High Heel Hundred: Why One Man Is Trading His Loafers For Pumps

Tomorrow marks the 5th year of one of the most unique races in the Upstate, the High Heel Hundred, put on the by Converse College Student Government.

The race in pumps has a serious purpose, to highlight the pay gap among men and women. We talked to one man who has a very personal reason for participating.

Kyle Keefer is the type of man who is willing to put himself in someone else’s shoes, no matter the challenges.

“This size of shoe isn’t the normal size of shoe that you would find at a woman’s shoe store, so it was difficult to find,” he said, but it was even more difficult to run in.

We caught him tripping a few times. So why is he trading-in his loafers for heels?

Hi mom has a lot to do with it.

“When I was six my father passed away. And at that time my mom was not working. And so when he died, she became the sole earner and obviously parent for both my sister and me,” he said.

Growing up, Keefer didn’t realize how is mother, a teacher, was likely earning far less than her male counterparts. But he’s seen the latest government statistics that show even today, female teachers earn 30% less on average.

“You can check the bureau of Labor Statistics that looks at occupation and holds constant a lot of those factors that could giver rise to wage differences, and that will show that although we’ve come a long way and parity is certainly close or even completely equal in some areas, some occupations have a long way to go,” said Madelyn Young, an Economic Professor at Converse College.

“Having that much more income would have made a very large difference in the lives that my sister and mom and I lived,” said Keefer. He has the motivation.

Today we caught him getting some much needed instruction from a Converse student helping to put on the High Heel Hundred.

About twice the number of women as men are expected to turn out for the races on main street in Spartanburg tomorrow, but one way they’ll both be equal, everyone will have to have at least 2 inch heels.

“When I’m not just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, It will be a reminder that women still, even though they’ve made advances, have some difficulties that men just don’t face,” he said.


– Converse College Student Government Association is hosting the fifth annual High Heel Hundred, a 100-meter dash through downtown Spartanburg, this Friday, Sept. 11 at 5 PM. Check-in begins at 4:30 near the Denny’s Plaza. The road will be blocked for the race.
– Why run?
The High Heel Hundred seeks to promote awareness of the continued need for women’s equity. The gender pay gap is a very real issue impacting society as a whole, and yet it is often overlooked. Women excel in their careers and continue to break glass ceilings – often while juggling the demands of family life or other obstacles.

Who can run?
Men’s race (come run for the women in your life!),
Women’s race,
Kids races (no heels for kids)
– Requirements to run?
2-inch minimum heel height for men and women
– Registration online at: http://www.converse.edu/HighHeelHundred
Proceeds from the registration fee to directly to benefit The Haven homeless shelter
$10 for adults, $5 for college students and youth, FREE for kids 5 and under

Interesting notes:

Event emcee is Katherine Fulmer, a Converse alumna and Spartanburg community leader
President Betsy Fleming runs alongside students and has done so every year.

The race is an opportunity for Converse students to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with business and community leaders, together raising their voices (and “kicking up their heels!”) to have a little fun while advocating for equitable compensation for women. It was conceived by Converse students five years ago, and become a tradition for our community.

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