While my husband and son went into the grocery store after church this afternoon, I sat in the parking lot, and something caught my attention. I imagine most of us “people watch” now and again. Usually I notice the relationships – what people are together, how they interact with one another, their smiles or frown, etc. Today, a young woman was walking into the store, only her walk looked a bit awkward. It was her walk that caught my attention. I can honestly say that a woman’s walk is not something that I generally pay any attention to. But I did today.
I looked to see that this young woman was wearing rather high heels. As she continued to walk across the parking lot to the store, she looked like she was marching up a flight of stairs. It just looked awkward. And it got me to thinking: do we all look this awkward when walking in heels? So, I began to watch the women walking into the store. What I came to notice is that a naturally flowing and graceful walk is the result of wearing flats. The size of the woman didn’t matter. The style of flat shoe didn’t matter: tennis shoes, flip flops, sandals, or slip shoes. If it was a flat shoe, the woman’s walk was graceful and flowing.
What I observed with the women in heels, however, was a walk with an awkward, jerking stomp. Some women did it better than others, but the jerky, clompy stomp was evident in all of them. The type of heel didn’t seem to matter either: a pump, stiletto, or a wedge. Some looked as if they were partially seated in each step, and knees looked oddly bent for a walk. The walk was anything but graceful in the heels.
Now this surprised me. I wore heels for many years on a regular basis, although now I’m very happy to be wearing flats. Everywhere in the media we see glamorous women in heels: strutting down runways of fashion shows (although I’ve seen footage of many falls as a result of heels), slowly walking across red carpets, commanding the courtroom or board room, even tapping or gliding on stage in performance. Girls are taught that heels are glamorous and sexy; that real women wear heels. I remember having many an argument with my mother when I was a teenager over the style of shoe I wanted – high heels. I wanted to be grown up. I’ve heard friends now, moms of teenage girls, relay the same situations today. Apparently this is an issue that hasn’t changed. But what I discovered today while “people watching” is that the nicest walk, the most graceful walk, comes while wearing flats.
Ladies, be kind to your body (both now and for the future) and kick off those heels. If you want to be noticed as you walk across a parking lot or through a store, may it be for the smile you wear on your face, the joy that sparkles from your personality, or even the sweet fun you are having in your day. Walk through this life gracefully – wearing flats.