work every day for your life and you’ll have back and knee problems” sense, but rather, the “fall and break your neck” sense.
    These are firmly in the breaking one’s neck category. Good lord.

  3. johninbuffalo
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I can’t see why anyone would want to wear these. They don’t even look attractive. Pain for no reason…

  4. FrumiousB
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Really, Miriam, isn’t this a bit of an exaggeration? As is the HuffPo article? I see no actual structural analysis to indicate that these heels are any less stable than other high-heeled shoes. If you look closely at the design, the foot inside the shoe is probably in the same position as a foot in a moderately-heeled shoe, say 3 inch heels. The base of the front portion of the shoe is just similar in area to the toe portion of many high-heeled shoes on the market. Scaremongering is an inappropriate form of feminist analysis.

  5. me and not you
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    No one who wears heels would actually wear them out anywhere. They are fashion as “art”. I seriously doubt that the designer intends anyone to wear them. This is said as someone who tends towards very tall stilettos (though I can’t wear them very often because they make my toes go numb and cramp).
    I think they’re kind of neat looking–kind of like sparkly fetishwear. I would probably try them on just to see if I could stand up in them, which is highly doubtful if you look at how the toe isn’t flat and appears to be slightly off kilter froom the heel. If you could actually keep your balance, though, I bet that makes it easier to walk in them. And I want to see the inside, how it’s constructed, whether or not it’s a platform or en-pointe style shoe…

  6. feministtexican
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Actually, I saw the photos from this runway show and instantly fell in love. Now, I would never ever wear them (because a. they’re not really “real world” shoes, and b. I would break my neck in less than 2 seconds, guaranteed)? But they looked awesome with the sci-fi-esque outfits. *ducks*

  7. jellyleelips
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    In defense of McQueen, his designs are not meant to be worn as they are presented on the runway. Some of his dresses wouldn’t fit in a doorway, let alone a one-story building. His avant-garde aesthetic generally includes garments and shoes that are completely unwearable, but his couture is really meant to be art. A lot of the more outrageous and painful heels in fashion shows are truly never meant to be worn besides by the models whose job it is to be muses.

  8. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Come on, guys, you do realize that Alexander McQueen is an ARTIST who creates unusual fashion that’s not meant to be worn, right?
    This is art and not something women can wear. Chill out.

  9. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I agree, I think those shoes are very beautiful, unusual and very artistic. I am also curious what the shoes look like inside, etc.

  10. Miriam
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I can’t win with you all! Of course I know it’s runway fashion, not shoes you can buy at your local Macy’s.
    Humor folks.

  11. RetractableClause
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    These really aren’t that novel. They’ve been in fetish stores for years (in black/red of course, not this sparkly stuff, lol!).
    For those wondering about the construction, they really are very similar to ballet pointe shoes with a heel. As a dancer, I’d say they’re about the same as walking in pointe shoes: uncomfortable but strangely satisfying. One of the fetish shops around here only lets you try them on if you have a dance background, because you really could hurt yourself on them.
    Then again, they aren’t for walking in, they’re for sitting/kneeling/laying/etc. in.
    Kinda funny to see them on a couture runway… Where is McQueen hanging out these days?

  12. jellyleelips
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Though, in defense of Miriam for posting this, there really is no such thing as “just art.” Even if THESE heels are unwearable by most women and are not even supposed to be worn by most women, they do nothing to counter the barrage of media images that normalize heels for women. And, high heels are undeniably a tool of women’s oppression (cue heel-wearers jumping in to defend themselves). Not to mention the stigma that is then placed against men who wear heels because of the equation of heels with femininity in the modern media, and the stigma against women who don’t wear heels.

  13. Cicada Nymph
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    These just remind me of the unnatural and uncomfortable and limiting of movement and personal agency and forms of oppression and sexism that comes to mind when I see pictures of feet that have been mutilated and bound in other cultures. I personally find this shoe provokes an uneasy response and repulsion in me instead of any kind of aesthetic admiration.

