Should We Have To Wear Heels To Work?


When my friend took up a retail job at a respected clothing line I was quite jealous. At the time, I wasn’t earning anything and had interviewed for a couple of retail jobs to tide me over while I was studying, but nobody wanted me. Thankfully I got to live through her, and as well as sharing the perks of her job, she would also tell me about the drawbacks. One of those was being forced to stand up all day in a pair of heels.

At the time, I was pretty shocked that a company could do that. Call me naive but I thought that wearing comfortable shoes in a job where you’re mostly on your feet was a no-brainer, and yet, my friend was regularly in trouble for swapping to her more comfortable heeled boots.

The past few weeks this debate has blown up. Thanks to Nicola Thorp, 27, from Hackney in east London. She came in for her first day at a new job wearing flats, and was sent home and told to wear shoes with a “2in to 4in heel”. After that, she posted online, and a petition to make being forced to wear heels at work illegal has garnered over 10,000 signatures.

On Twitter, women all around the world are posting photos of their flat shoes with comments like ‘Oh goodness I am wearing flat shoes – well that OBVIOUSLY affects my ability to do my job’ (Source). It’s true, our choice of footwear does not affect our ability to work – so why do so many companies force women to wear heels as part of a company dress code?

What do you think about wearing heels to work? As a choice, heels can make you feel comfortable and powerful, but when you’re forced to wear them – there could be a problem. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below girls!

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  • Carmen Jny (carmitive)

    That’s such a great post! It’s definitively no difference whether you wear heels or not for work. I mean, I think you’re gonna work the same way in flats – or maybe even better because your feet are not hurting;) Well, every woman has to decide for herself. But nobody should be forced to wear heels – that’s crazy..
    xx, Carmen –

  • Arianna

    I wast just thinking about it yesterday! In my office we don´t have a dress code, meaning that some girls come dressing as if they are playing beach-volley. I don´t know if having to dress up fancy for work is what I really want, but I have to admit that coming to the office wearing Converse is not that bad!


  • Inma

    Companies that are on the top of their game keep making working conditions as flexible as possible for their employees because they know that their success lies in having motivated people. For a company to make women wear heels in the office seems like a step backwards all the way into the ice age, but luckily I think these are behaviours that will start disappearing. Thanks to the petition and the media attention the company apologised and changed their mind. Like in Arianna’s office, we don’t have a dress code at the office and people generally look very professional and presentable, whether they are wearing trainers or very smart shoes.

    Inma x

  • Camille Beygui

    This heel issue reflects such sexism in the working world ! It’s frightening but it’s actually very common. Like for instance, very often, the gears of waitresses are much more sexualized than the one of their male co-workers.

  • Sora

    I think all women should be entitled to wear whatever the heck they want to as long as it doesn’t interfere with the way they do their job. Especially heels, since – as much as they look good, sexy, professional and make you feel powerful- they are often uncomfortable and can make your feet and back hurt. Also, some women don’t know how to walk in heels because it simply is not their cup of tea and I don’t think they feel great walking down the hallways at the office, knowing they have a weird gait. Anyways, I’m so against forcing women to wear heels at work.

  • Jen

    I can’t believe this is even a discussion. I love wearing heels. I love wearing flats. I love wearing slippers. What does any of that have to do with how I perform at my job? The thing that scares me is that there are women who work at the company Nicola Thorp walked out on and they are enforcing these archaic rules. Can’t wait until the day my resume speaks louder than the blouse I put on for my interview.

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