Hello Flats!

Even while working in retail and standing for many hours each day, I wore high heels for most of my adult life.

Last month I began to experience aching legs at bedtime, making it very difficult to fall asleep. As we age, our circulatory system, muscles, and even our skeletal structure changes. The soles of our feet at the ball start to become thinner. Our gait and balance will also start to change over time. All these things combine to make heels and the results of wearing them very unpleasant.

I still want to slip into a pair of heels as I am getting dressed, but my body now reminds me that I need to honor this life stage by not wearing heels so often. This change requires a few wardrobe tweaks. Heels make everything I wear look better because they give me the leg-lengthening effect I need to balance with my upper body. I will occasionally wear some of my more comfortable heels in the evenings, but flats and low wedges are now my regular daytime shoes. Please keep visiting this blog site as I work out all these details and share what I learn with you.

We often enjoy Sunday brunch at the Grove Park Inn in Ashville, North Carolina. On a recent rainy Sunday, we took the hour-long drive through the mountains to enjoy another afternoon at the resort.

An upscale boutique located inside the resort is named Cloth. I almost always take a walk through to see what is new.

After dining, shopping, and taking a walk through the magnificent old building, we stopped for a rest in the Great Hall.

My look included a white linen jacket by Calvin Klein via Stein Mart last year with the scarf I purchased at Celeste’s in Blowing Rock after looking for a square silk scarf for three months last summer. The black tank top and pants are from Chico’s last year. The bag is from Express. The shoes are by Nine West from last year. Pointed toes elongate the leg and look more dressed up than shoes with rounded toes.

  1. All good points Susan. As we get older, we should incorporate balance exercises into our workout routines.
    Years of running ruined my feet, so I had to give up heels a few years earlier than you did, although I have kept one pair for going out to dinner – they are literally on my feet only to walk in and out of the restaurant LOL.

  2. I appreciate your blog and the way you explain the looks presented and how the elements pull together. Thank you for the lower heels and flats! You manage to do it all with such panache ! Love the gold pointed flats.

  3. I do love your heels and they look fabulous on you, but I haven’t been able to wear heels for quite a while. I am really looking forward to seeing your style with flats. You look just as classy in flats!

  4. So, did you purchase that black and white jacket? I could tell by that grin on your face that you really liked it! It’s so you! I know what you mean about wearing more flats after 60! I am 67 and I feel like someone let the air out of the bottoms of my feet!! 24 hours after I’ve worn heels (and not even that high a heel), my hips hurt for the next 2 days! But that’s ok, I am constantly adjusting and growing in every of my life! Thanks for the post!

  5. I assumed that some kind of health reason was going to be the answer! So glad to know….inquiring minds and all that!
    You are truly an inspiration, Susan. I have also realized the importance of healthy feet & legs these last few years. I am spending more $ on quality shoes than I ever thought I would, that’s for sure!
    But I can’t spend $ on ugly shoes….I just can’t!!! You have inspired me to clean out my closet and get rid of some of those heels from years ago!!!
    Keep up the good fight!

  6. The highest heel I have worn for years is 2 inch, due to foot surgery while in my 20s. So I’ve always looked for attractive flats, which is sometimes hard to find. Add to that I must have a wide width and that seriously limits the options available. Thankfully, the internet = and especially Nordstrom online – has a pretty large selection. Good luck with your new experience with flats. I look forward to seeing what you choose.

    I hope you and MM have a great weekend.

  7. I have been told my a few doctors and physical therapist that as we age our feet are the first thing to give us problems. After having problems with my feet only good flat shoes for me. I walk a lot and if I can’t walk at least a mile in my shoes, they don’t belong in my closet.

  8. Thank you for continuing to educate with your blogs. You are so right about taking care of our feet and adjusting to changes in our aging bodies. I quit wearing 3″ and higher heels many years ago but have found that anything lower than 2″ bothers my back. I also have extremely high arches and, therefore, any shoe I wear must have good arch support. I tend to avoid pointed toe shoes because there’s not enough room in the toe box to allow the toes to do their job properly. They also can cause corns between the toes if the shoes don’t fit properly and the toes are jammed too far into the pointed section of the shoe.

    1. I have never experienced the problem of not enough room in the toe box with pointed toe shoes, so I didn’t know to talk about that. Thank you for mentioning it.

    2. I find that if I buy a half sizer larger when a shoe has a pointed toe, it eliminates that cramped toe box problem

  9. I have narrow feet and have never found high heels comfortable. There is less surface area to support your body weight with narrow feet, so this makes sense.

