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Home » The Vine

The Vine: February 4, 2011

Submitted by on February 4, 2011 – 12:16 PM29 Comments

I’m getting married this spring in Vegas to my favorite person in the world! Yay!

I’m a pretty laid-back bride, having done this once before in another life, so we’re just looking for the wedding to be intimate and fun, with a few of our nearest and dearest, perfect for who we are. I’ll be wearing a colorful, party-type knee-length dress. One thing I’m not sure about, though…shoes.

Shoes always trip me up (pun intended). I’m a klutz and, having sprained both ankles over the past few years, I have an aversion to high heels. But I’m not a tall or thin girl, and I know that some sort of heel would help elongate my legs and body and look nicer overall. Like I said, I’m not Bridezilla, but I do want to look nice! Any advice from you or the Nation on flattering, klutz-proof footwear?

Don’t Want The First Dance To Be On Crutches

Dear Crutch,


I see a few options for you, starting with a wedge sandal. Yeah, those can get pretty high, but it’s a matter of checking the width of the heel; those jobbies that narrow down to, like, an inch in the back will put you on your ass. And you can find lower-height wedges that still look chic: I’ve had good luck with various heights of Kork-Ease, which come in all colors and materials (I love my brown suede pair) and break in fast. Try the Ava. Also look at Aerosoles — very comfy for long days, although you might have to put some time in to weed out the dowd.

You might also look at Swedish Hasbeens; it’s a pretty pricey brand, and some of the sandal styles look a little church-granny for my own taste, but I super-love their ankle boots; it’s a stable style that gives you a few inches of height, and there’s really no reason you couldn’t wear an ankle boot. My Franco Sarto pair, similar to these, is my three-season go-to pair for parties.

Lastly, look at kitten heels. I actually don’t love these as far as stability goes — I find that they roll on me more, not less — but I think it depends on the style.

Or get a sky-high pair of silver sandals for the pictures, and the minute that’s done, kick ’em off and put on the sequined Converse. That’s probably what I’d do. Readers?




  • Caitlin says:

    I also have weak ankles and don’t like heels very much. I like wedges, though I’ve still managed to twist an ankle with my go-to pair of wedges.

    I bought these shoes last year – and wore them to 2 weddings, with lots of drinking and dancing, and several other nights out. The heel is relatively high (higher than I can usually handle), but the combination of a slight platform sole, the thicker heel and the ankle strap holding them securely to my feet seemed to work. My only complaint was that the strap over the toes rubbed my toes a bit, but I solved that with some moleskin.

    I don’t know if you want to wear that style of shoe or black shoes, but maybe some of the similar attributes – platform, thicker heel, some sort of strap? Order lots of shoes from zappos or somewhere else with free shipping in both directions, and see which pair seems least likely to lead to a turned ankle.

    I also have to agree with Sars that personally at least, kitten heels look like they should be more comfortable (and so many people claim they are!) but I feel less stable in the ones I’ve tried.

    Congratulations on your wedding!

  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    I love Beautifeel Shoes. They are pricey but worth the money. I have a pair that are 15 years old and still look great. If you go to one of the options is to shop by heel height. If you can find a store that sells them locally it’s worth going in to try them on since they come in European sizes. I generally wear a US size 8 1/2 to 10 1/2, (depending on the style and brand–why can’t shoe sizes be consistent?!) and I wear a 39 in Beautifeels.

    It sounds like you’re going to have a wonderful, relaxing wedding!

  • Christina says:

    The lower the heel, the strappier the shoe should be to ward off the frump, in my opinion. Depending on how casual your wedding is going to be, a really cute fancy pair of flip-flops can even work. Or here’s a low-heeled shoe that look a more formal
    I made good use of the Zappos website before my wedding. I must have ordered and returned 10 pairs of sandals in endless home test drives before I found my shoes. Get a fantastic pedicure and you’re set. Congratulations!

