When working with my regular clients, we categorize shoes into length of time they can be worn STANDING UP before things start to south. I have actually been to a charity event wearing 2-hour strappy sandals (4 inches) thinking it was a sit-down dinner event. Wrong-o. Once I hit that 1.5-hour mark I was cursing the shoes, the dress, the charity, my husband and everyone in the room for the state of my feet. My husband ended up giving me a piggy back ride down P street back to our car.  And so, it is not surprise that I am loving the pretty AND sensible party shoe options around this summer. We’re talking block heels, lower wedges… Check out Jenn Barger’s roundup and don’t make the same mistake I made 😉

 

When she wed Kanye West last month in Italy, reality TV royal Kim Kardashian reportedly wore sky-high Giuseppe Zanotti heels. And while many D.C. women might cop to a similar Cinderella fantasy when dressing up for summer parties, towering heels probably aren’t your best choice for warm-weather weddings, birthday bashes and barbecues.

“Do you really want to feel like cutting your feet off at the end of the night?” says Elizabeth Todd, the well-shod owner of Alexandria’s Shoe Hive. Add to that such dangers as cocktail soirees in muddy gardens or uneven outdoor decks, and you might want to rethink RSVP’ing and donning seven-inch Loubs.

“High heels are empowering and make your legs look great, but if the fit is wrong or you can’t walk in them, you could end up with blisters, scars or worse,” says Lyndsay McGregor, Associate Editor at Footwear Plus, a shoe trade magazine based in New York. “Women are slowly but surely getting over Lady Gaga-esque stilettoes (as I call them, chauffeur shoes) and opting for cute flats, wedge sandals and even sneakers.”

Aquatalia by Marvin K., $375 available at Betsy Fisher.

Locally, Todd says, “we’re selling tons of wedges and blocky heels, which work well if your event is outside.” She’s stocking Claudia Ciutti’s sandals in black suede with a chunky gold heel and Vince Camuto’s perforated, nude-hued wedges ($255).

 

Ann Taylor Lexa block heel sandal, $118

And flats, especially pointed or D’orsay styles look snazzy even with cocktail frocks. (Remember, Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn rocked them with dresses.) “Flats are more than OK for a party, especially if there’s dancing,” says McGregor. Besides, “When I see people in those 5-inch heels, all I can think is they’re hobbled,” says Fisher.

Melissa D’orsay, $110 available at shopbop.com

 

Sam Edelman Brina Studded Flats, $77 (on sale), available on shopbop.com

For fete footwear, materials and construction matter, too. “You want good quality leather, which will breathe and stretch,” says Betsy Fisher, owner of the Dupont Circle boutique by the same name. “A substantial, chunky heel can also keep you comfortable.” Fisher’s fave for summer occasions: Rachel Zoe’s black and white wedge ($325) and Aquatalia’s three-inch heel sandals in metallic and faux snake leathers ($375). “Three inches is about your max for comfort,” she says.

 

Rachel Zoe Nancy Strappy Wedge, $325, available at Betsy Fisher

 

Still, unless you’re attending a beach wedding, step away from the flip-flops. “Really, wouldn’t you rather put on some pretty shoes?” says Fisher. Sounds like a party to us.

TIP: It’s not a great idea to break shoes in (they may never get comfortable). But Footwear Plus Associate Editor Lyndsay McGregor swears by Blisstick. “Apply it to your foot in the areas you know the shoe will rub against, and it protects against blisters.”

Guest Post by Jennifer Barger (www.jennbarger.com, @dcjnell)