It's no secret that the pleasure of having great looking gams does little to ease the pain that high heels cause, especially for those of us with bunions or hammer toe. As such, I often find myself lugging around a pair of flats in my bag, which I've found to be inconvenient and unsanitary.
After a recent traumatizing experience in which I discovered that a piece of chewed gum had made its way from the sidewalk, to the bottom of my flat, to the lining of my Marc Jacobs bag, I decided to explore shoe alternatives. I came across a few examples of convertible shoes, which can go from three-inch heels to flats in seconds.
One brand is Day2Night Convertible Heels. Each pair of footwear comes with a case of heels at different heights, kind of like a set of drill bits, only more appealing. The soles are flexible to enable the shoes to go from towering to conservative and the product website touts a sturdy, "foolproof" design. They don't come cheap, at about $300 per pair, but the classic Marissa model – a black patent leather peep-toe slingback – is versatile enough to wear with almost any outfit.
Then there's Sheila's Heels, a brand of footwear developed by an insurance company. These convertible shoes were created after the business found that many women wear inappropriate footwear – such as towering heels – while driving, which presents a hazard. These black and pink pointy-toed shoes have a heel that can fold into the sole of the shoe, making an easy transition from heel to flat and vice versa.
Most recently, a University of Missouri student won an entrepreneurial competition for her invention of a pair of shoes that can go from a 3.5-inch stiletto to a half-inch kitten heel. The college senior, Jessica Cui, told the school's newspaper, The Maneater, about how she conceived the idea.
"We generally carry around another pair of shoes, have to awkwardly change in front of the places we visit, and often carry around Band-Aids. I just figured there was surely something that could make our lives easier. That's when I decided I was going to fix the problem," Cui said, quoted by the news source.
Ladies who can't part with their favorite brands in exchange for a more sensible option may want to consider using bunion splints or orthotics, which can help reduce the appearance of bony foot conditions without the need for bunion surgery.