It’s not often I get excited about women’s shoes—I’m usually more frustrated about all the foot problems they tend to cause—but there's a cool line of shoes coming from Germany that's got me all revved up!
Originally funded by a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Mime et Moi (now available at many online retailers) came up with a revolutionary concept: each of the different shoe designs in their line comes with five different, interchangeable heels:
- Stiletto (high)
- Stiletto (medium)
- Block (high)
- Block (medium)
- Block (flat)
Not only is this a really smart design concept, it’s also AMAZING news for your feet. So many of the foot problems women associate with stiletto wearing—think bunions, hammertoes, shortening of the Achilles tendon—are associated with long periods of time spent in these stilettos. Even wearing flats for an extended period of time can cause big problems like chronic heel pain due to the lack of arch support included in the shoes.
Traditional High Heels and Hammertoes
One high-heel related problem in particular could be helped by this innovative design: hammertoes! A hammertoe is a contracture of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop. Common symptoms of hammertoes include pain or irritation of the toe, formation of corns on the top or sides of the toe, and calluses that begin to appear on the bottom of the toe or on the ball of the foot.
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle and tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people. Hammertoes are often aggravated by shoes that don't fit properly and, in some cases, ill-fitting shoes can actually cause the contracture that defines hammertoe.
This is especially true when it comes to high heels. By their very design, stilettoes transfer your weight off the pencil-thin heel and onto the more supportive base of the forefoot. Unfortunately, this shift puts a ton of pressure on your toes and the balls of your feet. And, with that extra pressure, you may start to develop an imbalance in those muscles and tendons, causing all of the problems we just discussed.
Lowering Heel Height To Save Your Toes
Mime et Moi is a genius solution for many of these problems—as soon as discomfort starts to set in, you can just switch up your heel height (and shape—block heels are a much safer option than stilettos as they spread impact across a greater surface area, lessening the potential to damage any one portion of your foot.) And since the heels are small enough to fit in your purse, you could spend the whole day in one pair of shoes, choosing a medium block heel for the office, flats for any walking and reserving the stiletto (preferably medium, as heel height really should remain below 3” ) for a dinner or drinks meet up that will mostly involve sitting. In short, it keeps dangerous imbalances from becoming habitual, something that your toes will really thank you for!
The company's website offers shoes for about about 190 Euros ($215) but, when you think of each purchase as five shoes in one, that’s really a pretty great deal! And, as an added bonus, the shoes are cure enough to have been featured in major fashion mags like Elle and InStyle. So go ahead, give it a try. The only thing you have to lose is two Benjamin Franklins and a set of crooked toes!