The Grecian Bend was stupid, but no. Heels are still stupider.

Slate’s Rebecca Onion recently proposed that the Grecian Bend was the most preposterous ladies’ fashion trend of all time.

In the 1860s, it was fashionable for American women to wear their skirts gathered at the back into panniers, with a bustle serving as the base upon which all of that fabric could be pinned. The style required the woman to lean forward in an exaggerated way, in order to compensate for all of that weight at her back. This lean, exacerbated by corsets and high-heeled shoes, came to be called the “Grecian Bend,” named after the way that women in some Greek sculptures hunched their shoulders in implied modesty at their nudity.


I disagree. As stupid as the Grecian Bend may have been, heels are by far stupider.

Heels, which were originally worn by men before they sensibly abandoned them, cause lower back pain, sciatica, shortened Achilles tendons, spider veins, bone and nerve damage, osteoarthritis, knee problems, foot problems (including ball-in-foot pain, metatarsalgia, bunions, hammer toe, and the “pump bump”). Heels can also permanently alter a woman’s posture and create serious problems with hip ligaments and tendons. They are also the leading cause of falls and sprained ankles in women.

Not to mention the vast numbers of women who die in disaster movies because of their inability to run quickly or climb in heels.

Of all the fashion trends over the centuries (including those horrifying earlobe expanders), the heel is by far the stupidest and most dangerous of all.

If heels of all kinds disappeared from the planet tomorrow, women would still be just as beautiful as they are today.

Even more beautiful, since some of the heels that are worn today look downright ridiculous. 

More importantly, they would also be safer, more comfortable, and much healthier over the course of their lives.

I have a five year-old daughter. My hope is that she will never indulge in both heels and the Grecian Bend.

But if I had to choose one, I would opt for the social debilitation of the Grecian Bend over the physical debilitation that will inevitably result from the wearing of heels.

I am a legitimate fashion icon. A trendsetter. The New York Times says so.

When it comes to clothing, my life is fairly simple.

I don’t wear ties.

I own two suits that I almost never wear.

I own one belt.

Though I own winter coats of various degrees of warmth for prolonged stays outdoors, I wear a hooded sweatshirt throughout most of the winter.

Most days I can be found in a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt. At work, you’ll find me in pants and a polo shirt.

In the summer, I wear shorts. 

With the exception of golf shoes, which I wear on the golf course, and basketball sneakers, which I wear on the court, and boots, which I wear in the winter while shoveling snow, I have two pairs of everyday shoes.

One of them is a pair of black sneakers that I wear 95 percent of the time.


These sneakers are the only item of clothing that contains an outward label. I’ve attempted to wear sneakers without any discernible branding, but they fall apart within a month or two.

So I wear Nike sneakers. Black in order to minimize the branding. Because purchasing clothing or accessories that highlight the brand name will someday be recognized for what it really is:

Elitist, snobbish, and dumb.   

My students would tell you (because they notice everything and told me) that I wore this same pair of sneakers to school every single day this year.

This isn’t entirely true. I replace my sneakers every 4-6 months, but I buy the identical pair, so unless you’re paying attention to wear and tear, you’d never notice the difference.

But it’s true. I wear the same pair of sneakers almost every day of my life, simply because they are the most comfortable and versatile pair of shoes that I own.

Admittedly, this does not make me the most fashion forward man. It may also be hurting my sex life, at least according to TIME, which reported that one in six of their wives prefer footwear to sex. But for me, comfort and functionality have always been my primary concern when it comes to fashion. 

But wait. Maybe I’m actually too fashion forward.

A piece in the New York Times recently declared that sneakers have come of age and are now acceptable in almost all situations, formal or otherwise.

The once ungentlemanly sneaker, it seems, has undergone a fashion baptism. The distinction between dress and athletic shoes is on the verge of collapse for fashion-forward men, as the humble gym shoe has outgrown its youth-culture/streetwear origins to become a fashion accessory, as well as a staple on runways, red carpets and in the workplace, where it is no longer considered the height of quirk to wear them with a suit.

“The fact that such a large percentage of men have made a determined effort to make sneakers their primary footwear, or even their only footwear choice is really comparable to men giving up hats in the ’60s,” Ms. Steele said.

Did you read that second paragraph carefully?

“….a large percentage of men have made a determined effort to make sneakers their primary footwear, or even their only footwear choice”

I am one of those men! I’ve been making that determined effort for almost my entire life. Ever since I was able to make fashion decisions for myself, I have been choosing to wear sneakers.

The world just finally caught up to me.

Since March, I have been attempting to live my life free of criticism, both mental and verbal, of any person for what they choose to wear, mostly because criticizing someone for what they wear is an infantile and awful thing to do, but here’s one more reason to do so:

The woman or man wearing that awful thing may simply be dictating a future fashion landscape. He or she may be ahead of the curve, a trendsetter, a visionary.

Like me and my sneakers.

It’s about time the world caught up to me.