There is not a person alive who has worn high heels and not thought, “Jesus fucking Christ, these shoes hurt. Why can’t we figure out how to make them not hurt?”
OK, maybe not everyone curses as much as I do, but the sentiment is there. Heels hurt. They just do. But there may be hope, yet. A company called Thesis Couture is developing a line of stilettos that promise to make shoes that don’t cause the hateful sense of jamming all the weight of the world onto the ball of your foot while your arch hangs, unsupported, several inches above the ground, and your heel teeters atop a steel pin.
Thesis isn’t your average shoe company, and the staff aren’t your average designers. The founder, Dolly Singh, comes from Elon Musk’s Space X, and she brings with her a team of engineers, actual rocket scientists, orthopedic surgeons, and even an astronaut. They’ve spent 3 years developing a new architecture for the sole of the shoe that promises to distribute weight more evenly along the foot, support the arch, and provide more shock-absorption than standard shoes. It all has to do with new materials and a scientific approach to design that attempts to change the nature of wearing heels. “What we’re fundamentally trying to do,” Singh explains to the Atlantic, “is make a stiletto that feels like a wedge.”
Now, the Atlantic article is a deep dive into the history and cultural significance of high heel shoes and I highly recommend that you take the time to go read it, but it doesn’t answer the fundamental question that lurked in my mind the whole time: are the shoes cute? A quick hop over to Thesis’s website and a peek at their spring lookbook answers that question. Yes. The shoes are very, very cute. And they're all inspired by badass ladies of history!
They are also very, very expensive (think almost $1,000 per pair) and they are going to be very, very hard to get, even if you do have the money. They’re only planning to produce about 1,500 pairs and there’s already a 10,000 name waitlist.
But Singh has a very Musk-like approach and hopes that her design and technology will inspire other shoemakers to implement similar changes to their shoes. Will we all be running in heels soon? Probably not, but maybe we won’t be limping home with them in our hands, either.