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Melanie Morris: Why I'd do anything for a pair of the most painful shoes ever made

Hold the front page ... Daphne Guinness (the heiress -- Happy Arthur's Day, Daphne -- and fashion icon) fell over in her Alexander McQueen Armadillos.

These alien-like hoof shoes, with 12-inch platforms and curving heels that look like lobster claws, have nothing but agony and disaster written all over them.

But, wow, are they stunning. And while I think I could barely stand in them, let alone move, I'd kill to own a pair.


Because, in honesty, and like most women I know, comfort is the very last thing I consider when buying a pair of shoes. In fact, comfort comes as a kind of a strange, unexpected bonus when you step into the sort of sexy skyscrapers that call to me from their Prada, Gucci or Louboutin display stand.

I know I'm not alone. My friend, the fashion designer Louise Kennedy has a pair of YSL Tribute sandals that take serious determination to move in. Another friend, Triona McCarthy, has some Chanel heels that we once had to get a taxi from Brown Thomas to St Stephen's Green because they incapacitated her so much. And I have my treasured, €700 McQueen biker ankle boots that I can't even sit in without them hurting. But, I remind myself, fashion feels no pain, and discomfort are small prices to pay for fabulous feet.

Over the years, I've learned a few tricks to get me from A to B in vertiginous shoes. First, I got the advice of celebrity hairdresser James Brown, who gave his best friend Kate Moss the same tip ... balance on your tippy-toes, putting no weight on your heels and glide forward. This is good advice when trying to negotiate cobblestones and racecourses.

Another good tip to get a girl roadworthy in stilettos is to break yourself in at the supermarket. Put on the shoes and grab a shopping trolley. Then slowly start to walk down the aisles standing straight and going heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe, while holding on to the trolley for support.


Like a learner swimmer with a foam board, as you become more assured, relax your grip until you can finally let go completely and walk unassisted.

Obviously, over time, and as your tendons shorten and your feet toughen up, heels become easier to negotiate, but walking in something like those McQueen Armadillos will never be simple. What makes shoes like these even more covetable is the fact that they don't go into production, and thus are only available to fashion's super- royalty who might have access to the original catwalk samples. There are only 21 pairs of Armadillos in existence, and they cost up to $10,000.

Of course, not all tall shoes bring hardship. I can honestly walk for miles in my five-inch Jimmy Choo sling backs, and I find those cage-style shoe-boots that encase the foot very easy to negotiate. With the right determination, and a sneaky pair of ballet flats stashed in a handbag, one learns to adapt.

I learned because quite simply, I love shoes. I love the way different styles change my outfit, my mood and my deportment.

I love to express myself in outrageous styles and to experiment with interesting shapes. I love the feeling when I walk into a room and have other women turn green with envy.

And I love the sound of opening new tissue paper in a box that holds some heavenly heels. Carrie Bradshaw, eat your heart out.

Melanie Morris shares her tips for wearing the season's hottest heels in Brown Thomas' Shoe Rooms today at 5, 6 and 7pm and on Saturday at 12.30, 1.30, 2.30, 3.30 and 4.30pm