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… there’d been a flutter out the corner of his eye and he’d seen a tag pinned to the neck of the dress she was wearing. Twenty-five cents, he read. He’d decided he would go then, realizing she was modeling her goods and that as soon as he stepped off the porch, she’d find herself digging though the cardboard boxes of shoes in search of a pair that came close to matching the faded shade of the dress, and still this wouldn’t suit her.”–– Chalktown, by Melinda Haynes

At the change of every season, I get a bad case of shoe malaise similar to this character. Can I still wear my boots in May, my sandals in October? I grew up on fashion rules and I want to know what’s right if only to feel good about breaking the rules. (I wore my black boots with white cotton trousers on a rainy April Sunday–probably not copasetic by someone’s rulebook, but okay with me.)

Rebellion aside, it’s a happy day when I learn that the formerly frumpy is chic again, as confirmed by this story in the New York Times Style section: low heels are “in” again! It feels like a personal victory for me and all my contemporaries who can’t stand or walk in anything more than a 2.5 inch heel—sort of like discovering Fleetwood Mac is back on the touring circuit again.

Don’t get me wrong: I adore high heels on other people. But Coco Chanel already fought the battle that lets us be comfortably stylish today. Who are we to backslide? (She was a great fan of the low heel. Imagine what she’d say about some of the Eiffel Towers we put on our feet!)

There was a day when I couldn’t imagine forgoing the beautiful for the practical. Be assured of one thing: when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, you’ll gladly consent to a low kitten heel that allows you to walk with grace–without killing the ball of your foot, back or knees. And lo, if you wait long enough, you’ll find your preference catapulting to the very top of the charts, momentarily making you a fashion muse.

The New York Times story shows a very artful collection of low heels that reflect the trend. Unfortunately, only one of them (a $79 Zara sandal) was under $600–– not quite within the budget of even the most well-heeled (pardon the pun) women I know. The threshold for originality seems to start at $600, but for regular people like myself, I’ve done my best to assemble some reasonably-priced, low heels that are perfect for summer. None are bargains, but they are mostly high-quality shoes that can stay in your closet a few decades. Most are slingback pumps, a design I consider perfect for carrying you from season to season.

Four stylish low-heel pumps for summer


colorful kitten heels




Joan & David – Gianne (Light Yellow Patent) – Footwear

Lilly Pulitzer – Kat Kitten Heel (New Green) – Footwear

Nude options

Stuart Weitzman – Chainomid (Moon Glow Aniline) – Footwear

Trotters – Prima (Nude Patent) – Footwear

What’s your favorite Fleetwood Mac song?  Mine’s The Chain, followed by You Making Loving Fun. Have you seen any great low heels for summer? 

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.