    Wedge heels are my favorite for the arch support they provide. I wear flats, too, but a bit of a heel is better. My doctor would prefer that I wear sneakers all the time because they have foot science and engineering working for them, but that day hasn’t come yet. It may, some day, just not yet.

  10. I’ll be interested to see what other flats and sandals you come up with. I can’t bear the pressure of closed-toe shoes on my toenails – OUCH! Toe boxes are so shallow, I don’t understand how anyone puts up with that. Makes buying smart, comfortable shoes a real challenge.

  11. I hear ya! I had to stop the high heels and it was tough but I finally accepted it. I still wear a wedge or small heels for dress occasions, but flats most of the time. I can only wear heels short periods of time and when I know I will be sitting most of the time. Ah, the fun times of getting older. I will be 63 in July.

  12. Hi Susan,

    I have had two back injuries due to my work as a nurse in my 20’s so I don’t often wear heels. I have found a few brands that make fashionable (read not old lady looking) shoes and I can wear their heels if they are below 21/2 inches. Two brands I wear often are b.o.c. and soft style, both moderately priced.


  13. I have a pair of pointed toe shoes and they crunch my toes. Should I be buying the next size up?
    As always, your taste is impeccable.

  14. Being 5’7″, I never felt the need to wear heels except for small, kitten type ones. There are some great flats out there so now is a good time to explore the possibilities. There are definitely changes to our feet as we age and we do lose the fatty pads on the bottoms. Living in the city and walking a lot on concrete as well as working p/t in retail which entails standing for long periods of time, you learn to take care of these babies so that they continue to serve you well.

  15. That one simple tip: pointed toes elongate the leg. I thought they made my feet look big (size 9)! Thank you! Love reading your blog.

  16. I am so sorry you have having to give up (most of?) your beloved heels. You look fantastic in them and even as I shook my head in despair that *I* could never wear them or pull off your styles, I admired how you looked.

    But I’m excited to hear how you will style flatter shoes. The pointy toe tip is a good start! Hmmmm.

  17. Welcome to the low heel part of your life! Sigh. I’m 72 and had a lot of foot pain when I was 65. The podiatrist told me it was essential to wear shoes with arch support, roomy toe box, and soles that had cushioning. It eliminates a lot of problems. Examined all my shoes and threw out about 20 pairs of shoes that were il-fitting – no arch support, thin soled, narrow toe box, etc. Fortunately these days there are a lot of comfort shoe manufacturers that offer really stylish shoes that are also good to your feet. I look forward to seeing what shoes you find and incorporate into your already stylish wardrobe!

  18. Susan,
    Your higher heels were great but your new journey in flats/wedges will be helpful to so many! I am your age and have recently switched to kitten heels when I need a bit of lift (in keeping with the general shape of the higher version.)

    The simplicity of your wardrobe pieces and the way you coordinate them is wonderful. The fact that “your” sophisticated style can be replicated at many price points is terrific.

    Keep setting a classy example for women of all ages. You look fabulous!

  19. I’m 5’11”, just turned 53 on May 31. I have spent my whole life wearing heels even when i was told a tall girl shouldn’t. It became a sense of pride to “lean into” something that was the name of my existence growing up. A couple of years ago, someone hit me from behind and I have not been able to wear my heels since. (Super sad face) heels never bothered my feet, i could wear therm all day and even proved several times i could run in them. Now, trying to find shoes that look how my heels made me feel is impossible. And they HURT my feet! They all seem to rub on the knuckle connecting my big toe and now there is a bump there. People always told my that wearing heels would ruin my feet, but they didn’t. Now after only two years of wearing flats, i have an ugly bump!! (More super sad faces) I’m looking forward to seeing how you find shoes that are nice, and still comfortable.

  20. I have been slowly eliminating high heels from my closet for the very reasons so many here have mentioned. I can still wear heels and wedges that are no more than two inches high, but not all day. I agree with the reply mentioning that the Dansko is a good shoe. I like the Jessie. They provide the little bit of height I need to lengthen my short legs and nice padding on the bottom of my foot. I can wear these for several hours. Also the Nurture Vivacah is a great little heel with a low heel and padding. I have the black but would also love to find the navy blue.