  14. Theaetetus
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    It’s not fair to blame other people for failing to get your joke, Miriam, particularly when the majority of posters “didn’t get it”. Instead, just make a humble apology and bow out.

  15. jellyleelips
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Oh, and in case people do chime in to defend their heel-wearing ways and think I’m chastising them: in my view, appropriating traditionally feminine clothing, makeup, shoes, hair treatments, etc. as part of your personal style is feminist. For example, if you feel that five-inch heels and eyelash curling exemplify your personal style and make you feel the most like YOU, that is feminist. That fact does not make those items or practices immune to critique in the light that, in some instances, they are not feminist. Context context context.

  16. susanstohelit
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Why should Miriam “humbly” apologize? She was pointing out that these shoes are ridiculous – which they are. What’s wrong with that? Yes, high fashion is often meant to be art, rather than something women wear in their daily lives, but art is something which should be critiqued. Just dismissing these shoes by saying “ooh pretty” without considering larger implications is irresponsible. I see these shoes as extreme exaggerations of the often ridiculous shoes women DO wear – and I suspect rather than criticizing the lengths women go to for fashion, McQueen is rather fetishizing high heels (and the restrictions they place on women’s movement). Women are meant to be seen and not heard – or, in this case, not able to walk in a normal fashion. You may disagree, but asking Miriam to “apologize” for this post is insulting.

  17. Suzy Q
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I kind of wish they would make these a dress code requirement for male fashion designers to wear to work every day.

  18. SaraLaffs
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the shoes are avant-garde and meant to represent general trends that will trickle down to department stores. But the thing is, though, that somebody *does* have to wear them – the model. In the last few years, I’ve gotten addicted to shows like “Project Runway” and “Make Me a Supermodel.” It’s striking how silent the models usually are in runway fashion. It’s just – shut up, put on this ridiculous (and probably uncomfortable) outfit and look dramatic. Oh, and if you object to the chattel treatment, there are 100 other models ready to take your place. It’s ugly, and it makes me feel sorry for anyone who wants to be a professional model.

  19. voluptuouspanic
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the shoes are art. Yes, art should be open to critique. My frustration is the “unsuprisingly male” bit. Female designers come up with some ridiculous things, too.
    I actually think those shoes are fantastic and far tamer than some I’ve seen on the runway, in magazines, or in shoe museums. And that’s not just me blindly saying “ooh pretty”.
    Because I appreciate the artist aspirations of such footwear does not mean I’m ignoring or do not know the broader implications of the social construction of the female body. Rather, I appreciate the exaggeration and potential mockery of these standards. But I also love fashion and costumes for their performative aspects.

  20. voluptuouspanic
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I used to model and I think that’s kind of a limited view of professional models. It’s not all just looking pretty. There’s a skill set involved, including the ability to wear shoes that most people can’t pull off. Yes, there are problems with the modeling industry, but I find your pity for people who are to be or are professional models kind of patronizing.

  21. bifemmefatale
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    It didn’t come off as humor to me either, Miriam. And a mod using a tone argument equivalent to “lighten up” or “don’t you have a sense of humor” on commenters when she doesn’t like the comments, really? Strikes me as fail.

  22. Sleepy
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see heels as being inherently harmful or sexist the same way footbinding is inherently harmful and sexist. Context matters a lot.
    Please note: I never wear heels. I sometimes get subtle pressure to do so from various sources (mostly ads). Of course this is a patriarchal dynamic. So I would agree with anyone on that point. It’s not so much that “heels=sexy” as much as “sexy=required” that defines the patriarchy.
    But outside of the context of modern Western culture, heels aren’t necessarily terrible. Western men used to wear them centuries ago, and it was a sign up being upper-class. They may be silly and they may cause damage in the long term, but the main INTENTION is not foot alteration/damage the way that footbinding creates a permanent change (and was done to infants). Enhancement-oriented cosmetic surgery is more analogous to foot-binding, and that’s not typically done to children in the U.S.
    As far as a (female) feminist wearing heels – what matters the most is what’s going on in her head, and that’s too subtle for anyone to judge except for the feminist herself.

