There are many casualties in the war to look and feel sexy, but this isn’t necessarily the way it should. Because wearing heels and feeling great is a quintessentially female experience, and we believe that it is worth fighting for. We don’t have any control over physics, but we do have a few clever ideas on how to wear heels without dying. Below we’ve compiled them for your viewing pleasure.
Lead With Your Thighs. It’s all in the thighs, as strange as that probably sounds hear us out. When you walk, lead each step with your thighs, moving your entire leg forward in one fluid motion. Think about it: You’re probably used to letting your feet take the lead. It takes practice, but if you employ this method you’ll find yourself placing less pressure on the ball of your foot, and ultimately reducing the torque your feet are under.
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.
There’s a way to walk in flats and there’s a way to strut in heels and never should the two be confused. “Heels are not sneakers — you have to carry yourself differently,” Stempien said. “Use your core muscles and stand up straight. Pretend you’re strutting your stuff on the catwalk and use your hips and legs to propel yourself forward. It should feel more like a bounce than a normal stride. Practice it at home until you’ve got it down pat — this can be one of the easiest ways to avoid pain in heels.”
Wet the insides of your high heel shoes to stretch them. Water can speed up the breaking in process by helping to mold the inside material of your shoes to your feet. Take a damp cloth and rub the insides of your high heels. Put them on while they’re still moist and wear them for an hour or more. You can also dampen a pair of socks and wear them with your high heels for the same amount of time.
Check, and then double check the heel placement. Heels (the location at the back of your foot) are another all too common source of misery for heel wearers. So make sure that you get the fit inch perfect here. Choose shoes with heels centered directly under the middle of your foot’s heel (left), not at the very back of the shoe (right). This will help tremendously with your mechanics and it will reduce the chances of heel pain.
Many of us love stilettos the way we love German chocolate cake. We know we can only handle a nibble or two, but goodness, how we want to gobble the whole thing up at once. Instead of wearing thin heels at all times, consider incorporating a funky wide heel into your wardrobe, as a chunkier heel will allow for your weight to be more evenly distributed, creating less pressure on the front of your foot, Vie Carpenter said.
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.
While we’re totally on board when it comes to sucking it in for a corseted top or dealing with a less-than-comfortable strapless bra, we’re so not here for torturing the most important part of our bodies — we’re talking feet here, people. Wearing high heels that kill your toes, heels, ankles and the balls of your feet instantly rob you of your happiness — and kinda take away from an otherwise cute outfit. Even Kate Upton would have a difficult time looking hot while wobbling around the room in pain.
"High heels may be painful for anyone; women suffering from varicose veins and underlying venous insufficiency are especially prone to discomfort," says Dr. Christopher Hollingsworth, an endovascular surgeon at NYC Surgical Associates. "Veins have a series of series of one-way valves to facilitate the return of blood towards the heart... While veins anywhere in the body can become varicose, veins in the legs are most affected due to the larger pressure from sustained standing, walking or other stress on the legs or feet."
I’ve heard people argue that my new, near-daily ritual is ridiculous, that no shoe is worth that much pain or effort. But how different are heels from other small rituals we undertake every day, such as applying makeup? The payoff in terms of the confidence I feel when stomping down the street in a pair of killer heels is worth way more than the extra 30 seconds added to my morning routine.