  21. After being free of plantar fasciitis (inflamed tendon running from ball of foot to heel) for ten years, it’s back again and it’s very painful. Taking care of our feet is job one because PF is very difficult to get rid of. I’m now getting cortisone shots in the bottom of my heel. I’ve had good luck with FitFlops (brand name) which provide arch support and are cushioned for around the house and shopping. My closet full of fabulous shoes is sitting there getting dusty. Support those arches and wear good footwear. Please!

  22. Enjoyed seeing your post today. Cute look; the scarf, bag & shoes are good looking accessories. I would wear sandals all year if weather permitted. It’s always been trying to keep my heels smooth & moisturized, even with occasional pedicures. I’m going to be looking for some comfortable flats with more of a pointed toe, probably will look at TJ Maxx. Then the challenge is getting the orange stickers off! I’ve been in lower heels after 60 as well. Thank you Susan.

  23. Knee arthritis put my heels out to pasture some time ago, but I loved seeing them on you. Now, I will equally love seeing how you style flats. Comfort can be beautiful; it takes a little more effort, but it’s so worth it. Thanks for all the work you put in, and are willing to share with the rest of us. I hope your legs are feeling better.

  24. I have never been a “heels wearer”. Most likely because I don’t have that lifestyle. As a teacher, now retired, I was on my feet all day and flats or wedges were the most comfortable shoe. As several others have mentioned, a pointed shoe is uncomfortable. I require a wider toe box preferably rounded or squared off – think driving mocs or loafers – cute ones! If I go up a size in a pointed shoe, it’s too wide. I do have a kitten heel peep toe for the rare occasion that a dressy shoe is needed. Now if I could just find shoes that I like – that fit!

  25. A great outfit, Susan. I truly appreciate that you addressed the switch to flats issue. I cannot wear heels but if I could wear a kitten heel, I would. Looking forward to seeing more flats!

  26. Hi Susan, I love these flats on you…very cool! Remember when you said “think sports car not mini-van”? These are definitely “sports car”…very sleek and the pointed toe is wonderful with longer pants. I think many of the high heels these days are more “mini-van” with all the straps and ties. They bring too much attention to themselves and make my legs look even shorter. I saw a lady yesterday with an ankle strap that made her ankles look bigger than they were…not what I’m going for. Looking forward to hearing more…

  27. I broke my ankle 7 years ago and that put a stop to me wearing heels. I can’t go higher than a 2 1/2″ now or else there’s big pain. I mostly wear flats. Though I’m short at 5’4″ I’m not a big fan of pointy toes because my feet aren’t shaped for them. I have duck feet. Your feet must be comfortable and pain free so whatever works for you is where you go.

  28. Thank you for sharing your journey through life and changes along the way. I haven’t been able to wear my beloved high heels for a few years now. But I surely enjoyed them for a long time! Yes, as we age it’s wise to honor these bodies that have worked so hard for so long.

    Fortunately for us, there are more companies offering comfortable and attractive shoes with lower heels. I find my feet, legs and back are happiest with a bit of lift. Low to mid-height wedges work best for me. I must give a pass to some adorable sandals and flats because they are truly and totally flat. It’s all about knowing your body and then going on a hunt for what works on a comfort level as well as on an aesthetic level.

    Thank you, Susan for taking us with you and sharing your findings and insights. You’ve already saved me a lot of time!

    Grove Park Inn is beautiful, even in the rain.

  29. Susan, you look beautiful in that outfit…love the shoes, but even when I go up a half size pointy flat shoes are not comfy. It’s not the length, it’s the arch support that matters most. That being said, I have found some super comfy shoes (with heels!) from Rockport and Cobb Hill. They are a little edgy, a little funky. I like that. Worth checking out…

  30. Yep…even in home decor…round is a more “cubby”look and pointed is slimming. Another way fashion and design blend so well!-Laurel Bledsoe

  31. I agree with everything you’ve noted in this post regarding the flats vs heels. In my mid forties, I had to have both hips replaced due to painful osteoarthritis. During the recovery process, which included a lot of physical therapy, my surgeon and Its told me I should avoid heels whenever possible. High heels are not good for our bodies, and are often the cause of skeletal problems later in life. That said, like you, Susan, I wear heels for special occasions and always buy comfort brands … Luckily, many of the comfort shoe designers are putting out classier styles. I agree, too, that flats with pointed toes are more elegant. Thanks for making this a topic on your excellent blog!

  32. Susan,
    I really like the flats you chose for your outfit. You have a very polished look. As I have also had to go to low heel shoes and flats, I look forward to seeing more ways to put outfits together.

