Power Shoes/Being Myself vs. Looking the Part


My friend Jinx is launching her fifth or sixth successful business and after a long day of meetings she came over, flopped down in one of the stained white club chairs, and wondered aloud, “Is it a power shoe if there’s no heel?”

My opinion, as readers might guess, is that the most powerful shoe is the shoe that is comfortable so that one’s brain can be occupied with things other than anticipation of the soonest appropriate time to remove one’s shoes. Just sayin.

However, looking back at some stages in my life, high heels were actually not uncomfortable to me, or rather, not uncomfortable enough to rebel from wearing. I call these years “my youth” — When the discomfort of a heel, which even then though not painful was never as comfortable as a sneaker.  

In my youth the discomfort of a heel was outweighed by the confidence boost, the swagger value, the belief that being taller and looking the part of a lawyer, hot chick, grown up, whatever, fill in the blank ... in high heels was more important than my own bodily well-being.

Heels felt good, in my brain, I suppose the way a straight jacket calms the insane, or a corset — I mean Spanx — gave confidence to me when I wanted to look a certain way more than I wanted to look the way I look when I’m not trying so hard to be other than how I am, when I put my own comfort first. 

It turns out there are a lot of choices between stilettos and control tops and bra-less in old sweatpants that feel good, like me, don’t hurt, and are appropriate to whatever situation.  

So I don’t do heels. Not ever. If you invite me to a formal event I will come in fancy flats and I will get the dance floor going and have a great time. If you invite me to a client meeting I will wear business-y flats and give everything I’ve got to the project.

But I won’t wear heels. Not to show that I care what you think, even though I do care what you think, and not to look or feel more traditionally female sexy female power. Though I’d like to look and feel sexy and powerful, that vibe is gonna come from something other than my shoes. 

Maybe it will come from the swagger of knowing that today, after all I’ve been through, my power is in knowing myself, being myself, taking action from that place, and spending much less energy on looking the part, doing or wearing or being whatever it is I think you think I should do or be or look like, that isn’t actually comfortable for me. And maybe there won’t be swagger at all, just ease. And that will be fine too. I’m gonna keep going.


Sascha LiebowitzComment