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I remember the exact moment my feet first rebelled against high heels. I was 47, far too young to have a mutiny on my feet, but the unexpected, crippling moment happened as I was walking down the aisle to marry James. My shoes were silver, strappy, and sexy, and were perched atop four-inch heels. During the ceremony the pain receded into the background, but as soon as it was over, my feet felt like they’d been stabbed with Ginsu knives. 

By the time we got to the reception, I was barefoot, and I stayed that way the rest of the day.

There isn’t one single part of a woman’s body that isn’t ravaged by age. Wouldn’t it be great if we could choose which one we wanted to keep intact? Some of us might choose to keep our jowls from going south, but would it matter if our memory was out to lunch? Then there’s our hands and necks, dead giveaways about a woman’s age. Of course we could walk around with our hands in our pockets the way runway models do.

And as Nora Ephron wrote, we could wear “mandarin collars and look like a version of the Joy Luck Club.” 

I’ve read where we lose the fat pads on the bottom of our feet as we age. I’ve tried foot pads under the balls of my feet, but it still feels like I’m walking on broken glass, even with kitten heels. Nancy Pelosi is 81-years-old and still wears four-inch heels. How in kingdom come does she do that? Do you suppose Madame Speaker’s had Botox in the bottom of her feet? It works to stop migraine pain and keeps underarms dry.

Maybe it works on feet.

Since my feet are size 9 with a 6A width, I walk right out of 99 percent of the shoes I try on, so my shoe closet has always been somewhat bare. Today I placed an online order for my first bonafide pair of white sneakers. Fingers crossed they’re narrow enough. Decades ago I loved Keds because they were more streamlined than the clumpy, traditional looking sneakers worn by runners. Now there are lots of streamlined kicks that have better insoles and cushioning for our feet and look great with elevated casual and even dressy clothes.

Did you know brides of all ages are wearing sneakers from Common Project, a favorite of chic women in the know like my friend and HSN’s jewelry maven, Carol Brodie? Although if you read this interview I did with Carol, you’ll see that one of her guilty pleasures is sexy stilettos. 

Here are a few of my favorite low profile sneakers. I’ve deliberately chosen ones that don’t have a lot of color and bling in a wide range of price points, plus I’ve thrown in a few white slip-ons.

They’re perfect for spring and summer.

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Hi Girlfriends,

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  1. I see lots of over-60 French women in sneakers, usually the minimalist styles you show. Younger women also wear the big ones that look to me like blobs of spit-out chewing gum–a look they especially like with colorful pantsuits. I congratulate them for choosing fashion that, even if I don’t get into the aesthetic myself, isn’t going to leave them with sore feet and backs later. Like you, I constantly feel like I’m walking on glass or rocks; there is never a moment when my feet don’t hurt. I haven’t worn heels for two decades.

    • Taste of France, Love your description of the younger French women and their sneakers! I don’t get the shoes, their fashions, or mixing the two, but that’s okay. We have choices! Thanks for weighing in! xoxox, Brenda

  2. Brenda, you might consider Ecco Soft 7’s. They are more slim than many sneakers, they are a classic style and come in lots of colors. I wear a 11.5 AAAA and they actually work for my skinny painful feet. I slip thin arch supports under the inner soles and wear them everywhere.

    • Thanks for the reference Amy! You have skinny feet like me! I also slip arch supports in most shoes I own, mainly because it helps take up space so the shoes aren’t swimming on my feet. xoxox, Brenda

  3. I’ve been browsing for some simple white sneakers lately, too. Like you, my shoe closet has been whittled down to only what’s comfortable for my wide, flat feet: Birkenstocks, a pair of Sofft sandals (the best) my cowboy boots and a pair of Dansko clogs.
    Your article was right on time – now I have a starting point for sneakers that can be styled with anything.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Thanks for letting me know, Donna! I hope it steers you in the right direction. I love you dearly, but I’ve never gotten the appeal of Birkenstocks. xoxox, Brenda

  4. Nancy Pelosi’s stilettos leave me in awe. Most woman look a bit clumsy in heels that are too high, even young women. Check out the First Lady’s gait. I feel awkward wearing totally flat shoes, however. I recently purchased black with animal print trim Naturalizer sneakers. Can’t get into white sneakers.

    • Colleen, Ms. Pelosi’s gate is not that of a young woman or someone who’s wearing comfortable shoes. There’s something off about it, but I must give her a hand for wearing them. The hardest thing for me is to match the outfit with the right shoe: flats, espadrilles, or sneakers. Now there’s a fashion blog I can do. Thanks for the idea. I used to have a problem with WHITE sneakers, but I think I’ve gotten used to seeing them, so they no longer bother me. xoxox, Brenda

