Let's face it—my telling you not to wear heels won't convince you to stop (I wouldn't listen to me say that either), but how can you do so comfortably—and safely? As an ER doctor, I’ve treated many women with high heel-related injuries—including one who fell after getting her heel caught in cobblestones. In fact, a recent study showed that ER visits for injuries caused by heels have doubled since 2002, leading to foot and ankle sprains, fractures and other injuries.
We’ve all been through it -those nights where our shoes go from high heels to heel no! As much as we love our stilettos, we don’t love how they leave us limping, blistered, and sore by 10pm. There’s gotta be a better way, right? Short of busting out a pair of flats midway through the night (and pretty much ruining our ensembles), here are several nifty ways to make your heels more comfortable -so you can dance the night away (or at least attempt to do so a little more comfortably).
The more coverage you have on the top of your foot, the better. Sometimes high-heeled boots are actually something you can wear all day and they don’t bother your feet as much. In the summer, you can try something with an ankle strap or a big wide strap across the top. If you’re prone to blisters and friction, you might want to try that style, something that covers more of the top of your foot.
5. Stick Moleskin on the parts of your shoes that rub. Moleskin is a soft cotton fabric that has an adhesive back and can be cut to any size. If you have one part of the shoe that rubs (be it the toe, the heel, or a strap) cut a small piece of Moleskin and adhere it to the inside of the shoe. This will prevent friction and your feet can dance all night long.
When you walk, lead with your thighs, moving your entire leg forward at once. Think about it: You're probably used to letting your feet lead, right? It takes practice, but you'll find yourself putting less pressure on the ball of your foot this way. And remember: Move your legs from the hips and keep your legs straight. Bending knees looks goofy with heels.
Ice Ice Baby: The key to stretching your heels to be slightly more comfortable is sitting right in your kitchen! By filling plastic bags with water, putting the bags inside your shoes, and placing the shoes in the freezer, the water will expand as it freezes and stretch out your heels. Just make sure there is no air left in the bags before you seal them tight. Seventeen suggests keeping the shoes in the freezer for 4 to 8 hours, and then "let them sit at room temperature until the ice thaws to a point where you can slip the bags out of your shoes."
One way to make your heels more comfortable is to wear them in. Wear them around the house, wear them to run an errand, or even for a walk around the block before you wear them all night to a big event. To speed up the process, if your shoes are made from a sturdy leather material, you can even blow dry them! "The heat from the blow dryer can make it easier to break in an uncomfortable pair of heels", says Lexie Nicole, a part time pole fitness instructor. She suggests this to her students:
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.”
Iggy Azalea walked a mile in her Louboutins, but can you imagine what walking even a couple blocks in these would feel like afterward? It's amazing that we willingly wear shoes that sometimes hurt so much, it takes an hour-long ice bath just to recover. And yet, it's hard to ditch high heels completely: They elongate your legs, they make your calves look amazing, and there's something empowering about the sound of your own feet clacking against a hard surface.
Keep silica gel packets in your shoes when they’re not being worn. Have you noticed after purchasing a pair of new shoes those little white packets containing tiny clear balls inside your shoe box? Those packets contain silica gel which absorb moisture and keep your shoes from shrinking. Hold on to those packets instead of throwing them away and stick them in your shoes when you’re not wearing them. You can ask a shoe store associate for extras, if necessary.