Thing that remains a mystery

As detailed in my previous post I have learnt much on this trip, but one thing remains a mystery:

How do women get around in high heels on cobble stone streets without destroying their ankles?

Every European city we’ve visited has had much cobble-stoneage and yet almost all the women are in high heels. It is bewildering. I have gone over on my ankles wearing the most comfortable and supportive of footwear. No harm was done because my beloved boots have non-ankle-spraining super powers. Yay boots!

I saw one woman get her heel stuck between stones. She came to a sudden and whip-lash looking halt, before bouncing about, trying to extricate herself. She was promptly rescued by a kind gentleman (who unlike me didn’t stand their giggling helplessly) and tottered off on her way as if nothing had happened. But that’s the only mishap I’ve seen. I suspect there are high-heels-on-cobble-stones training camps all over Europe.

Paris continues to be fabulous. Even without cobble stone related accidents. I don’t want to go home.

20 comments

  1. lunamoth on #

    I suspect that women (like myself) who wear heels a LOT, tend to develop a certain amount of flexibility and strength in their ankles specific to that particular exercise.

  2. Carrie R. on #

    I’ve always wondered that same thing, honestly!

  3. claire on #

    i think you’re supposed to walk on the balls of your feet.

    heh. balls.

  4. Ted Lemon on #

    It’s that whole Nietzschian “that which does not kill me makes me stronger” thing. European women are tough.

  5. Mary P on #

    I think you have to be born in Paris to navigate those cobble streets in heels–because they all do. Me, I’m a flat person all the way.

    And sigh–that “vicious” pup is so cute.

  6. doselle on #

    My mother used to get some kind of sinister enjoyment from watching other women fumble in their heels while she, herself, seemed able to glide effortlessly over practically any and all manner of urban terrain. Best I can imagine it must be some kind of arcane, learned skill–like Parkour or, perhaps, y’know, lion-taming.

    Good luck with that. Bet you’re happy your ankles have been toughened up by all those years roaming around in the outback or, more likely, honed by your elite tastes in designer footwear.

    Rock on!

  7. hillary! on #

    HA! I know what you mean.
    I always wear flats. Always. But one day I had this strange urge to wear Prada Milano 6 inchers (hand me downs from reallt rich lady my tia works for, I could never aford those shoes, but they are pretty!) to school.
    I walk to school.
    My heel got stuck in one of those little holes in manhole covers.

  8. Celsie on #

    I think it has to do with how early and how often you “borrowed” your mom’s or older sister’s shoes growing up.

    I’ve always had foot problems, so I didn’t totter around as much as my friends do. I have a friend who can dance in four inch heels for hours, while I can barely stay on my inch slip ons for even a third of that much time.

    And in Europe, they must have face planted while it was still cute to do, instead of when it would have been devastatingly embarrassing.

  9. Mahek on #

    We’re all used to it. although I don’t wear heals as much as I used to since I’ve sprained the same ankle four times.

  10. dragonfly on #

    One of the many reasons I never wear high heels. 😛

  11. Gabrielle on #

    Well. I personally manage to twist my ankles in the grass in flip-flops. So I suppose I’m not born to be European.

  12. Hillary! on #

    I’ve done that too Gabrielle. I wasn’t even running. To me, it seems more embarassing than painful.

  13. Ted Lemon on #

    Gabrielle and Hillary, sounds like you both need to do something to strengthen your ankles. I’m not sure wearing high heels is the right thing, because they’re actually bad for your feet, but wearing them will strengthen your ankles…

  14. Patrick on #

    I saw a woman lose her heel in either a crack or grate or something on 6th ave in NYC this week.

    I think heels are just dangerous regardless. But Dang sexy, so, ladies, keep on risking life and limb for appearances.

  15. Patrick on #

    Wow, I’m in the moderated queue and I didn’t even mention unico—.

  16. dami on #

    I must be strange in that I’m more likely to twist my ankle in flats – can walk in heels no probs. don’t know why – just weirdness.

  17. Mahek on #

    I always sprain my ankle in flat shoes. The first time was when I was walking down stairs. The second time was when I was sitting down. The third time was when I was running down steps and the fourth time was when I was in a wood and was running up a hill. I slipped in wet mud since it had been raining.

    I try not to run these days. But I love spraining my ankle. It gives me a reason to not do any school work or coursework. But I HATE the pain.

    But I am a natural when in heels. I can run in them but I get wobbly if it is 3 inches (about 9 cm) or more.

  18. Mike on #

    Not to mention ‘high heels while riding a Velib on the Boulevard St Germain.
    A toute vitesse, and not a helmet in sight. Phew!

  19. shelly rae on #

    In heels I’m just over 6 feet tall so I tend not to wear them much. But for navigating cobblestones in stilettos? The secret is to put all the weight on the balls of your feet and none on the heel at all. You sort of tip toe in those heels. Me? I’d rather wear a pair of comfy shoes.
    But those boots are clearly made for walking or something….
    Anon

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