Can You Wear Heels In Carmel By The Sea?

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Have you ever heard the myth about it being Illegal To Wear High Heels In Carmel within the city limits?

It’s not a myth – some shoes are illegal to wear in Carmel. Read this blog post and find out what the city’s laws are regarding footwear. It may surprise you at what’s legal and what’s not.

In Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, it is illegal to wear high heels in public – if the heels are over two inches in height and less than one square inch of bearing surface without first getting a permit from the City Hall.

Do Police Enforce The Law Banning High Heels In Carmel?

The municipal code makes it a crime to wear some shoes while walking in Carmel, but the police do not enforce the law banning high heels. The permit is easy to get and there is no charge to get one.

You Can Get A Free Permit At City Hall

If your heels are banned in Carmel and require a permit, you can get one for free at the Carmel-by-the-Sea City Hall. It’s on Monte Verde Street, between Ocean Avenue and 7th Avenue.

Many Monterey Peninsula tourists and visitors get a permit. Not because they want to wear heels over 2 inches high, but because they like the idea of a free souvenir from their visit to Carmel.

The permit is a nice, official looking certificate with your name on it, and it’s even signed by one of Carmel’s city clerks on duty. It will be a nice conversation starter at your next party or family get-together when you get back home.

Why Is It Illegal To Wear High Heels In Carmel?

The city passed the historic law in 1963 as recommended by the City Attorney. There is actually a very logical reason for this incredibly weird law.

Carmelites are very protective of the city’s fairytale houses, picturesque charm, and urban forest character, along with its many Cypress and Monterey Pines. However, trees and sidewalks don’t always mix very well. As the trees grow, so do their root systems and there lies the problem.

The roots have sometimes pushed up the sidewalks and pavement in the business area of Carmel-by-the-Sea up. People may trip on the uneven walkway. The reason they banned heels in Carmel was to reduce the risk of the city being sued by someone in high heels, tripping and getting injured.

What size of high heels are legal in Carmel

 What Size High Heel Is Legal vs. Illegal?

If you are wearing high-heeled shoes that are two inches or higher and the base of the heel is one square inch or less of a bearing surface, then you are supposed to have a permit.

 Are Cowboy Boots Illegal In Carmel?

Cowboy boots, men’s and women’s dress boots, and all other types of high-heeled boots are legal provided the heels are less than 2″ high and the base of the heel is over 1″ -square.

If your heels don’t meet the requirement, you can always go to City Hall and pickup a permit. So, go ahead and put your boots on.

Woman on beach holding high heels

High Heels – May Not Be The Best Footwear For Walking Around the Village And Visiting Carmel Beach

If you’re thinking about wearing high heels to a fancy restaurant for dinner, and then walking down Ocean Avenue to visit the beach, think again.

Just remember, not only do you have to walk down the hill, but you’ll have to walk back up the hill.

Also, do you really want to put on your shiny, new, stiletto Louboutins, knowing that they might get scratched by the sand?

Not only are they going to be uncomfortable, but they also make it harder to get around and could lead to falls. Instead, go for some comfortable walking shoes – flats, sneakers, or sandals.

Read The Official City Code That Bans Wearing Shoes With High Heels In Carmel

1. The wearing of footwear with heels which measure more than two inches in height and less than one square inch of bearing surface upon the public streets and sidewalks of the City is prohibited, without the wearer’s first obtaining a permit for the wearing of such shoes. (Ord. 87 C.S. § 1, 1963; Code 1975 §.

Permit Conditions–Non-liability for City is defined by a city ordinance that governs how the city issues and enforces permits for construction, excavation, and other activities.

1. Anyone who desires to wear shoes with heels in excess of the limitations set out in CMC

2.020 may do so by obtaining a permit from the City Clerk, who will certify in writing that s/he is familiar with the provisions of CMC

3.010 and by agreeing to relieve the City from any and all liability for damages to her/himself or to others caused by her/his falling upon the public streets or sidewalks of the City while wearing such shoes. (Ord. 87 C.S. § 1, 1963; Code 1975 §.

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