Thursday, March 5, 2009

If the shoe fits...

Recently a thoughtful reader, Amy, brought up a good question and some great points about shoes and modesty that I thought others might find interesting. She wondered if high-heeled shoes are modest apparel, but stating that she feels "funny" and less-than-dressed-up if she doesn't wear them to church since all the other women there do, though she admits that is not a good reason to wear them.

Here is what my response was:

When I was first married, my husband teased me all the time about some of my shoes, especially when I would complain at the end of the day how they hurt my feet. It was an early lesson for me in vanity, and it made me ask myself, "Why do I wear these shoes, anyway??" Of course, for fashion's sake, I continued to wear them. So silly!

Regarding shoes and modesty, the only place I can think of in the Bible where the feet are considered was in Isaiah 3:16.

"Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet..."

It seems that the haughty, vain women wore shoes that particularly drew attention with chains or bells of some sort. While that may not be in vogue these days, there are styles of shoes that are intended to attract the attention of men and make the legs appear more "sexy". I can not say here what styles those are (for lack of space), but I think common sense will take over if we let it.

It seems you have already asked yourself why you wear high heels, and answered it with, "Because the other women wear them," and you are right, that is not a good reason to wear them.

Consider also how your shoes treat your feet. Do they squeeze your toes? Cause callouses? Make the ball of your foot ache? If the shoe is not good for your foot, then sheer practicality says don't wear them. Only vanity would say wear them.

Read I Tim 2:9 in light of footwear. "...that women adorn themselves in modest (shoes), with shamefacedness and sobriety..."

Could you describe your shoes as modest and sober?

Now I used to have a pair of classic black shoes with a moderate heel, low and wide. (Liked 'em so much, they are one of the few pairs of shoes I've ever owned that I actually wore out!) They looked dressy and nice, and not as casual as flats, but they did not hurt my feet and did not draw attention to my feet/legs. I would call them "sober". I wish I could find a pair of them here in Guatemala, lol!

But all aspects of our apparel can be looked at through the lens of the Scripture, and the answers are there. God bless you with wisdom as you seek His face!

Part of Amy's response was this: "I have thought before that it is probably vain to wear something that I can't wait to take off because they hurt my feet and back. I've thought that probably isn't God's will."

"Who will wear a shoe that hurts him, because the shoe-maker tells him 'tis well made?"
Algernon Sydney (1623-1683)

Amy also said, "I don't know how to put my finger on it, but there is also quite a difference in the way a woman walks when wearing heels as opposed to wearing flats."

Here she makes a very valid point that I had not thought of. Do a woman's shoes make a difference in the way she walks? I demonstrated for my husband walking flat-footed, then walking with my heels elevated. We agree that there is a definite difference, all the way up. The lower back arches, therefore the bosom is thrust out, as well as the backside, and when walking it causes the hips to sway.

You've probably seen what I am talking about. I thought this funny photo might be a safe way to illustrate what high heeled shoes do to the posture. Observe:

(This photo is not from my house, and not of my child. Not my shoes either, ha ha.)

Now I am having a little fun with it there, but also want to seriously consider the matter.

What do you think? Can shoes be immodest? Do high heels change the way a woman looks when she walks?



Yes, I do think so. I believe that shoes just like anything else in our lives should be modest. If we go over the line, we know it, I think. connie

Tori said...

Good post Tammy, lots of great points.

Bethany W. said...


I gave my high heels away a few years ago, thinking that they are immodest. But, when I try to talk to other women about it, they look at me like I am crazy! I think the whole point of high heels is to draw attention to and shape the leg.
Just my 2 cents,

Tammy said...

Great post! I agree with everyone's comments so far.

Muhala said...

That's it! You've hit the nail on the head with this post! Okay, so I couldn't explain it, but I just felt God didn't want me to wear a certain kind of boot. Women at my church have them on all the time. You know the ones: pointy toe heeled boots peeking out from long, dressy slacks. They look really nice! Very sophisticated! I didn't understand why God didn't approve of this for me, but I just felt it in my spirit. Now, reading your post, I understand why! I never realized that shoes can be immodest, but you're absolutely right! Most of my shoes are low and with fat heels. Nothing too high, skinny or narrow. You've totally put the understanding into why I felt led this way. I felt perhaps God thought the higher heeled, pointy toe shoes were too "Sexy", if you know what I mean. To church, I usually don't do casual shoes, but the lower, fatter heels work very well. Thanks for this great post.


Charity said...

I love the topic of modesty. It is one very close to my heart. I agree that some shoes aren't modest. I don't think that all heels are wrong, but any article of clothing that draws attention to the body/form is not modest. I think that extremely high heels are made to draw attention to the body. Our goal, as Christian ladies, should be to draw attention to our heavenly Father and not to ourselves.

Very thought provoking post! :)

Rivqah Coover said...

Another very interesting post. There are some really thought-provoking posts on your blog. I am really appreciating it. Love, Rivqah