Things I haven't missed during the pandemic: a daily work commute, non-QR code menus, crowded spaces, and...high heels.

Like many, I've accumulated a steady supply of WFH-friendly fashion — hoodies, stretchy pants, slides, even a pair of rubber clogs — since March 2020. Now, as we begin to emerge from the depths of the pandemic, it seems fashion's overlords have decided it's time we get out of our collective rut.

On the Spring/Summer 2022 runways in Milan and Paris, high heels abounded. Turning up their nose at our mercifully cushy Crocs and Birkenstocks, Saint Laurent's PVC stilettos — in all their sweaty, toe-pinching glory — serve as a signal of what's in our sartorial future.

Fendi and Versace's maximalist collaboration saw the debut of seemingly heel-less high heels. (How one walks in them remains a mystery.) At Versace's standalone show, Donatella took a similar approach: towering platform loafers seemed to laugh in the face of fashion's favorite practical shoe.

At Rick Owens, models pounded the pavement in thigh-high platform boots, standing in sharp contrast to, say, Jacquemus' flip-flops for Spring/Summer 2021.

Loewe took its footwear to creative new heights with hyperrealistic heels that resemble everyday objects such a birthday candles, bottles of nail polish, and bars of soap.

Even Prada, an expert in stylish wearability, showed sling-backs with an intimidating inverted wedge heel.

It only makes sense that fashion's ever-moving pendulum would swing back towards dressed-up footwear, given our nearly two-year-long embrace of loungewear. At some point, the clog-slide-slipper bubble was bound to burst.

There is something viscerally thrilling about slipping on a pair of sky-high stilettos — but still, it's with teary eyes that I accept fashion's inevitable return to the high heel.

Farewell, my flat-soled friends.

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