  • Bex says:

    I wore a pair of ballroom dancing shoes when I got married. They tend to have a lot of solid architecture hidden in a pretty package – they’re designed to keep the shoe anchored on your feet. There are a lot of different styles and heel heights as well.

    Congratulations and have a wonderful wedding!

  • Beadgirl says:

    I’m also not tall and not thin, and not a fan of high heels or uncomfortable shoes. I love Zappos because I can construct a search of comfort-fit shoes with x heel height and y color, and browse the options to find what I am looking for. I found a pair of strappy dress sandals which were pretty and flattering but low-heeled enough (I think under 2″) that I did not have to worry about tottering around or twisting my ankles (my ankles, oddly enough, are always giving out but never actually getting sprained). The true test? I wore them for hours, first walking around a city and then dancing at a wedding, and kept them all the whole time.

  • Kelly says:

    I have the same problem, super-weak ankles and clumsiness resulting in multiple sprains and as a result, ever weaker ankles. I wore a pair of Aerosoles on my semi-casual wedding day and was very happy with them (though I am the first one to admit that I’m quite the tomboy so I was not at the height of wedding day fashion- online yellow sundress ordering FTW). But they have some open-toed options that aren’t too frumpalicious, mine got me through the day easily and painlessly. And really, I’m sure you know the last thing anyone else will be thinking about are your shoes, so find something that you’re happy with and go with it. Have fun!

  • Tina says:

    I recommend Mephisto sandals wholeheartedly. I too am not thin and I am very clumsy, and they are both very comfortable and the strappy ones look really lovely. They are sadly quite expensive, but they are the most comfortable shoes ever.

  • F. McGee says:

    I wore cute wedge heels (Steve Maddens) for the pictures and the ceremony, but once that was over, I put on some Toms and danced and had fun. Have a great time! I’m sure you’ll look gorgeous!

  • Elena says:

    I am not tall or thin; I *am* legendarily clumsy and have busted-ass ankles. My favourite heels come from Doc Martens (, Fluevog ( and T.U.K (

    These brands all tend to have a retro/rockabilly feel, which may or may not work with your dress, but I’d advise having a look: they’re well-constructed, solid and stable while still being cute as hell. In my experience, Fluevogs and Docs are better-made (Fluevogs even guarantees theirs for life, which can help to justify the price); T.U.K.s, while still very sturdy, are a bit less solid but come in a wider range of styles and tend to be much less expensive.

    Good luck! As someone who also struggles with this problem, I’d love to know what you decide on.

  • Bronte says:

    My thoughts: Pretty pedicure. Ditch the shoes and go barefoot.
    I kicked mine off after the first dance anyway (with a pretty pedicure; I knew I wasn’t going to keep mine on all night. My toes were my something blue). But then I do live in a part of the world where shoes are seen as optional attire most places.

    Failing that, look through the shoes you have and find the best you’ve got, then either paint them or find another pair of the same. I wore shoes I had owned for a year for my wedding. I buffed them up, applied a new coat of paint (they are silver) and had comfy secure feet all day. Until I kicked them off.

  • Louisa says:

    I always thought I couldn’t wear high high-heels either, also because I’m clumsy, but then I read a little tidbit in a magazine that suggested structured shoes that hold your foot in place would be more comfortable and stable. In all my shaky experiments with strappy heels, I never thought of that.

    So I got some shoes similar to these: and I love them. I have no problem wearing them for hours, and I never feel like I’m going to fall.

    Only my personal opinion, but: tall high heels, flats, or low wedges are fine, low 1″-2″ heels are FRUMPY. On everyone, in every situation.

  • c8h10n4o2 says:

    Fluevog, Fluevog, Fluevog! Awesome-looking shoes with stable heels and toe box (The stability of the ball of your foot counts about as much as the heel style, I’ve found). Pricey, but will last forever! If you live near a store, going in to try them on is HIGHLY recommended, though. Sometimes the fit can be a little strange, but when you find the right one, they fit like a glove.

