The Flats vs. Heels Debate Comes to 'Jurassic World'

Jurassic World Bryce Dallas Howard Chris Pratt
Howard goes with Pratt to face hybrid dinosaur Indominus rex

From this column's perspective, the only thing wrong amid the drama and excitement of Jurassic World was the nude stiletto-heeled shoes worn by the heroine, which have now become as much of a talking point as the CGI.

That's because Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire, the operations manager at the Jurassic theme park, spends the first half of the film using them – and her hair, which is ironed into an immaculate bob – to assert herself as a traditionally uptight control-freak caricature of a boss-lady at the Jurassic theme park, and the second half using them to run full tilt – through the jungle, up and down steps, over surfaces slick with mud and water and blood. (Her hair suffers a bit and looks miles better for being a little ruffled and scrunched. The heels, miraculously, neither fall off, nor break, nor cause her major injury.) "I did a lot of ankle exercises," Howard said, when asked how on Earth she managed this feat. "I mean, honestly I trained for running in heels as if I was in the Olympics."

Of course it's silly. Even the film acknowledges that. When Howard tells Owen (Chris Pratt, the hero), that she's coming with him into the jungle to find her missing nephews, he scoffs: "You'll last just two minutes in there. Less in those ridiculous shoes." She replies by rolling up her sleeves and knotting her shirt around her waist – but keeps the shoes on.

Could this be because those stiletto spikes might prove a handy weapon in felling a genetically modified dinosaur? If only. The director, Colin Trevorrow, has said that Howard insisted on wearing those heels, and that "surrendering the heels felt like surrendering the femininity of the character even though women are ... I don't want to say forced to wear heels — but you're expected to wear heels in certain environments."

Aquazzura's pointy flats
Aquazzura's pointy flats

Hmph. Surely, how much more fascinating would it have been to give her character the task of asserting her dominance through other means than spiky heels? What she should have worn, of course, is flats. These might not have the connotations of boardroom clout that high heels traditionally convey, but they are utterly on-trend and the fashion-pack have embraced them wholeheartedly. A pair of Aquazzura's pointy flats would have been perfect and, thanks to their lace-up fronts, they would have stayed securely in place, too.

Fashionistas may be striding off confidently in this direction but for much of the world high heels are still deemed necessary for womanly glamour – viz the contretemps when ticket-holding guests at this year's Cannes film festival were turned away from the Todd Haynes film Carol because of their choice of footwear ("rhinestone flats", ie sparkly, but nonetheless flat, evening shoes).

So is Howard letting down the sisterhood? Technically, yes, but the odd thing is, if you've seen the film, you really can't accuse her of that.

When she runs, she really runs. And when you sprint, you are up on your toes, so maybe those spiky heels are just an irrelevance, like outdated attitudes. Perhaps Howard was right to insist on keeping the heels. Certainly, no one is going to forget them.