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Getting high: are heels worth suffering for?

Head to head: Recently, Lyst reported that searches for platform heels were up 69 per cent month on month. But is it worth the pain? THE FACE debates.

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High heels are hardcore; not practical, comfy or easy to wear. You wake up after a night out with throbbing feet, making the already-painful hungover stumble to the fridge all the more painful. But boy, do they look good.

Heels can take jeans and an OK top and turn it into jeans and a nice top. They can transform a simple LBD into a proper knock-out, and legs that haven’t exercised in months into supermodel stompers. Beauty doesn’t always have to be pain, but with payoff like that, a few hours of discomfort feels worth it.

There’s little wonder heels are making a comeback this year. After 28 months of sliding around in slippers, Solomons and Crocs, the not-so-humble high heel offers a much-needed dose of glamour. And designers are naturally happy to oblige, spoiling us for choice when it comes to picking out the perfect pair of party shoes this season.

For twinkle toes, choose blinged-out pumps from Mach & Mach. Bit of a simpleton? Check out Gianvito Rossis take on minimalism. Or, if like Olivia Rodrigo and Ariana Grande, you like to go large, bag yourself a pair of chunky Versace platforms. And here’s a (free) tip for you: the bigger the platform, the comfier the shoe, and the more surface area you have to stop you from wobbling on the dancefloor – perfect for out of practice heel-wearers.

So step away from the slip-ons, say no to a new pair of trainers and chuck the flats out the window. Alright, fine, keep them in the back of your wardrobe. But in the meantime, take a chance and get high, baby.

Olive Pometsey, Features Editor

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There are few things more humiliating in life than falling flat on your face at a social event, and heels are the quickest route to this happening. I once saw a woman stack it down a flight of stairs at a party with free gin, and the moment where she flopped face-first onto the carpet will be burned into my memory forever. As an occasional heel-wearer, I know that breaking my nose in front of friends and family could be just around the corner.

The origin of heels goes back to the Persian army in the 10th century, where they were worn by men standing up in saddles to fire their weapons. But as time has passed, stilettos have gotten higher and designers seemingly keener to inflict as much pain on your feet as they can, rather than enable you to do your job more efficiently.

Whenever the time comes for me to wear heels (only at weddings, basically) there’s a point in the night where I find myself massaging the balls of my feet instead of what I’d rather be doing, which is dancing to UK garage. As someone with stupidly small feet (50 per cent off children’s shoes, baby!), this has the effect of concentrating your entire body weight on a critically small space. I recently bought a pair of heels (white faux fur, tiny Y2K-esque chain linking the strap, perspex heel) only to find I could take about four steps around my flat before my calves gave out.

I won’t lie, I love how heels look – give me square toes, spiralling diamanté lace-ups and puffy Bottega straps any day – but please, I beg you, make me able to walk in them. Mules are the devil: I’ll never understand how a single piece of fabric can secure a shoe to your foot for an entire day. In more comforting news, anti-suffering styles seem to be all the rage right now: block heels, platform Mary Janes, and the Martini-glass heel of Amina Muaddi are all looks that’ll put less pressure on your trotters. So this is a plea for all shoe designers to please, think about me.

Felicity Martin, Deputy Editor

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Alright, there’s a strong case for both. But on the whole, it’s a resounding yes to heels. Stock up on the gel soles and take breathers. Hang on to your mate’s shoulder, and feel free to kick them off in the kebab shop come the end of the night. We’re getting high.

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