  23. Theaetetus
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    You’re right. I’m sorry.

  24. Toongrrl
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    My goodness, these shoes look awful. I’d spend my monney on something more worthwhile, Miram.

  25. allegra
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, these are definitely fetish shoes. I’ve seen them in BDSM porn, etc. A friend of mine owns a pair that I tried on; it was actually like standing on your tippy-toes, i.e., it was basically impossible for me to stand in them. In other heels and ballet soft (training) shoes, you’re on the ball of the foot, and the ball of the foot at least doesn’t put all your weight on the toe joints. But these shoes would put an inordinate amount of weight on toes that aren’t strong or developed enough to handle it. I dance, too, and I love ballet and have studied feminist issues within ballet, but any dance trainer or injury-prevention expert would agree these would damage a non-dancer’s feet and toes.
    There’s a reason ballet dancers aren’t allowed to go right into pointe work. It takes years of training to properly strengthen one’s ankles and foot muscles to prepare for (also distorting and painful) pointe work.
    I personally think they’re ugly – and I normally love sparkly shit. Give me a trained dancer in pointe shoes any day.

  26. FLT
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Sigh.
    Who cares if it’s called ART?
    What’s artistic about impeding a woman’s ability to walk? Or, more specifically, what is cool about impeding a woman’s ability to walk that wouldn’t be just as cool on a man?? If it’s art, why isn’t it for male feet?
    Oh, it would be silly, insulting and emasculating to hobble a MAN. I get it. (snark.)

  27. Sabo
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    It looks like a hoof

  28. stellarose
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Radical feminist Sheila Jeffries writes a lot of McQueen in her book “Beauty and Misogyny”. Great read for anyone who is interested in high heels in particular, or fashion in general.

  29. SaraLaffs
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think I made myself clear. When I said that I feel sorry for aspiring models, I wasn’t thinking, “Oh the poor little things; they have no idea how they’re about to be exploited.” I’m sure most aspiring models know exactly what’s involved in the profession. My feelings come from watching human beings treated like coat hangers, with no real concern for their comfort. I couldn’t handle that. You could – more power to you.

  30. rebekah
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it is all about context. For me personally heels actually do help (I have knee problems that stem from the way my body sits normally and lifting my back end into a different position allows the pressure that it causes on my knee to be released and moves it to my feet which do not have problems. So for me wearing heels is an empowering thing. But I know women who hate wearing them and do it anyways because their SO wants them to or their company dress code insists on heels. That is oppression, but for my purposes it is not

  31. ktncro
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    they look like elephants. no judgement. i just feel like they look like elephants.

  32. Brianna G
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think these are ballet heels; it takes a ballerina to walk a runway in those. I think the inside is probably a standard foot position, with the outside design overemphasized to make them appear more like ballet heels. They’re very chunky for a real ballet heel.

  33. a.k.a.wandergrrl
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ll admit, I don’t work in fashion or modeling, but I do work in the theatre. My experience has been that actors are usually thrilled to get to wear wildly bizarre costumes like these shoes. It might take some practice, but how fun!

  34. Brianna G
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t these bulky for ballet heels? Looking at them, they look much chunkier than ballet heels normally do, and it looks like you could easily fit a bent foot in there and just disguise it with the padding over the top.
    I doubt it would be a good idea to have runway models wearing real ballet heels. It’s one thing to carefully walk around the bedroom or sit to pose for a shoot, but unless he hired professional ballerinas, a jaunty runway walk would be impossible.

  35. Darkmoon
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Those things are disgusting. Fashion can go blow itself, it’s all ugly and I’d rather look good and avoid breaking my neck.

