Tall story: Claire Coleman in her six-inch stilettos
Ladies, consign your Crocs to the cupboard, bin your Birkenstocks and unburden yourself of your Uggs.
This year, it's all about heels. And not just any heels: the only ones to be seen in are those preceded by adjectives such as "vertiginous", "teetering" and "skyscraper".
They have even been dubbed "limo heels" - a reference to the fact that they are usually worn by Hollywood starlets who rarely have (or would physically be able) to totter farther than the few steps that separate their limo from the red carpet.
These heels were never meant for anything as prosaic as walking: they are made to be seen.
But this season, "limo heels" have broken free of the red carpet and are heading for the High Street.
The highest of all - ones that will have your podiatrist in despair - are a Louis Vuitton pair with heels that stand a staggering 17cm.
That's nearly seven inches in old money. And although they're not available until next month, there's already a waiting list.
There are plenty of other towering options in this year's shoe rack, though, with six inches of stiletto on offer from the likes of Gina and Jimmy Choo.
Christian Louboutin, whose red-soled shoes are worn by just about every Alister you can think of, is certainly no slouch when it comes to turning out tottering heels, but the hottest selling design this year is one of his tallest yet.
At six inches, the Catenita, a peeptoe slingback, may be a smidgen shorter than her Vuitton sister, but she's still kicking up a storm in the world of the high-maintenance heel.
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Indeed, several glossy mags, including American Vogue, have devoted entire features to the potential podiatry problems that such heels can cause. Bunions and blisters are pretty much par for the course.
To be honest, with shoes this gorgeous, that's a risk I'm willing to take. But can you really wear a pair of shoes like this for more than a couple of minutes? I decided to find out.
The minute I slip on the new Louboutin Catenitas (£495 a pair), I feel different. It's why I love high heels.
I adore the stature that a very high heel gives you (I'm only 5ft 6in). The way it forces you to stand up straighter; the way it defines the muscles of the leg. There's a lot to be said for being the tallest woman in the room, and looking a 6ft man in the eye. When you're 6in taller, the world is a very different place.
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And even though, gradually, I become accustomed to my new height, a trip to the photocopier takes me twice as long as usual.
Every loose carpet tile suddenly represents a potential death trap. I feel a little like a dressage horse, taking exaggerated care over exactly where I place my feet.
I decide to pop out to pick up some lunch. Negotiating the office escalator, I'm concerned that the cigarette-thin heels may get stuck in the grooves. Fortunately, they're just wide enough to avoid disaster, and the Louboutins and I leave the building unscathed.
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Out on the street, I find myself looking at the tops of people's heads rather than their backs. It's almost exhilarating to be this tall. And it could be my imagination, but my taller, leggier self seems to be attracting a lot more attention than the regular dumpy version.
Men seem unable to take their eyes off my shoes. Schoolchildren stare at me like I'm some exotic zoo creature.
One woman actually calls across the street to me: "I love your shoes."
And a policeman comes up - I kid you not - to ask: "Are those Louboutins? They're my favourites."
This must be what it feels like to be Elle Macpherson or Erin O'Connor.
Supermarket shopping is a revelation, too. Normally, I struggle if I need something from a top shelf - but in my "limo heels", everything is within reach. If there's a downside to these shoes, I've yet to stumble across it.
And while I wouldn't claim they were exactly comfortable, they're not painful. The secret lies in a hidden platform under the ball of the foot which minimises the elevation of the hee. It means my foot is in the same position as it would be in a 5in stiletto.
For a seasoned heel aficionado like myself, that's a walk in the park.
Half-an-hour later, I'm feeling slightly less gung-ho.
My toes are starting to go numb from the downward pressure being exerted on them, and I've had a nasty moment on a cobbled street that I thought was going to end painfully.
I'm late for a meeting at the office, and the walk back - normally a ten-minute stroll - feels like climbing Everest on stilts.
I see a bus, but running for it is out of the question.
n the absence of a limo, I decide to hail a taxi. Forget the potential health hazards of these shoes: it's my wallet that they're going to do serious damage to.
Safely back at my desk, I have time to contemplate the practicalities of these extraordinary shoes.
There's not a lot to weigh up: if you have to spend anything more than 30 minutes at a time on your feet, or regularly walk across anything other than a wrinkle-free carpet, they're utterly impractical. But when wearing them makes me feel like a more confident and more attractive version of myself, frankly, who cares?
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