by Tina Cheung
High-heeled ankle boots, stilettos, kitten heels, wedges and platforms cover the streets of Pyongyang.
Nearly every woman in Pyongyang wears high heels.
A young female tour guide said the rumour that heels are required on the main roads that tourist buses travel on is untrue.
“We think wearing heels are beautiful, so we all do,” she said.
High-heeled shoes either made in Korea or imported from China are in supermarkets and malls, the guide said. A pair is around 1,000 won, she said, or around US$ 10 using the official rate, much less on the black market.
Despite the pain wearing heels all day can bring, the guide wears them every day, she says. Even on active workdays that can last 12 hours. She said her brother, who is studying in medical school, massages her sore legs after a long day. She also worries about getting overly big calf muscles.
Over the past two years, an opening up in fashion, including women in earrings and trousers, has been noticed by visitors to Pyongyang. There are also many photos of female soldiers patrolling in high platform heels.
Kim Jong-un, who has been in power for three years, is said to be like his grandfather in relaxing clothing restrictions for women. He also removed the ban on women riding bicycles, which they now do in their high-heels.