We’ve all been there - that pair of shoes that make your legs look endless but your feet feel like you’re walking on glass, or those skinny jeans that hug the hips in all the right places but you can’t breathe when you’re sat down. Sometimes when things make you look good you can block out that pain, justifying to yourself that style comes first.
But Calla Shoe’s research of 1,000 people across the UK has revealed that Brits are taking the idea of ‘painfully stylish’ too far, as more than half of us admit that they would never consider their wellbeing when making fashion choices.
For me, my lack of care and consideration for my footwear in my 20s has meant that I suffer with bunions terribly in my 40s. Those shoes that gave me my 3-4 inches of confidence, now fill me with dread and fear, knowing the pain they will cause after just an hour’s wear.
We all know hindsight is 20/20, but during the endless hours I have spent shopping for shoes that now hide and support my bunions (which was so frustrating I ended up making my own), I often think back to those high heels of yesteryear and think to myself, “were they worth it?”
A quarter of 18-24 year olds have admitted they are willing to wear shoes that cause extreme pain, as long as they look good, a statistic that resonated with my former shoe collection. It didn’t matter to me what my feet would feel like by the end of the night, if the shoes completed my outfit then they must be worn.
I didn’t even consider that these fashion accessories could be causing lasting damage. Admittedly, my high heel habit isn’t the only cause of my bunions but it certainly worsened the condition. And I’m not alone, Victoria Beckham spent her Spice Girl youth owning the stage in stiletto heels and is now reportedly paying the price as she follows her models down the catwalk wearing trainers.
With so much social pressure to look good and wear the latest styles and trends it is no wonder that people, especially women, aren’t considering the long-term effects. As a society we are living in the here and now, adopting an act now, think later mind-set, and ultimately it is damaging our health.
But it isn’t just shoes that are impacting our health and wellbeing, according to the British Chiropractic Association our wardrobes are full of culprits. It highlighted in its research last year that carrying heavy bags is undoubtedly causing a nationwide epidemic of bad backs. Slinging a bag filled with unneeded items over your shoulder or in the crook of your arm could be causing your spine to twist, leading to long-lasting problems.
Restrictive skinny jeans and even coats with heavy hoods could be also affecting your posture and movement, which may not seem like a big deal now, but could ultimately lead to problems in later life.
Now, I am not saying ditch your favourite clothes, personal style is and always will be important, but so is health and wellbeing. Be clever with your choices – look good and feel good – it’s the best combination!