Cindy Grosz feels like a liberated woman.

“I’ve been purchasing heels considering that I was in higher education,” Grosz, a 58-calendar year-outdated radio host, explained to The Publish. Her shoe selection incorporates dozens of higher-end pairs, from luxurious labels this sort of as Stuart Weitzman, Charles Jourdan and Saint Laurent. Just before the pandemic, she said, “I was likely out to all these fund-raisers and superstar gatherings in stilettos — I cherished how they manufactured me feel.”

But she admits that issues have transformed for her considering the fact that lockdown.

“Now, I truly really do not really feel as substantially force to dress in heels,” said the 5-foot-2 former footwear addict. “I just cannot put on them any longer.”

2020 was the calendar year women of all ages stopped wearing bras, quit dyeing their roots and traded their stilettos for sneakers. But now — with workplaces reopening, and functions and weddings back underway — it is the instant of truth for gals who claim to have ditched their significant heels for good. So significantly, it looks that fairly a handful of reformed heel wearers are sticking to their word that they system to prevent suffering for trend. According to a modern Amex Trendex study — a pattern index that tracks shopper shelling out — woman respondents were twice as probably to say they had been psyched to get “comfortable” footwear compared to pairs suited to “professional gown.”

Model Shanina Shaik (from left), Hailey Bieber and Nicki Hilton have all been spotted rocking chic yet comfortable shoes.
Design Shanina Shaik (from left), Hailey Bieber and Nicki Hilton have all been spotted rocking stylish but at ease footwear.
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For Grosz, the advantages of rocking flats considerably outweigh the drawbacks. “Sometimes I pass up [heels], but I never have to get worried about tripping [anymore],” she explained. “I was constantly aware of marble floors and often I couldn’t dance.”

Yet diehard heel defenders say that gals like Grosz are tip-toeing into risky territory.

“So several ladies [post-COVID] out at night putting on their ‘sensible’ sneakers,” particular shopper Mona Sharaf wrote on her Fb website page previous thirty day period. “Please females place your heels back on! Yes we recognized and NO it does not look excellent!”

Sharaf continued that the sartorial guidelines for lockdown require not use to normal life. “NYC and activities are back, and gals are out in awesome outfits and when I glance down,  they’re in genuinely ugly flats. It ruins the full point,” she ranted to The Publish. “Why are you accomplishing this to oneself?”

Without a doubt, the “to heel, or not to heel” debate has moved into the public sphere, as even famous people have leaned into a extra comfortable design and style. Hailey Bieber, Nicky Hilton and model Shanina Shaik have been noticed stepping out in sneakers, basic loafers and even slipper-like Uggs. And brainy actress Mayim Bialik, who has been filling in as a “Jeopardy! “host in new months, has garnered focus — both favourable and unfavorable — for her footwear options on the show.

Personal shopper, Mona Sharaf, would rather risk life and limb on NYC's treacherous cobblestone streets with heels than flats.
Particular shopper Mona Sharaf would rather danger life and limb on NYC’s treacherous cobblestone streets than swap her heels for flats.
David J. Berman

“Love that Mayim is wearing practical shoes,” just one Twitter consumer a short while ago wrote of Bialik’s wardrobe.

But other people complain that she’s distracting audiences by failing to dress the part of a flashy sport demonstrate host. “Mayim Bialik’s Jeopardy wardrobe is soooo dowdy,” one more tweeter lamented. It should be outsized blazer OR calf length skirt OR sensible sneakers, but not all 3 at at the time.”

Even shoe sellers simply cannot agree on no matter whether pumps and stilettos — long mainstays of a chic woman’s wardrobe — will occur again after COVID-19.

Footwear designer Sarah Flint, whose tagline is “Style Without having Sacrifice,” advised The Article that her Natalie pointed-toe flat, which sells for all-around $400, is just one of her line’s most effective-sellers, amid her other, elevated choices which includes her celeb-beloved, 3.3-inch “Perfect Pump 85.”

“The Natalie has been our strongest doing shoe all through the pandemic, and it carries on to be a finest-seller this yr, even as people today are resuming some of their pre-pandemic routines,” she said.

Marisa Silber, buyer for designer sneakers at Saks Fifth Avenue, is singing a distinct tune.

“We’re looking at a return of the heel,” she told The Submit. “The [Christian] Louboutin business is amazing, Manolos had a resurgence and [Amina] Muaddi has been genuinely potent. A large amount of these hot, psychological makes are truly looking at the business return. Persons are thrilled to go out once again, dress to the nines, and show off their footwear.”