    I’ve also had good luck with Donald Pliner. Again, not cheap, but I’m about to get new heel-caps put on my favorite pair after 7 years. First repair needed, and they still look smashing. Depending on the season they can have some chunky-heel styles that are really stable. This particular pair are 3-1/2″ high, I’m clumsy as all get-out,and I’ve been able to sprint in the rain in them.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    A bit of a threadjack, but it’s related to shoes–

    My biggest problem isn’t the twisted ankles so much, but the incredible burning pain I get in my sole (that’s the front part of the foot the toes are attached to, yes? God, I should know this) when the extra pressure from wearing heels is applied to them. I mean real burning, with the feeling that the pattern of the stockings I’m wearing is being seared into my flesh. I’ve tried inserts, but they refuse to stay in place and usually take up too much room.

    Any idea what causes this, or recommendations for styles that might avoid it? Am I the only one? I am, aren’t I–just a lone, burn-ey soled freak…

  • Amy says:

    I agree with Louisa’s point about buying shoes that will hold your foot in in some manner. Low heels do have a tendency to look a bit frumpy, so I’d go with something strappier to offset that.
    Also, I’d be careful about the style of shoe depending on how long your dress is. If it hits just at, or below the knee, try to go with a pump style of shoe – a strap around the ankle can break up the leg line and make you look really short and thick. If your dress hits a bit higher above the knee its not so much an issue.
    Also – get a dr. scholls insole, and wear the shoes around before hand to break them in. I just happen to think these are cute and don’t look too uncomfy:

  • Katherine says:

    I’m going to second Bex here. I’ve never gotten married, but I am a ballroom dancer, and I never wore heels before I danced and I hate wearing other heels now. I can full-out sprint in my ballroom dance shoes. They can range from strappy heels to very conservative closed-toe pumps, and most are dyeable.
    Showtime Dance Shoes ( and Danceshopper ( are both pretty reliable.

  • Heather C. says:

    I wore mary janes for my formal affair 9 years ago. I always liked that style, and knew I could get a bit of height (not too much) with a sturdy heel. Just think ahead about what kind of wedding you’re having and in what kind of place. My shoes were cute and I didn’t trip, but they didn’t have alot of padding, and after dancing all night on a painted stone floor, my feet were very unhappy. Actually, the only thing I would change about my wedding would have been my shoes – same style, but more support/padding for the balls of my feet.

    Good luck, and have a great day!

  • Wendy says:

    That burning in the pad of the foot is how my Morton’s Neuromae began. Not saying you have it, but what helps me may also help you.

    I discovered that I have ridiculously high arches that throw off the mechanics of my feet. Once I found inserts that fit correctly, my dogs barked far less ferociously and frequently. High heels put exponentially more stress on the foot pad so adequate support makes all the difference.

    I also found that heel height matters. Anything 2 1/2″ to 3 1/2″ are out for me. Surprisingly, higher heels with a bit of a platform work really well. Narrow toe boxes are completely out, though. They cause more inflammation and that causes the neuroma to grow.

    Might also consider seeing your doc. I have mine injected with steroids every 4-6 months and that REALLY helps.

  • L says:

    I don’t know how common this is in (I’m assuming you’re writing from the US?, anyway, beside the point) but here in Brazil for a while now there’s been this trend in weddings: the brides switch shoes after the cerimonies and dance all night in flip flops. Sometimes there are flip flops for all the guests as well, and they can be personalized (with the name of the bride and groom or some sort of drawing on them). I know it’s not what you asked, but it could give a more laid back feeling to the party afterwards.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Thanks, Wendy. Also, eek! What the hell’s a Morton’s Neuromae?

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @L, my cousin did that, God bless her.

  • M says:


    For shoes, I sympathize. I have bendy ankles myself.

    I would definitely go to Zappos or Endless or Shoebuy and do a search for wedges and kitten heels. Some kitten heels are shaky, but there are some that have the shoe built so that the small, yet sexy heel, is centered, so they are easy to walk in.

