Running in heels, yes, but why?

I finally saw Hidden Figures last night and loved it. What a great movie.

There’s lots worth noting. I was struck by how much bathroom discrimination and having a place to pee matters, and how long explicit racial discrimination in the workplace and in schools lasted in the United States.

I also hadn’t realized that computing machines weren’t around in the first days of the space race. I hadn’t imagined that it would even be possible to do those kinds of mathematical calculations, so many of them, with just human head and human hand, no machines. I feel silly for not having thought about the technology timeline in that way before.

I hadn’t known that “computer” once referred to a job description for a person. And I hadn’t known that African Americans did this job in something like a segregated computing pool.

So I learned a lot and loved the movie.

But putting all of this aside, I was also struck by all the footage of women running in heels. The African American women  had to run miles across the NASA campus to get to the bathrooms for “coloured people” and NASA’s dress code mandated that they do it in heels. Why did they have to run? Limited time for breaks, distance, job security, and the space race.


However, unlike other Hollywood movies Hidden Figures didn’t make running in heels look easy.

The one time I decided to run home from a party while wearing shoes with heels, in a “sprightly fashion” according to friends (why is another story, for another time) I ditched the shoes and carried them. Luckily there wasn’t any glass on my route.

So it’s not that I never wear heels but I am opposed to anyone having to wear them. The shocking thing about this recent news item, Canadian province considers banning high heel requirement for women in workplaces, for many people was the idea that employers could dictate heel height as the law currently stands.

I like to be able to run in the shoes that I wear. I can run in my McKinlay boots from Dunedin (above) and I can run in my “aggressively unfashionable” Dansko clogs. I can’t run in my witchypoo Fluevog shoes but I can dance in them and that’s good enough.

Why do I care about running when I am not wearing running shoes? There are a lot of reasons. Safety, sure. I want to be able to run away from people. But that’s not even the reason that comes first. I also like to run if I’m late: for coffee, for meetings, for buses, whatever..

Running keeps me warm in the winter. I often run to my office from remote parking just to keep my fingers from freezing off.

Some people, of course, can run in heels. They even make an event of it. But not me.

And men do it too.

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