In that sense, it’s telling that pretty much all involved describe Claire’s perma-pumps in terms of punishment. “I trained for running in heels as if I was in the Olympics,” Howard remarked to an interviewer, with no apparent irony. “She was a trooper,” Pratt echoed, not mentioning the fact that this particular kind of trooping could have been avoided with a practical pair of hiking boots or, at the very least, ballet flats. “And,” the actor added, wonderingly, “she never once rolled an ankle or popped a knee or anything.”
It's also telling, however, that right after praising his co-star’s happy avoidance of knee-popping—encouraged by the Late Show host James Corden, and by Corden's audience—Pratt, donning a pair of pumps for the first time, ended up flapping his arms around like a dainty little ladybird. The actor’s considerable comic instincts took him to the same conclusion that pretty much any Jurassic World viewer could fairly come to: There’s something fundamentally silly about heels.
That idea, to varying degrees of irony, has long been exploited by blithe treatments of perma-pumps in films (and TV shows) that don’t happen to co-star animatronic dinosaurs. There's Lisa Reisert in Red Eye, running through an airport in stilettos; there's Juliet in Psych, detective-ing in pumps, and Annie Walker in Covert Affairs, spying in the same; there's Claire Underwood in House of Cards, lounging around her townhouse—as one does, etc.—in stilettos; there are Women, both Wonder and Cat, running and scissor-kicking in heeled boots. There's also the cliché of the weaponized heel (the death of Ms. Suzuki in True Blood; the death of Sam in Single White Female; Catwoman's reminder, in The Dark Knight Rises, that “stiletto” gets its name from the Italian word for “dagger”).
And there's also, at the other end of the irony spectrum, the cliché of the hacked heel—epitomized by Jack’s machete-ing of Joan’s heels in Romancing the Stone—and of the dramatic de-stiletto, which finds, for example, Veep's Selena Meyer removing her uncomfortable shoes pretty much the second she is out of the public eye.
Jurassic World's footwear carries a whiff of this same kind of self-awareness. Yes, it’s stupid that Claire is wearing heels to fight dinosaurs. The movie, however, is perfectly aware of this stupidity. Moreover, it chose the stupidity for itself. Bryce Dallas Howard, the star has said, wanted her character to be clad in heels. “First of all, I just believe that she’s one of those women who say they walk so much better in heels,” Howard told The Daily Beast. "I’m absolutely not one of those women. Beyoncé, for example! But I thought she’s definitely that person.”
Claire’s perma-pumps, Howard argues, reflect not just her character, but also the feminism of the current moment. “I think where we are now, for me, it’s about embracing my femininity as my greatest strength, and a God-given strength,” she said. For Claire, Howard added, “The thing that would have been considered the biggest handicap for her ultimately ends up being her strength. And that’s those heels. I really liked that.”