I Used to Wear Heels Every Day...Until My Podiatrist Made Me Stop

Lately, I’ve found myself staring longingly at strangers’ feet. I don’t have a foot fetish, I swear. Instead, I’m filled with envy that these carefree individuals are just strolling around in flimsy, strappy sandals, heels that measure three inches and beyond or are simply embracing the backless freedom of a mule.

See, I used to be one of those people. In fact, I was the girl who traversed Brooklyn and New York City—subway steps and all—in heels. Every single day. The pitch of heeled shoes is comfortable for my feet and the extra height doesn’t hurt (I’m only five foot two, after all). That meant strappy Rag & Bone towering sandals in the summer, super-high Miu Miu boots in the fall, Chloé wedges to wear with dresses in the winter and a spring spent running around in loafers with a four-inch lift. However, a little voice was always whispering: “All this running around in unsupportive kicks and teetering sandals will catch up to you!”

Lo and behold, it did. And a lot earlier than I thought it would. I’m not even in my 30s, but I now wake up with foot pain nearly every day. I have a standing weekly appointment with my podiatrist. And, I’ve been banished from my daily heels habit. Sob!

The culprit is bunions, which, I often feel the need to admit, don’t outwardly look that bad. But the painful bump on the big toe joint of each foot has totally caused me to change my life. And, genetics aside, I really only have myself to blame. According to the Mayo Clinic, “[A bunion] forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out...Wearing tight, narrow shoes might cause bunions or make them worse.” Ah, yes. Turns out there was a downside to my unsupportive shoe habit. 

So, while my podiatrist has threatened surgery with a six-week recovery time and having to put metal plates in my feet, she’s also suggested that I stop wearing heels, pointy shoes and anything that my newly made (and rather expensive) orthotics can’t fit into. 

That meant a summer devoid of flip-flops and slides...and a fall that will be spent donating all of my heeled boots to the Salvation Army. I’m also focused on investing in cute flat shoes I can wear to work and on the weekend, that still feel inherently me, just without the height I love.

Here are the ten pairs of shoes that have made the transition from high heels to flat feel seamless—and still rather stylish.

I’m a Fashion Editor Here’s What I’m Buying for Fall

m gemi sacca donna
M. Gemi

M. Gemi Sacca Donna

Imagine the softest suede in the whole world. Now imagine suede just one notch softer. That’s how dreamy these wear-with-everything-even-though-they’re-royal-blue loafers are.

BUY IT ($248) 

zara animal print platform ankle boots

Zara Animal Print Platform Ankle Boots

Perhaps it’s the word “platform” in the description. Or the $70 price tag. Or the multitude of compliments I get on these bad boys, but these Zara combat boots are easily my favorite shoes I’ve bought this season.

BUY IT ($70)

tods croc effect moccasin

Tods Croc-effect Moccasin

This shade of hot pink has really been speaking to me lately and it’s all because it looks great with any shade of denim, from a faded light wash to a deep, dark indigo. These will also be the perfect pair to slip on for a Sunday filled with errands.

BUY IT ($355)

converse chuck taylor all star 70 always

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 70 Always

The details that make these high-tops different from the classic Chuck Taylors are so slight you might miss them. But the slightly slimmer toe, cream-colored rubber sole and extra stitching make these feel just a little more special than the OGs. 

saint laurent miles boot
Forward by Elyse Walker

Saint Laurent Miles Boot

Well, now I know what I’ll be spending my next paycheck on…

shop pe 770 che heize flats

Shop Pêche Heize Flats

Dainty, feminine and tied with a bow? These flats almost made me forget how much I miss heels.

BUY IT ($85)

stuart weitzman daryl sneaker
Stuart Weitzman

Stuart Weitzman Daryl Sneaker

How does one make a sneaker feel more exciting? By buying them in a shade of metallic. That’s what I did with these and I wear them from Pilates to the office...and everywhere in between.

BUY IT ($295)

dvf suede boots

Dvf Suede Boots

Naturally, anything in leopard print has a home in my closet.

BUY IT ($298)

chloe 769 c croc chelsea boot

Chloé C Croc Chelsea Boot

Combining a luxe logo and luscious faux croc, these are attention-grabbing boots that still make me feel pulled together.

longchamp freeminder

Longchamp Freeminder

This clunky dad sneaker gives me a touch of doctor-approved height.

BUY IT ($480)

dena silver headshot

Fashion Editor

From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.