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Is it okay to ditch painful heels to dance barefoot in public?

Stock photo | Getty Images | Photodisc/Stock photo | Getty Images | Photodisc

The question

I bought shoes with a steep heel to wear to a wedding and, by the time the dancing started, my feet were killing me. I took my shoes off and danced in my stockings, but my boyfriend made a snarky comment about it. Is removing one's shoes in public a faux pas?

The answer

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I am torn: I don't condone discomfort, and I certainly wouldn't want to discourage anyone from dancing, which is already fraught with enough obstacles. But I find there is little sexier than a woman dancing in killer heels. (Yes, I realize I don't have to wear them.)

I asked my stylist colleague, Amy Lu, what to do, and she advised picking shoes with an open toe for endurance events or maybe squishing a pair of foldable ballet flats into your clutch just for the dancing. But I think that's sad. What's the point of beautiful new shoes if they are lying in a pile with the purses? I am guessing you weren't totally happy with dismantling your outfit for the sake of R. Kelly and Jay-Z. (If you had been, you wouldn't have written.) So I appealed to Lu: Isn't it true that the more expensive the shoe, the more comfortable it's likely to be? She replied, "Bollocks. Louboutins are notoriously uncomfortable. It depends on the shape of your foot." There you have it: Even a professional fashion stylist is in favour of tossing the shoes for a dance.

Russell Smith's latest novel is Girl Crazy . Have a fashion question? E-mail

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