That pain that you feel at the end of a long night—no, it's not a hangover and it's not exhaustion. We're talking about something worse—the pain that's caused by a seemingly evil and malicious pair of high heels. But, believe it or not, not all high heels are created equal. In some cases, they can actually be healthier for your feet than flats. "Excess pronation is a condition that affects 75 percent of the population and has been related to many conditions, such as heel pain (otherwise known as plantar fasciitis), knee pain, and even lower-back pain," says podiatrist Phillip Vasyli.
"Taking breaks at regular intervals is mandatory" Once, years ago, I attended a movie premier gala for the second "Sex in the City." Of course, high heels were required attire, and mine were very high! There were very few places to sit at the gala, and I must have stood in those heels for over two hours straight before going into the theater. The first order of business was to remove my shoes after finding my seat, and I spent the whole movie stretching my feet, as it says to do above. When the movie ended, I gathered my shoes from under my seat, feeling revived enough to make the two-block walk back to the car. But, hard as I tried, I could only get one of the shoes to go onto my swollen foot. Walking with one leg 5" longer than the other was not an option, so I made the trek barefooted. It was raining when I left the theater, and although I first met it with an "Oh, Sh*t," I quickly found that the puddles were welcomed finds along the way, as the cold water felt so good to my feet. ;-)
Some theory indicates that imagining yourself walking on an invisible straight line can do wonders. If you have ever watched catwalk models, you have seen that they always cross one foot in front of the other. This enables their hips to sway more. Many women wear high heels intending to look attractive and sexy, and they can get extra finesse by improving their walking style and posture.
It's safe to say that wearing heels isn't always a walk in the park. Sore ankles and achy arches are anything but ideal. Yet, women still do it on a daily basis. I mean, I can't blame all the heel-wearing ladies out there, because they do look fabulous and heels can totally take an outfit to the next level. However, it does suck to be in excruciating pain before you've even made it to work or an event.
Sometimes you’ve got a real stubborn pair of heels that’s always so uncomfortable to wear (but so pretty to look at). We get it—they’re too gorgeous not to use, so this is where the freezer hack comes in handy. Fill a small zip bag with water and put it inside your heels. Then, keep everything in the freezer overnight. In the morning, put on your heels and wear them for a few hours—your shoes will stretch to the shape of your foot, so bye-bye to that pinchy feeling.
Comfortable heels do exist, and I happen to own some of them. But every girl knows that some heels are not comfortable in any way, and we wear them only because they look amazing. Pain for the sake of beauty sucks. Why should you walk around in heels that pinch your feet and make your legs ache? Why should you feel like you’re about to fall over the second you stand up or take a step? Why should you spend an entire day longingly thinking of your slippers? There are things you can do to make heels comfier – and some of you need to start doing them, because going barefoot in public is not okay.
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It's amazing how much the shape of your shoe impacts the comfort. For instance, platforms (this kind, not the ones Elton John wore in the '70s) cut down the distance your heels are elevated above the balls of your feet. That means they're not as taxing on your arch, which is especially good when you're towering on at least three inches. A rounder toe box is also worlds more comfortable and better for your feet, because it allows your toes to lay flat. However, pointy toes are doable as long as the point stretches out instead of stopping right where your toes would rest.
Back blisters are the bane of every heel-wearer’s existence. (It’s bad enough your toes are suffering, but your heels, too?) To help prevent friction—that causes the blisters—against your heels, rub a little lip balm to the back of your feet where the skin meets the shoes. This will form an extra layer that’ll help prevent any painful blisters from ruining your day.
Making sure that the leather is conditioned is one thing that you can do to help keep your shoes in tip-top shape. Canfield McNish also recommended making sure that all of your heels have non-slip pads attached to the bottom. You can buy these at shoe stores, online, at stores like Target and Walmart, or at your local cobbler. The pads help keep you avoid slipping, but they also help protect your shoes from premature wear.
Walk the Walk: If you've ever watched models like Kendall Jenner or Kaia Gerber strut down the runway in stiletto heels as if they're walking on air, and thought to yourself, "HOWWWWWW," just know there's a method to their madness. First, you have to be incredibly aware of your posture and stand as straight as you can. You also need to engage your core and make sure your not leaning forward or backward. "It is important when walking in high heels to lead with the ball of the foot," an expert told Today. "Never lead with the heel as weight will often make the high heel collapse and result in an accident or injury."
One of Dr. Osterman’s favorite shoe brands is Pikolinos. The podiatrist-approved line boasts options that come with cushioned forefront beds, ample room in the toe boxes, and block heels for more stability. “The wider the heel, the less one has to balance on the shoe,” Dr. Osterman explains. “Think of the heel like a stilt – the smaller the heel, the more the calf muscles have to work, which can be unstable and fatiguing.”
I read about this stuff in some magazine at the salon (O, inStyle, Vogue? not sure which) and since high heels are not my best friend, I decided to give it a try. First time I used it, I was totally dressed except for my shoes when I remembered it, so I sprayed it on through my hose. The menthol scent was a kind of strong at first but it went away after a couple minutes. It felt cool and kind of tingly. I waited a minute or so until it dried some then I put on my spike heels and went off to party. Pretty amazing-- nearly 4 hours later I wasn't in any pain even though I 'd been standing nearly the whole time. I used it again the next day for work and was able to stay in my heels all day--a record for me. I did have to touch it up after about 5 hours but then I was good for the rest of the day. It wasn't greasy and didn't stain my stockings or shoes. Good stuff!
As well as suggesting Carnation Footcare's Gel Cushions, Dave suggested strengthening your feet and toes before a night out. He said: "Consciously straightening them and wiggling [your toes] can really help. You can also increase your foot flexibility, which will help your feet to cope in heels by following these steps: Stand facing a wall about 2 feet away. Place one foot against the wall, 3/4 inches from the floor, keeping your heel on the floor. Gently move your knee towards the wall until you feel slight stretching. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times, and then do the same with the other foot."
I may be a hardened heel advocate, but the lower foot pain in this case just never seemed to be worth the payoff. However, I’ve come to swear by one very cheap, slightly weird-sounding, simple trick to avoid that dull pain in the balls of your feet. You know, the kind that comes from attempting to wear anything taller than three inches with a heel thinner than a pencil for more than two hours straight.