Vivienne Westwood Catwalk - London Fashion Week 2013In a Fashion Month which saw activists crashing the Nina Ricci show and Naomi Campbell making a rare catwalk appearance, it was the number of flat shoes on the runway that caused the biggest shockwaves.

In London, New York, Milan and Paris, we found our eyes drifting down to the models’ ankles as they strutted past in patent booties at Roksanda Ilincic, pointy-toed Mary Janes at Vivienne Westwood and silver loafers at Rodarte.

And in the front rows, it seemed those with their finger on the fashion pulse were also favouring footwear which offered comfort and style. Suki Waterhouse, Sienna Miller and Alexa Chung were all spotted in flatties, opting for pointy-toed pumps, and velvet slippers

However, we shouldn’t have been surprised. The signs have been coming for a while. Earlier this year, stylist and self-confessed ‘fashion geek’ Sally Lyndley posted on Facebook saying that flats are the only shoes that feel modern at the moment and even high-heel devotee Victoria Beckham has been seen out and about looking a few inches shorter on several occasions.


Heels vs flats

But while a (big) part of us is gleefully looking forward to giving our feet a break from sky-scraper heels (and stocking up on ballet shoes, brogues and loafers), are we really ready to ditch heels completely? After all, most of us don’t have endless legs like Alexa, Suki and co.

Flats are undeniably more comfortable than heels, and with such a variety available on the high street, they can take you from day to night just as easily as a pair of classic black heels. As Alexa Chung said recently when questioned about her preference for flatties: “Limping home to find the plasters when I could be out dancing all night sounds like a s***** way to end the evening.”

However, there’s just something about heels which means we won’t be slinging our platforms and stilettos just yet. High heels elongate the legs, making them look slimmer and for many women give them the extra confidence boost they need before walking into an important meeting or heading out for the evening.

And there’s even research to back that up, with a study showing that British women wear higher heels than their counterparts in Germany, Spain and France, and are also more confident and assertive.

In the words of Manolo Blahnik: “You put high heels on and you change.”

PS – If you can’t wait until next spring/summer to embrace flats, jump on the trend early by snapping up some flat ankle boots this autumn.

New York Fashion Week 2013 - Rodarte Catwalk