  33. I enjoyed being reminded of our years in North Carolina and a Sunday drive to Asheville and the Grove Park Inn Sunday Brunch. It was so worth it. We were two hours away. Perfect for a day trip. I miss that time of our lives. But I don’t miss cold weather. Florida was calling so we answered full time. Hope to get back up there one day. If you don’t know, there is a shoe store in downtown Asheville called Topps. They have many, many styles and brands of shoes from lower end to semi-higher end. But they were not open on Sunday in the past. I don’t know about now. Just FYI.

  34. I sympathize, Susan. I’ve had one knee replacement and another in my future. I place partial blame on years of wearing heels. I’ve had to wear flats for several years now and bought a pair of low-heeled pumps a few days ago to wear to a wedding in a few weeks. I’m hoping I’ll make it through the evening! Look forward to future posts on the subject.

  35. FINALLY! Susan you’ve become sensible with your shoes. Granted, those heels and stilettos looked fabulous on you, but think of your poor feet. Don’t know if you understand Spanish (or have someone who does) but here goes the link to a very simple explanation of why heels are so bad for our feet-and indeed for our whole bone structure:

    You are a fashion trendsetter, so if you start the healthy trend that flats fcan also work with chick outfits , all of us will be grateful!

  36. Your signature appearance does not suffer from the flats. They are a sensible choice. Safety is also a consideration as one ages. Changing eyesight and reaction time make falling more likely. Fractured hips are less glamorous than flats, haha.

  37. Hi Susan, I have been reading and following your blog for several years and I LOVE it! You have indeed inspired me to revamp my wardrobe and have given me so may good ideas about what looks good (and what does not) on 60 somethings. Since we live in similar locations (we are in Western North Carolina) I also enjoy experiencing the trips you take in our beautiful mountains.

    Here is a hint I will pass along to you about your legs. You mentioned having leg issues at bed time and this is something my daddy told me years ago: Raise the foot of your bed about 3-4 inches ( he made us wooden blocks that fit under the rollers of the bed frame and were notched out at the top so the rollers would not slide off). This little adjustment has made a world of difference in how my legs feel.

    When I first started teaching primary school (right after college), I had awful pain in my legs every night from walking on concrete floors and being on my feet all day. After trying this trick, the pain went away and never came back. When we travel it doesn’t seen to matter whether the bed is higher at the end or not since we sleep on our altered bed at home. I think it also helps with leg veins to have the bed raised at the end.

    My husband built us a new iron bed frame several years ago and made the foot of the bed higher on purpose so we no longer needed the blocks.

    This is just a hint that might help your aching legs.

  38. Since reading your blog of two days ago, I’ve done a bit of poking around the Internet. I slogged around, trying various search parameters for shoes. My preliminary results turned up two companies that have many choices. Each of us has her own foot, back, hip and balance issues, so as with everything else, there’s no one style or company that will suit everyone. Or even anyone on some days!

    Here are two I came across that I wanted to share. The first company is one I have purchased from many times. I can usually find a style that meets my need for arch support for arches that have stopped being supportive and my desire for still looking good. The site: http://www.vionic.com

    The second I just found, so haven’t any experience with. It certainly looks promising, though. The site: http://www.abeofootwear.com Happy hunting!

    Phyllis from Phoenix

  39. Lovely to find your blog and I love a woman with style, flats are my standby now although I do have heels, restaurant shoes I call them, but not for walking too far.

  40. Because of a foot issue, I can no longer wear her very flat or very high shoes. I’m glad that you are showing more low heeled shoes!

  41. Dear Susan since when did you get your two color Flats . I’ve been looking at Nine west with no luck.!Even something like it or from a different Company.
    Could you give me some advice please,
    Pat V

  42. Hi! I wondered which designer made your scarf in this picture (the equestrian one with a cream background and horses in different colors.) Thank you! I’m having problems finding a nice equestrian scarf without all the bright colors.

  43. I think you look absolutely gorgeous in all your photos! Recently I found your blog and am learning a lot from reading your 50’s and 60’s blogs. You are a very lovely lady! Thanks too for tips for dressing in the hot summers we have in the South.

  44. I sure do agree with you regarding the feet issue. I am beginning the same feat as you. I still enjoy my heels but are favouring more flats and wedges these days, especially during the day and for walking.

  45. I love the look, very classic. I can no longer wear my beloved heels. I’m so grateful for such adorable flats.. Although the pointed toes are not comfortable for me.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.