Juliet Kaska knows the damage stilettos can inflict on feet. However, every now and then she admits to needing a high-heel fix.
“I can’t wait to rip off my active wear and get into heels and a dress,” said the celebrity trainer. “The funny [thing] is that I spend my day in leggings and sneakers while my friends spend theirs in heels and the latest fashions. They always say how they wish they could wear my attire to work.”
The founder of JK Zen Fitness, which has a string of locations in Los Angeles, and JK Fitness Pilates Studio, Kaska has helped high-profile clients including Pink and Kate Walsh get into shape. But it was Stacy Keibler who came to Kaska for help healing her feet after appearing on “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I understand the mechanics of the foot through Pilates,” said Kaska, who also has studied ballet. “I feel obligated to let my clients know the damage heels do to our feet over time. I offer them foot exercises and stretches to help counterbalance the damages we inflict on ourselves.”
And Kaska said heels alone are not to blame. “There’s another culprit — the ever-popular ballet flat. It offers zero support for the foot while simultaneously allowing the foot muscles to be lazy, creating a negative kinetic chain reaction up the leg into the hip, back and even the neck and shoulders.”
The exercise guru divides her wardrobe between flats, athletic looks and heels. But at the end of the day, Kaska said she looks forward to stepping into a pair of Ugg Australia slippers. “I know when they go on that I’m home and ready to kick back and unwind,” she noted.
Here, Kaska explains how she bridges the great divide in footwear.
Pairs owned: “I have 28 pairs of 2-inch or higher heels; nine pairs of flats or shoes lower then 2 inches; nine pairs of boots; 12 pairs of flip-flops; 22 pairs of sneakers; one pair of rock-climbing shoes; two pairs of hiking boots; and two pairs of ballet slippers.”
Brands represented: “My sneakers are predominantly Nike. I have recently fallen in love with the Rhythm Walker by Dr. Andrew Weil Integrative Footwear, as well as sandals from Orthaheel. As for heels, they vary from Prada to Nine West. Most of my boots are Michael Kors or BCBG.”
Workout shoe: “I will only run in New Balance 991. My general workout shoe is the Nike Lunarlon. I have it in 13 color variations.”
Everyday style: “When a dress or skirt isn’t in the picture, it’s the Rhythm Walker. It’s comfortable because of its podiatrist-designed, removable orthotic footbed, which gives my foot support and breathability.”
Favorite evening shoe: “My standard go-to outfit for a casual dinner is skinny jeans with Michael Kors knee-high black leather boots.”
Most uncomfortable: “Gorgeous cork wedges by Emilio Pucci. They’re only superseded in pain level by my ballet pointe shoes, which any dancer knows make your feet bleed.”
Most expensive: “I have a very generous client who loaned me her Christian Louboutin Pigalle crystal pumps for an awards show party. I believe they are about $3,000. I kissed the top of them and hugged her. It was so hard to take them out of my closet and give them back.”
Least expensive: “Other than flip-flops, a pair of wedges from Mossimo Supply Co. from Target. They were originally $39, but I purchased them on clearance for less than $15. I’ve had them for about three or four years. I took them to a shoe repair shop once and the owner was mortified. He fixed them for $10 — still a deal.”
Highest heel: “Five inches. I have a pair of BCBG pumps that are 5 inches, though the platform is 2 inches, which provides a tiny bit of relief.”
Best store: “I’ve become rather addicted to Gilt.com. It can be a very dangerous habit after a long day. However, for the tactile shoe shopping experience, I love Barneys, especially when it has shoe sales.”
Celebrity closet you’d like to raid: “If I could step back in time, it would be Grace Kelly’s because of her absolutely flawless fashion sense and for the time in which she lived.”
Shoe shopping companion: “My longtime friend Deborah Corday. She’s a great sale and bargain shopper. I have seen her in everything from Payless to Gucci. I will always take her advice on whether to buy. My only regret is she’s a size 6 and I’m not.”
Advice to manufacturers: “Quality. At the very least, make the classic black pump long-lasting. Alternatively, offer a Pump Station where you can send your shoes yearly to be serviced and loved back to life by their creators, much like Madame Alexander offers a doll hospital.”