Erin Ton: High Elevation, High Heels

When it comes to tales from the trail, Erin Ton tells hers in style. This Colorado native is known for her unique ability to hike in high heels. And she doesn’t conquer just any trail in her stiletto pumps—Ton has made it to the top of 57 of Colorado’s 14ers in her high-heeled shoes.

Why does Ton take on such serious challenges in footwear many would call impractical? It started as a joke and ended as a reality. For whatever reason, 23 year old Ton found herself at the base of Colorado’s Mount Elbert dressed in the only high heels she owned at the time. And from there she decided to make the trek up to the summit.

She told The Gazette that she’d climbed the mountain before in expected hiking attire, but felt like doing so in high-heeled shoes would be “kind of a full-circle thing.”

She made it to the ascent in just two hours, a much faster climb than her previous journey to the top.

“Personally, it’s symbolic of how far I’ve come,” Ton further told The Gazette. She went on to say she struggled so much the first time she climbed Mount Elbert and is now proud she can cruise to the top in heels.

She’s paired her high-heeled hiking shoes with a short red dress for many of her hikes, which include Quandary Peak, Mount Sherman, and Mount Bierstadt. Ton has gotten lots of comments on social media and from hikers she meets on the trail, which she usually responds to with a smile.

Are You Considering Hiking in Heels?

While Ton doesn’t recommend that less experienced hikers head to the trail in high heels, she expresses that she knows her personal boundaries and is comfortable making the trek.

What do the experts think about moving so much in high heels? While this commentary isn’t specific to hiking in high heels, there are a few things you can do to wear the stylish shoes more safely.

According to information from the American Osteopathic Association, frequent high-heel wearers can prevent pain and injuries by regularly stretching out their plantar fascia and calves. You might stretch against a wall or use a foam roller.

The American Osteopathic Association also points out that the slope of the shoe is more important that the height of the heel when it comes to safety and comfort. This means you might feel more comfortable and enjoy more stability in a high-heeled shoe with a platform sole. The platform sole reduces the pitch or angle between the heel and the toe, which helps distribute weight more evenly across the whole foot. A wider block heel can help stabilize and spread weight.

Additionally, high-heel wearers should avoid shoes with narrow toe boxes. Ensuring your shoes fit snuggly can also improve the wearing experience, as a properly fitted high heel prevents friction from shoes sliding back and forth.

Want to learn more about Erin Ton and her high-heeled hikes? Follow her on Instagram at @erin_ton7.

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