Paris- the fashion capital of the world. After walking around this iconic city for over two months, I’ve witnessed some gorgeous arrays of footwear on the most fashion forward of European women. Now that the temperature seems to have permanently dipped below stiletto-and-jeans weather, opportunity has risen for quite a delicious display of boots. Winter boots. Stiletto boots. Flat boots. Riding boots. Leather boots. Suede boots. Over the knee boots. Ankle boots. Boots galore!

Those who love to dress up love winter, love the chance to delve into yummy sweaters, cozy jackets, the softest coats, fur vests and stoles, cashmere scarves, goosedown gloves, and hair-friendly hats. I have certainly learned while living in Paris that every time you step out of your door, what you are stepping out in is fit to be judged by any and all. You have styled yourself according to the weather and your own personal tastes, and the fashion show is about to begin. All accessories add flair and excitement to any outfit, but in winter when most skin is hiding beneath sumptuous layers, the accessories that everyone notices are located on your feet.

While I feel confident making the trek to and from all classes on Loyola’s campus in my highest of heels, city life is definitely an adjustment. With every season and every wardrobe change, one learns something new about their surroundings. Whether you learn to carry an umbrella wherever you go after 5pm, or to never wear long scarves on the Metro, every sartorial lesson is of vital importance to a comfortable existence in a new city.

No one needs to be educated on the psychological and physical benefits to wearing a divine pair of high heels, either stilettos, pumps or boots. But when walking around the city- window-shopping, sightseeing, crossing streets amid speeding vespas and those ruthless Mercedes taxis- I have to wonder if the heel is practical for city life? Some of the chicest and most wonderful finds in the city are located half an hour’s walk from the closest Metro station. The Champs-Elysses is over 3 Metro stations long. Walking is inevitable. If you can find an equally chic pair of boots with a slightly more walkable and comfortable insole, is it worth the exchange?

I’ve seen women walk up the steps of the Sacre Cour at Montmartre in every piece of footwear from practical rain boots to hideous clogs to a pair of spectacular Dolce & Gabbana over the knee boots, and I’ve found myself not only admiring certain footwear choices but musing as to their state of comfort. Are they able to fully enjoy every scent and sound when cursing their blisters and aching soles? Are they really able to fully take in the breathtaking view when constantly shifting their weight from tortured foot to tortured foot?

So here I am, at this impasse, and I pose this question for the remainder of my winter sojourn in Paris: to heel or not to heel?