  36. kissmymango
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    “Apparently they are, unsurprisingly, the invention of the male designer, Alexander McQueen.”
    Not to mention puke-inducingly ugly. I wonder, does MR. McQueen ever deign to try his creations on, or does he only visit these horrors on women?

  37. Russell
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    These are fabulous. When it gets to this point, I think, fashion is less about objectifying bodies than pushing the limits of physics, which is an exciting thing in art. They remind me of Leigh Bowery.

  38. Brittany
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    So because she’s a mod, Miriam can’t make a joke or state her opinions?
    Feminists aren’t afraid to state their opinions, and I understand where she’s coming from. Those shoes look painful and ridiculous and dangerous, and instead people are going “I really don’t understand where you’re coming from…DEY’RE SPARKLY AND PERDY”.
    The point is that men don’t have to deal with shoes that can break their ankles, it’s just that women will put up with it and even encourage it, as shown in this article.

  39. Logrus
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Female designers have never made uncomfortable or impractical clothing. Good to know, thanks for the insight.

  40. allegra
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I can’t be sure, and I thought about that, but just from eyeballing them, I doubt it. They would need to stick out further in the front to accommodate that. In any case, there’s going to be abnormal pressure on the foot; they’re probably in a more uncomfortable position than regular heels.

  41. allegra
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    But perhaps you’re right. It would be really hard to walk a runway in them otherwise.

  42. allegra
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Female designers come up with some ridiculous things, too.
    This is true. Though I think if you look at women’s fashion throughout history, men have had a great influence on both designing and “enforcing” the wearing of uncomfortable and painful clothes. e.g., While I don’t know who designed the corset, it was closely tied up with beauty standards (often based on the male gaze, or on looking good for men rather than oneself) and class, and ideas of Victorian feminine propriety (and/or sexualization). And we really need to acknowledge that even women’s fashion is still a largely male-dominated game, in terms of designers and who’s making the money. See http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/08/fashion/thursdaystyles/08FASHION.html?ex=1291698000&en=6b4f8d3bed20e670&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss .
    Susan Faludi had a great (and funny) chapter on fashion and the rise of lingerie in _Backlash_ that highlighted men’s influence on fashion.

  43. Cicada Nymph
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    No, of course it wasn’t humor, she seriously meant that these shoes can literally kill you. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  44. gothicguera
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Agreed and first of all Define “art” it was Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, sculpture, and paintings. The meaning of art is explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics. or his conception changed during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as “a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science”. (this is from wikipedia) I even it is art it is very ugly art. (I’m trying to say that art should be pretty)

  45. gothicguera
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Oops i means to type “I’m not trying to say”
    my bad.

  46. allegra
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Um, no one was even making that claim. It’s just a bit, shall I say, typical, for men to design something totally outlandish and impractical for women to wear. Something that he himself would probably never wear, nor would most members of his own gender. Something that is, in fact, PHYSICALLY UNCOMFORTABLE to wear and that one wouldn’t wear in her normal life or to work or school or chasing kids around.

  47. Lorna Catherine Thomas
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I take it that most of you aren’t familiar with the works of Orlan, Rebecca Horn, or many other prominent feminist performance artists?
    It’s all very well to critique art, but please try to do so objectively; and please remember that much art is, itself, a critique of sorts. You cannot take it at face value. Speaking from an informed perspective I can tell you with some confidence that these shoes, like much of McQueen’s work, are in fact a witty critique of the wider fashion industry themselves.

  48. Alexander
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, so your just assuming he doesn’t wear high heels? That’s very heterocentric of you.
    And it is Physically Uncomfortable, but those were not designed for women’s wear. It is an art.

  49. Lorna Catherine Thomas
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    it’s an important text. Nit sure I could describe it as a ‘good read’ though

  50. Alexander
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    So your assuming he hasn’t worn them? Then your assuming those are what are brought to market? What happened to freedom to express oneself in art?

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