For many years, it felt like there was a choice before us: look grown-up and sexy or clomp around like a hearty German tourist. We all knew that flats were practical. But like pencil skirts and straightened hair, high heels denoted polish.
Looking over the fall fashion spreads of designer orthopedic sandals and neon-hued sneakers, I suspect that girls today probably don’t feel the need to wear heels to transform themselves into grown-up women the way I did. Whereas heels were once integral to power dressing, flats now connote a liberation from that stereotype. As clothes have become more gender-neutral, the need to announce our femininity with a percussive soundtrack has vanished.