Gen Z Loves Stilettos. So Do Women Over 50.
Gen Z Loves Stilettos. So Do Women Over 50.

Gen Z Loves Stilettos. So Do Women Over 50.

By Fran Hoepfner

June 6, 2024

As seen on

There’s no mistaking the sound of a stiletto heel on pavement. It’s between a click and a clack, and hints at anticipation: Someone is coming, and that someone can balance on a 5-inch, leather-covered spike. These days, that person could be 25 or 55—but maybe not an age in between. Though millennials and younger Gen Xers have swapped the stiletto for more-grounded options, the heel is a shared obsession among Gen Zers and women over 50. 

“Stilettos cross generations,” said Marion Parke, a designer and podiatrist in Manhattan whose shoes include an inset for heightened comfort. “My 20-year-old niece wanted a pair…My mother, who is 78, has the same ones,” she said. 
Named for an Italian dagger, stilettos became popular in the 1950s, when manufacturers fused steel rods onto footwear. Their shape tilts a woman’s buttocks and breasts up and out to enhance traditional sex appeal. Over the years, stilettos were seen on femme fatales like ’60s Bond Girls and Y2K’s “Sex and the City” heroine Carrie Bradshaw, and came to represent both female dominance and submission, depending on which feminist critic you read with your morning coffee. 
Today, though, “stilettos represent a return to fun,” said Katie Abel, executive editor of trade publication Footwear News. She noted that many Gen Zers are now buying heels for the first time after spending much of their adolescence in lockdown, while older women have resumed in-person life—and the shoes that go with it.

Christa Consadene, a 50-something school administrator in Philadelphia, wears her stilettos to the office, noting that in heels, she feels “able to move forward with all I need to accomplish.” Ad executive Diane Katz, 61, said, “They’re sexy, that’s number one.” The Boca Raton, Fla., resident says that in the boardroom, she feels most powerful in a pair of Saint Laurent spike heels and a form-fitting dress.

Read the full article here