How To Tuesday: Heels for Walking in New York

Heels are a beloved staple in many closets, as they can add some desired extra height, flatter figures, or make an outfit instantly look classier. In most places, people wear them all over, ranging from special events to school or work to social outings. However, in New York heels are much less prevalent due to impracticability for walking, the city’s primary form of transportation. Many who come to NYU from other locations may miss their heels, yet are unsure of how to make them work without inconveniencing their everyday lives. Luckily, many styles of the height-adding shoe are comfortable and walkable, meaning city dwellers do not have to restrict themselves to endless repetition of sneakers or flats.

Wedges are one of the easiest styles of heeled shoes to wear around the city, offering a wide, continuous platform to keep balance centered. These come in a variety of styles, from edgy booties to classy, summery sandals or open-toed shoes. H&M carries sleek black wedge boots as well as carefree jute-heeled espadrilles. A recent trend has been hidden sneaker wedges, which add a powerful, feminine aspect to everyone’s favorite casual shoe.  There is a style of wedge for everyone, leading to this being a popular choice among city residents and those with convenience of a car alike.

Jeffrey Campbell had a wise vision when he started his shoe line, which was designed to put trends to the everyday test. Chunky heels add a cool, fashion-forward look, also providing the ability to wear styles often done with skinnier heels without breaking the shoe on the way to class. These are already popular with boots, but other styles have a growing selection. For example, open-toed chunky heels with an ankle strap promote a trendy, bold aesthetic. Marni carries a classy yet modern leather-trimmed felt chunky sandal, but because this pair runs for over $700, college students are better off looking on sites like Modcloth and Chinese Laundry for similar options that won’t empty their bank accounts.

Embracing the less-is-more philosophy can be helpful for finding city heels: lower heels can give the desired perks yet support the ability to walk confidently at a New York pace. These can come in several styles, from kitten heels to pumps, and offer a subtly chic look. Find a pair in a color or texture which accents your outfit, and go through your day with no noticeable changes except an enhanced ensemble. Since low heels come on such a broad range of shoes, search your favorite shop or site for the perfect pair.

While wearing heels around New York seems daunting to newcomers, the plethora of options above shows that some smart consideration can lead to finding surprisingly walkable versions of the popular shoes. Pick your favorite pair (or two or three), and head out ready to wow passersby with your non-wobbly style.

Ali Webb is the Violet Vision Editor. Email her at

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