    You might also look into some vintage (or vintage style) shoes. They are harder to find and sizes vary even more than among modern shoes, but I have a pair of bright yellow crocodile print shoes that have a lowish, thick heel, that in a basic black would look like plain commute to office shoes, but in the slightly old-fashioned style and vivid color they are fun and retro.

  • Tyna says:

    As another short, semi squat lady with noodle-like ankles, I feel your pain. I’ve been known to roll an ankle while walking on a flat surface wearing a pair of Chucks – heh. I’ll echo two important pieces of advice from above that help keep me upright in situation like yours: first, the larger/wider the heel, the better the stability – and two, straps are your friend! Not only can they help spruce up a plainer style shoe, the also seem to help keep my rolly ankles strapped in.

    While I love the “everyone changes into flip-flops idea”, it may not be the best plan for a Vegas wedding. It could still be kind of cold at night during the spring and I hate wearing flip-flops at nights in crowded, drinking spots.

    On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, may I suggest a pair of kick ass boots? With a Vegas wedding, the laid back atmosphere and a “colorful, party-type knee-length” wedding dress”, a great pair of zip-up, knee length heeled boots (and maybe a pair of neutral tights?) would look awesome. Plus, once you’re zippered in you should be able to run up and down the strip all night long without any problems.

    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! (And please come back and let us know the final shoe decision.)

  • L says:

    @ Sarah
    Isn’t it great? All night dancing with no sore feet… and no one feels underdressed. I guess if your cousin did it, it’s gotta be somewhat common (at least people wouldn’t think it such a crazy idea)

  • Erin in SLC says:

    Second the vote for ballroom dancing shoes — or character dance shoes. They’ll hurt eventually (any heel will), but they’ll stay on and support you a lot better.

    Tangentially: How can people STAND flip-flops?! Maybe it’s my arches, which are high enough to park Matchbox cars under, but those things hurt like mofos!

  • Kris says:

    As an aside, those of you with weak ankles might want to look at this article. I’ve been doing the balance exercises they suggested, and they’ve helped me with my wobbly ankles.

  • MizShrew says:

    Erin in SLC: I’m with you on the flip-flops. Just can’t wear ’em, I find them incredibly uncomfortable. I have a pair that is reserved for the rare pedicure appointment, and it’s all I can do to wear them from the salon to the car.

    I’d second the knee-high boots idea: sexy, comfortable, and will still help give that long-leg illusion. If those won’t work for the dress, though, I’d go with funky strappy wedge sandals and a nice pedi. I’ve notices that some of the more “comfort” brands (Born, Dansko) are making more fashionable heels. Not sure what style you like, but maybe like this?

  • MsC says:

    @Erin in SLC; Oh my god, do I hate flip-flops. The horrible prong between the toes? Just sliding a pair on makes me feel almost nauseated it is so uncomfortable. Plus they provide no support, slide off and around, and offer no protection against rocks, gravel, cactus needles, etc. I am so glad to know that I am not the only one!

  • Tarn says:

    Crutch here…so grateful for all your warm wishes and helpful suggestions! My shoehorse friend took me shopping just before this letter was published, so I ended up with these lovelies: <a href=
    They’re a little higher than I intended, but the slingback strap is adjustable and helps rein me in a lot, and the shoe salesman put little pads in the toe area to keep my feet more stable in the shoes. Now I’m practicing, and I’ll do those ankle exercises in the article suggested by Kris before the big day!

    I will also look into some of the other suggestions here for other everyday and special-occasion klutz-proof shoes…the Fluevogs look like a worthwhile investment, and I really like the idea of wearing dance shoes. Pretty shoes that can take a beating!

  • Wendy says:

    Jen – A neuroma is a bony growth on a nerve caused by long-term inflammation. A Morton’s neuroma is located between the 3rd and 4th metatarsals and hurts like hell with every step. Feels like there’s a pebble rubbing between the bones.

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