Lady Gaga took on the stairs in her Noritaka Tatehana platforms last evening in London (left). I took on the stairs in a similar pair at the AOL Offices in New York City (right). Photos: Optic Photos / Pacific Coast News | Jolie Novak, AOL
"The Lady Gaga shoes are here!"
That's pretty much all that needed to be said to cause a stampede to the StyleList
Gaga basically lives in "the" sky-high, heel-less platforms, which look physically impossible to stand on, not to mention walk in. (In fact, the pop star suffered a humiliating face-plant
courtesy of her over-the-top -- literally -- boots at London's Heathrow Airport in June.)
We just had to know if we'd suffer the same fate.
The creator of the famous footwear, 25-year-old Japanese designer Noritaka Tatehana
, was kind enough to send us a pair of his gravity-defying designs -- in sparkly pink stingray -- straight off the Paris runways. Like a scene from "Cinderella," they turned out to be my size, so I got to be the Gaga guinea pig (watch the video, below).
They weren't as scary as I though they'd be. Once up and balanced -- my weight thrown forward, my steps small and careful -- I got used to them just as I did regular heels.
Of course, your average heel doesn't make your calves cramp and legs tremble, but perhaps that's just the learning curve for otherwise unused muscles. It reminded me of learning to go up on pointe shoes as a preteen ballerina.
Despite my unsteady gait, I have to say I loved
being a full 10 inches taller. I'm just over 5 feet tall, and my short legs have long been the body part I most want to change.
In these shoes, I felt long, lithe, and a little more authoritative as I towered over the mere mortals who assembled to cheer me on (or maybe they were waiting to see if I fell). My boss pointed out that my proportions looked entirely different and that I looked -- yes! -- much thinner.
Even so, this particular design, which Tatehana said was his college graduation project, is obviously not for everyday wear. So if I want to look thinner and taller, maybe it would be wiser to invest the $6,500 shoe price in more Pilates
But it was time for an expert to weigh in. I called Dr. James Christina, a podiatrist and director of scientific affairs for American Podiatric Medical Association
, to ask him if my 10-inch heel-less platform shoes would cause foot damage.
He wasn't worried.
Lady Gaga wears beige Noritaka Tatehana shoes last June (left) and infamously stumbles at London's Heathrow Airport in boots by the designer. Photos: Dennis Stone, Startraks / INF
"They are changing the basic premise of support of where your body usually is," he said. "The natural response of your body is to try to put the heel down for some support."
But of course, in these shoes, I couldn't. If I had shifted my weight off the ball of my foot, it would have been lights out. My body was in conflict with itself. The shoes position the foot at such an extreme angle that there is little chance anyone could wear this design for very long, Dr. Christina said.
The good news is that there was no permanent damage done by me channeling an avant-garde performer for an hour. We can't say the same for Gaga.
Dr. Christina's recommendation for fashionable yet functional footwear
? A 2-inch wedge heel. But he also said if I wanted to go higher or wear stilettos, that's fine too, as long as I wear other shoes on the subway and take breaks.
(For support reasons, he was actually partial to running shoes over ballet flats for the trek to work, but I'm not sure I'm willing to sacrifice that much style. No Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl
" for me.)
His best advice to be stylishly shod and in good foot health? "Pay attention to your feet," he said. "Our bodies are designed pretty well. When there is something that hurts, there is a reason that hurts."
Good advice. So I took off the Gaga shoes, went back to my classic pumps (which now felt as flat as two pancakes on my feet), and deliberated if I was up for trying the meat dress
Speaking of which, click here
to check out Lady Gaga's 10 most outrageous outfits.
And you MUST check out these vintage Gaga moments
to see what she was like before she was famous!.