Pacing through the height of fashion

Flats or heels? Viva asks what stylish women around town prefer.

Amber D, M.A.C senior makeup artist

Stella McCartney nude pumps from Runway Shoes. Photo / Supplied
Stella McCartney nude pumps from Runway Shoes. Photo / Supplied

"I totally prefer heels and will wear them whenever I can. They make me feel a little more glam, although they aren't always practical as I'm often dragging my huge makeup kit around and shooting on location - so I am forced to pull out my flats.

"I have loads of pairs of shoes that were worth the expense as I'm still wearing them years later.

"My Martin Margiela ankle boots with nail heels have been good to me, but not so good to wooden floors! I just lost my mind and bought a pair of Valentino studded flats in my never-ending quest to find cool flat shoes. They're pretty special.

"Two days before I left for the AW11 Milan shows I took a corner too fast in a pair of platform shoes and ended up wearing a moonboot to the shows. Not exactly the ideal fashion outfit accessory to be wearing backstage - needless to say I ditched it as soon as I could and hobbled around instead.

"I love working backstage at the international fashion weeks where I can see the most amazing show shoes close up and way before they go into stores.

I have to try to focus on doing makeup and not on the shoes."

Liz Upton-Savage, Runway Shoes director

"My true love affair has to be more with heels than flats - and I'm not talking any heels here, I'm talking creme de la creme. My favourite heels for quality, comfort and design are Stella McCartney.

"I own multiple pairs and am eyeing up the new pointed pumps - points are making a comeback - that just arrived in store. Her heels are a dreamy fit, they just get the 'pitch' right on your feet, lengthen your legs and look hot!

"My dream designers are Christian Louboutin and Givenchy. We sell Givenchy at my store (and working on sourcing Christian!) - yes, they are an investment but are timeless.

"As I'm a mother I wear the occasional flat. My pick is the Pretty Ballerina brand available at Runway - super cute, comfy and fun pops of colour - that way when I need to wear flats, I'm comfortable and stylish."

Justine Williams, Simply You and Simply You Living editor

"They say 'the higher the heels, the smaller the butt'. The right pair of shoes attached to the bottom of any outfit is like punctuation at the end of a sentence.

"While high heels can lift everything from your bottom to your mood, good flats are worth their weight in gold. For me, happiness lies in great loafers. By the time I was 12, I had size 9 1/2 feet. As a result I became fixated with proportion and balance. It was heartbreaking until I realised I could buy good quality shoes because I wasn't going to grow out of them. So no Treks for me I'm afraid. It was Timberland Oxblood coloured classic loafers.

"In the early 90s I spied my first pair of Gucci loafers on photographer Russ Flatt - soft, suede, chocolate brown, accented with a gold horse bit and a hint of trademark stripe. From there it was Canadian-British designer Patrick Cox's 'Wannabes' that stole my heart in London in the late 90s.

"Perfection arrived in my latest shoe purchase, a pair of blue heels from Italian shoe maker Tod's. The iconic Tod's loafer has been re-worked into a ladylike heel and they are as comfortable as they are stylish.

"Good shoes are worth looking after. Often I will have good heels re-soled straight away and I never let them get too worn as to damage the upper. Most importantly, replace worn heel rubbers before you start to sound like you are wearing tap shoes."

Anjali Stewart, Twenty-seven Names co-designer

"Personally I prefer flats - expect to find me in classic Vans or Chucks (usually past their use-by-date). That's not to say I never, ever, ever, wear heels, but in the words of Guardian writer Hadley Freeman: heels weren't made for thinking."

Rickie Dee, Superette owner and buyer

"I'm in flats most days, much more practical. However I am not a ballet slipper person, I really can't stand them on me - too girly and preppy. Come night it is all about wedged boots or heels. I feel under-dressed in flats in the evening.

"The majority of my shoes are boots, whether, they are ankle, wedge or knee highs; I love them all year round. My current favourites are some Isabel Marant ankle western style boots, and my Beau Coop Pony Nero 5s, again a flat ankle-style boot. These both seem to work with everything. For weekends, I can't go past my Nike trainers."

Zoe Walker, Viva fashion writer

"I am very short so probably 'should' wear heels according to traditional fashion rules - longer-looking legs, and so on - but I much prefer flats, because I can walk and run and have a life in them. My favourite pair are Peter Jensen ballet flats with rabbits printed all over them, bought from Children of Vision; my most practical, a pair of black Kathryn Wilson brogues. I do wear heels now and then, but most of the time I prefer to follow Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz's advice to fellow shorty Natalie Portman: 'Wear flats. You're short. It's much cooler not to pretend'."

Nga Waiata, jewellery designer

"I prefer mid heels and flats - I feel weird in high heels. Balenciaga do the most fun, structured and colourful ones, but Dries Van Noten do the most comfortable as they are usually wide and low.

"Shoes are always hard to find having size 41.5 long feet! Finding ones that fit and have all the required fabulousness is always a rare triumph, so I am more of a clothes and accessory woman."

Lucy Marr, hair stylist and Sans founder

"I'm all or nothing - it's farm boots and sneakers, or high heels, there's no in-between. As I get older, comfort rules, however nothing beats a killer pair of heels. My faves are a pair of Beau Coops for Karen Walker heels, and a metallic copper pair of Christian Louboutins. To be really honest, I only ever buy if I am madly in love with something."

Anna-lise Sharma, fashion PR

"I love wearing heels to work but practicality does get the best of me, especially when I think about running around the showroom in them all day. I think it's fun to mix it up - heels are always good for a bit of extra height and evening wear, but then I love wearing my Chuck Taylors on the weekend.

"I'm really into short boots at the moment so I love the Penelope Chilvers 'Cubana' boot. Heels-wise, I love what Chloe Sevigny does for Opening Ceremony, and Ruby's heel from their fashion week show. I can't say either are the comfiest or most practical shoes I've ever owned, however they just look so beautiful.

"I have to stop myself going into Mei Mei. My dream shoes right now are the peach Chloe wedges in there. Kathryn Wilson makes amazing heels that are super-comfortable and wearable. I also had shoes made for me by Niluh Djelantik in Bali using my exact foot measurements. They are really comfortable as they fit so well, but I'm yet to find a heel I can stand in all day."

Joanna Pearson, Mei Mei owner and buyer

"I prefer a heel mid or high as I feel more ladylike in them and also because people say that my legs look good in them. You learn the older you get to focus on the positive parts of your body and not the negative parts.

"The most comfortable heels that I have worn are from Chie Mihara, as she spends a lot of time making sure that the balance is right. I am also a huge fan of Rupert Sanderson, he makes a really comfortable stiletto. My dream would have to be Yves Saint Laurent platforms in any colour. I've been obsessed by shoes [thanks to] growing up in Hong Kong. There's something about a great shoe that makes me happy. I think that you can spend less on your clothing these days but dress an outfit up with a well-made pair of shoes."

- NZ Herald

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