  5. I feel that stilettos and high heel shoes are passé. Maybe some heels for special occasions and it doesn’t have to be very high. Women today like comfort and I seldom see women in high heels. We’re getting smarter, I hope. I have a hard time finding shoes that feel right so I wear sneakers for walking and Sofft sandals in summer and flats with a small heel. Good luck finding your comfortable pair. Let us know how it went. I enjoy your posts a lot. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks for letting me know you like my posts!! I appreciate it and I appreciate you for reading! I don’t see many high heels anymore either. Because my feet are so narrow, I’m grateful when I find a pair of shoes that fit. Wish I could wear the ones with small heels, but I can’t. xoxox, Brenda

  6. Hi Brenda: I too have problem feet as I had surgery for plantar fasciitis and have to be very careful what shoe I wear. I bought a pair of Sam Edelman low profile sneakers and use an arch cookie with them and they are very comfortable. I can wear them all day without issues. As far as heels go, it’s been twenty years since I wore them. For dress I buy a dressy flat with at least a 3/4 heel or maybe an inch heel. Vaneli makes some nice dressy flats, you can find them at Marni Hope this finds you doing well, it’s good to see your posts in my mail box on a regular basis, looking forward to your book!

    • Deborah, An arch cookie? I’ve never heard of that, but I’ll look it up. Thanks. Obviously it’s an insert of some kind. I also had foot surgery and it caused permanent damage to the nerves on the bottom of my right foot, so that’s where a lot of my pain comes from. You’re right about Vaneli. They always have some great shoes. Before Covid there was a Marmi store near me. I’ll go online and see what I can find as far as dressy flats. Thanks for asking about my book! I’ll be glad when I have something to report. “Things” have slowed the process down, but that’s a book… at least a blog… unto itself. xoxox, Brenda

  7. CORRECTION: I miss spelled the name of the shoe company, it’s Marmi Sorry for the typo

  8. I will always love a great high heel! I loved wearing them I love how I felt in them. I’m slowly accepting that time has passed. I don’t find flats comfortable and maybe the minority don’t feel sexy in sneakers!! LOL

    • You’re right about both points Jeannette: Flats aren’t comfortable and there’s NOTHING sexy about sneakers! And like you, I will always love high heels. In fact, I started to call this blog post “Still Grieving High Heels.” We have to adapt, however. xoxox, Brenda

  9. Love that you’re sharing this and love everyone’s contributions! Going to check them all out! My mom was a big Keds customer for years, and had been looking for something like what you’re describing! Thanks for the suggestions!

  10. Brenda, promise to let us know if you are living your new purchase! I long ago donated all my heels I used for work and have a pair of kitten heels by Vionics that are great in a pinch …. literally! I found amazing comfort in buying a pair of Crocs for around the house like the young folks!!!! ❤️

  11. I NEVER got that LOOK!
    The EUROPEANS think it’s GREAT with dresses or skirts…….NOT ME!
    There are plenty of flat shoes to run around in.Have you seen the NEW BIRDIES shoes in great colors and environmentally friendly?
    I have two pairs in yellow and brown and now I’ m off to BUY the BABY BLUE!


      • Hi MP, When I look online for shoes, I always start with flats. LOVE flats and pointy shoes. It’s just hard to find ones that are narrow enough for my skinny feet. When I stopped wearing heels, the only shoes I could find were the old orthopedic shoes! Eeeu! It’s taken me this long to get to the point where I even considered ordering low profile sneakers. xoxox, B

    • Elizabeth, Lucky you can wear Birdies! I ordered a pair, just to make sure, but they’re wayyyyy too wide on my feet. No way I can keep them on, but oh my! Aren’t they beautiful? xoxox, Brenda

  12. I’m with you on footwear for the last 20 years. I have a skinny foot and skinny calves to match. When I wear clunky shoes my legs look like a toothpick in a hors d’oeuvre. Who in the world came up with crocs? They are beyond me in the world of ugly. I also like slip on Skechers, fake shoestrings.

    • You’re a riot, Lee! Toothpicks in hors d’oeuvres! That’s an image that will stay with me. Yes, Sketchers. A friend of mine wears Sketchers and they’re attractive. Much better than a clunky tennis shoe. Thanks for the laugh! xoxox, Brenda

  13. i LOVE classic white sneakers!!! but also colorful converse. my fave lately have been this $200 pair (i would have never paid that!!!!) of kendall and kylie white sort of chunky, but not, ones (i also would never have bought them because of THAT label, lol…but they were on sale for $34 and they were so comfortable! who could resist?

    • Brava Bonnie! The white sneakers I ordered arrived, and since my right foot is a bit longer than my left, my toe is pushed against the end, so I’m afraid I won’t keep them. A larger size isn’t in stock. Oh well. I’ll keep on the lookout for another pair. xoxox, Brenda

  14. I recently bought the Sam Edelman Ethyl white tennis shoes. I’m having flashbacks to the 70’s and the white Reebok craze. My size 6.5 feet look huge. I sent pics to my 30-something daughter and she said they were really cute. So, I haven’t taken them out for a test drive yet but maybe tomorrow!

    • Terry, I agree with “my feet look huge!” When I look at others wearing white sneakers, they look in proportion, but I feel as though I’m wearing the box they came in, not the shoes! xoxox, Brenda

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