Actress Ruth Wilson rocks the red carpet with a chic two-piece suit paired with decidedly unconventional flats.
Actress Ruth Wilson rocks the purple carpet with a stylish suit paired with decidedly unconventional flats.
Dave Benett/Getty Photographs for Net

That was legitimate for Carrie Pluchino, who routinely wore 4- to 6-inch heels each individual day — right until the pandemic prompted a severe alter-of-heart.

“I adore fashion and I enjoy shoes, so I was bummed because there was nowhere to go throughout the pandemic,” claimed Pluchino.

Then just one day, the 43-12 months-outdated New Yorker — who utilised to work in manner but now has a position in tech — realized she was not ready to give up her newfound sneaker behavior. “It was a revelation that you can continue to glance sweet and fashionable and not be unpleasant,” she stated, including that she a short while ago acquired luxe athleisure pairs from Loeffler Randall and Zadig & Voltaire. “Overall, you are happier [in flats]. When your toes hurt, you are miserable.”

She’s so fully commited to comfort that for her impending December marriage ceremony, Pluchino bought a pair of white checkered Vans that she programs to dress in for the reception, ditching her 3-inch pumps as before long as the ceremony is more than.

“2019 Carrie would have tried out to hard it out for the sake of manner, but 2021 Carrie is declaring, ‘But you can continue to look sweet in sneakers.’ “

Crown Heights romantic relationship mentor Sheva Tauby had a very similar eye-opening instant when she received dressed for her sister’s nuptials. As a substitute of strutting out in a pair of heels — as she’s finished regularly for far more than 20 many years — Tauby opted for some pretty black flats.

To hell with heels: Australian Shanina Shaik sports comfy sheepskin Uggs with a sleek suit.
To hell with heels: Australian Shanina Shaik sports activities comfortable sheepskin Uggs with a smooth accommodate.
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“I stated, ‘I just can’t consider I’m putting on these to a wedding day.’ I wouldn’t have dreamed of it right before [COVID-19], but there is a little something about a heel that holds you back again,” explained the mom of eight, incorporating that she danced the evening absent with out a solitary moment of foot soreness. “Heels make you look and sense really, but it will cause so considerably pain. I assumed, ‘Is it genuinely really worth it?’ “

Staunch stiletto enthusiasts have just a one word to say in reaction: of course.

“It’s laziness. It is a panic of not becoming at ease — that their ft will hurt all evening. The real truth is, it’s not heading to damage any more than it did a yr and a half in the past,” Sharaf, who’s been rocking her sky-high Jimmy Choos considering the fact that past 12 months when she decamped to Miami for the winter, explained to The Put up. “It was bearable a 12 months and a 50 percent back, but all of a sudden, it is not bearable? Your parameters of what’s bearable abruptly altered? You sat on your ass for a calendar year and a 50 percent, and instantly, you cannot put on your heels?”

Inna Plotkin, a private shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, agrees with Sharaf.

“The pandemic is form of in excess of, and we must absolutely get again to carrying heels,” said Plotkin, whose Instagram site, InnaYourShoes, has 20,000 followers. “When I’m going out to dinner, I wouldn’t be caught dead without the need of a heel. It is more of a polished glimpse — you simply cannot cease getting dressed up. You can’t give up — you want to glimpse very good for on your own, for your husband or wife.”

“And guys enjoy heels,” she continued. “[Christian] Louboutin at the time claimed, ‘I really do not make heels for girls, I make heels for guys.’ ”

Luxe flats to change your heel practice

From bow-topped slip-ons to difficult but neat Chelsea boots, there are a slew of types to fill your comfy kicks deal with. “Our consumers are gravitating towards loafers and lug soles fairly than accurate flats at the minute,” said Tracy Margolies, Main Merchandising Officer at Saks Fifth Avenue, who additional that sneakers are continue to very hot as effectively.

The Natalie Flat, $395 at SarahFlint.com

Flat leopard print shoe
The Natalie Flat

Bottega Veneta Lug Leather-based Chelsea boots, $1200 at Saks.com

Bottega Veneta Lug Leather Chelsea boots,
Bottega Veneta Lug Leather Chelsea boots,

Ugg Tazz Suede System Slippers, $120 at Saks.com

Ugg Tazz Suede Platform Slippers
Ugg Tazz Suede System Slippers
Coutesy UGG

Alexander McQueen Outsized Glitter Counter Sneaker, $580 at Saks.com

Alexander McQueen Oversized Glitter Counter Sneaker
Alexander McQueen Oversized Glitter Counter Sneaker