Heels versus flat shoes: what’s cooler, stilettos or ballet flats?


In the retina, a woman at the top with a skirt suit and jacket with marked shoulders, and some infinite heel stilettos. In the reality of 2024, a woman also with power in a pantsuit and flat shoes. Why can you do without the heel today without giving up glamour?

To answer this question We quote two women, one who has founded her business on the flat, and another, a fashion historian, who firmly believes that “the role played by a heel is not played by a flat shoe.”

Two women, two opinions

The first is Isabel Moralejo, creator of the shoe brand Adeba, chosen a few days ago by Queen Letizia for a day of work at the APRAMP headquarters in Madrid, when she wore black pants, a tweed jacket and patent leather ballet flats with a bracelet.

The two chatters at one point during the talk.

The two chatters at one point during the talk.FELIPE DAZ DE VIVAR

The second, Amalia Barefoot, fashion historian, professor at ISEM Fashion Business School, entity of the University of Navarra that has joined the Museum of Costume and the Prado Museum to organize a conference on fashion in the 18th century in Spain, which will be held on September 18, 19 and 20 of this year.

In search of cool

Let’s get into the matter and define positions. While Amalia defends heels especially in certain situations, Isabel assures that “there are more options” and that trends are now going the other way: “It is much cooler to wear a flat shoe. Style is not about being tall, which is what the heel gives you, but many other things, the way to combine the clothes, the mix of colors and fabrics, the proportions… There are people who believe that with a little black dress and a heel they can go anywhere, and maybe it is much more stylish to wear that same LBD with a dancer “That look is going to attract more attention.”

Accustom the eye

But for that we have to fight against what we have been seeing for many years both on the aesthetic and social levels. Amalia goes back in time to remember that the heel emerged in men’s footwear and that the person who wore it best was none other than Louis XIV, the Sun King, which made it something exclusive to the court.

Amalia Descalzo, ISEM professor.

Amalia Descalzo, ISEM professor.FELIPE DAZ DE VIVAR

That’s right, the heel has always been associated, as Isabel points out, “with the prestige and high society.” Why? Actually, because throughout history it has been worn by people who did not work, or worked little. “Not wearing mules at the beginning of the 18th century was being out of fashion. After the French Revolution,” Amalia recalls, “neoclassicism arrived, with what it meant was imitation of Greek statues, and with the tunic-type dresses of that time the heels did not fit at all, so they were thrown away. “It was in the middle of the 19th century when they recovered.”

The dictates of fashion

A question of fashions that come and go, then? For Isabel yes, who reviews how in the latest catwalks the heel has practically been conspicuous by its absence and how the street style photos, in which the true experts in trends show off their looks on the streets of the main capitals, from New York to Paris and Milan or Copenhagen nowadays never wear stilettos. “You’re not going to see a Chiara Ferragni in a classic Louboutin, As happened before,” he says, “now all luxury brands present their flat models: Miu Miu has its ballet flats, just like Margiela, Alaa, Prada, Chanel, Ferragamo or Roger Vivier, and this and the street have forced Louboutin, Jimmy Choo or Aquazzura included them in their catalogues, as low-cost brands have also done. Zara has gone from having three ballet flat models to 20 or 30.”

The other aspect that must be taken into account is that “we have established concepts and aesthetics in our memory, and now we must accustom our eyes,” says Amalia, “the first time I saw a black dress with red sneakers, I was surprised and “I got the impression that there wasn’t a good dialogue between those pieces.” Indeed, for many years there has been a rule to follow, but now, according to the two interviewees, this It has broken.

Heel for everyday?

Also the choice between heel and flat has a lot to do with the current lifestyle. “Since the history of fashion began,” says Amalia, “we have always been looking for more comfortable garments, and that is where we are getting to now,” to which she adds: “The shoe is a fundamental accessory and is according to the moment in which we have lived”.

Can someone put on stilettos at 8 in the morning to run to take the children to school, spend the day at work, pick them up, go to the supermarket or attend an afterwork event? “Life is not for wearing heels”, Isabel states bluntly, but Amalia qualifies this statement: “I defend it for that situation of rupture of everyday life, the moment of glamour. Of course, if we apply common sense we cannot carry it all day, it is as if we had to drive with a miriaque”.

Heel and glamor

From this last statement it follows that there is no glamor without a heel, something with which Isabel does not agree at all. “A flat shoe can be the center of your look and in fact my shoes are as good for a party as they are with jeans, they are being bought a lot for events. For example, if you wear a simple black dress and some fuchsia ballet flats with diamond decorations, you will attract attention.”

Isabel Moralejo, founder of the Adeba shoe brand.

Isabel Moralejo, founder of the Adeba shoe brand.FELIPE DAZ DE VIVAR

But isn’t it true that a woman in a good heel feels more confident about herself? For Isabel this is nothing more than “a psychological effect, a placebo effect.” And Amalia explains this sensation by the property of the heel being “an extension of the self”, that allows women to feel bigger, more powerful.

Height, but not style

Something they seem to agree on is that the heel is stylish. Here Isabel says with humor: “It certainly stylizes, but it stylizes in height, it doesn’t give more style. And be careful, because you have to always keep the proportions, “If a woman who is 1.60 meters tall wears 12 centimeter heels, it is unsightly.” To which Amalia adds an also important point: “You have to know how to walk in heels.”

And they both remember the pain they cause in their feet half an hour after being at a party – “and in their back,” adds Isabel – and “pleasure” How do you feel when you take them off when you get home?

The conclusions

As a conclusion to the talk, Isabel Moralejo, after confessing that she herself married some dancers, makes a request to the readers: “Let people not close and I thought it would look more elegant with a heel. It’s going to go higher, yes, but nothing more. I remember that the great top Ins de la Fressange said: ‘Ask any man if he is going to love you more for wearing heels or not.'”

And Amalia is inclined to continue defending its use: “Yes, wear heels at some point and with some dress. You must always have some in that wardrobe, like a black dress. Well worn, It gives you a presence that the plane does not give you. But one of the achievements we have achieved is precisely this: having that freedom and that personality to say: ‘I wear what I want.'”

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