Lisa Armstrong at the Times asked around to see if designers were going to introduce a mid-height heel, and the answer is no, they aren't:
“So,” I asked the head of the shoe design studio at Louis Vuitton in Paris recently, “when are you going to do a shoe for you know, wearing?” The slightly wounded reply was that if they had money for every time someone made a smart-aleck comment like that, they would be very rich indeed, but that actually, there were no plans to introduce lower heels in the foreseeable future.
It's pretty much the same story at other fashion shoes houses - officially, at least. “Our customer is a fashion customer” one PR said, implying that anyone not prepared to stagger through her day in 105mm has obviously given up the fight to look good. Another told me that their 35mm to 55mm heels were doing very nicely - with the “older” customer.
Great. Wanting a shoe you can walk in now categorises you as a geriatric. In some of the more fashionable stores, you actually have to ask to see a mid-height heel - they're not on display. Oh, the shame. Sidling into the adult section of the video store and asking to see the stuff with animals probably has more kudos.
“The simple fact,” Rupert Sanderson tells me on the phone from the shoe factory in Florence, “is that heels just look sexier, stronger and more arresting the higher they are. With the advent of the concealed platform, heels can be even higher. Technically, the sky's the limit. I keep doing lower heels, and some of them look quite strong - but the eye gets distracted. We're used to height.
“The other reason why designers still push the extreme heel is because that's what women come to us for. Practicality is what they go to the high street for.”