Over the centuries, high heels have become a symbol of women’s femininity, beauty, and sexual appeal. High heel wearers know what to expect when they slip on their beloved (and perhaps slightly hated) heels before a board meeting or a night out. Recently though, women have begun to reject the idea that the pain they experience from wearing their favorite heels is acceptable. They’ve begun to throw their heels aside in favor of more “comfortable” alternatives. Unfortunately, the flats they turn to are often just as painful as heels, and more times than not, they’re considered an unacceptable option for many settings, including formal affairs such as a red carpet or black tie events. So what choice do we have left? And where does that leave our favorite Hollywood leading ladies? Julia Roberts, for one, is saying enough is enough. At her Cannes red carpet debut this year, Julia ditched her heels after formal red carpet photos and climbed the infamous Cannes red carpet stairs completely barefoot. This of course caused quite an uproar, as many assumed it was a rebellious reaction to last years Cannes scandal, when attendees were told they would not be allowed to walk the red carpet without heels. But what if her feet were just hurting and she didn’t feel stable walking up all of those stairs? What if her only statement was, “If you want me here, I’m going to do it my way”? That’s an attitude we can get on board with. Just two years ago Emma Thompson drove a similar point home during her 2014 Golden Globes presentation speech for “Best Screenplay”. She held up her Christian Louboutin heels and said “I just want you to know, this red? It’s my blood!” before tossing her shoes behind her moments later. [embed]https://youtu.be/bYRbT1Gmj3I[/embed] The “unspoken” rule for women has always been that you must wear heels to formal events. Heels will make you seem prettier and more feminine. This rule has been abided by for years, regardless of whether women are physically able to wear heels or not. However, the reality is that the prolonged wearing of the wrong heels (i.e. uncomfortable and unsupportive) will damage your feet long term. The antiquated thought that women should suffer to feel beautiful is beginning to be rejected and it’s about time. Women should always have a choice in what they wear to feel beautiful and confident, and it should never be at the cost of their health or comfort. Hollywood leading ladies like Julia Roberts and Emma Thompson are simply speaking up for all women when they toss their heels aside, the only difference is that unlike Joan Oloff customers, they don’t know that there are heel options available that won’t damage their feet.