Despite the reigning popularity of sneakers and flats, high heels will always be around. And on occasions that do call for heels, you might as well maximize the comfort level in any way that you can. So if you’ve ever hobbled home after a long day or night in heels, this tip for how to make heels more comfortable is for you: Tape your third and fourth toes (counting from the big toe) together—we recommend nude medical tape for a low-profile look, but Scotch tape works in a pinch—to alleviate pain in the ball of your foot. Sound crazy? Here’s the reasoning: There’s a nerve that splits between those two toes, which causes pain when pressure is put on it (aka when you wear heels). The tape removes strain on the nerve, allowing you to dance the night away.
According to New York City-based podiatrist Emily Splichal, it’s not only about the heel. It’s important how you treat your feet post-wear, too: “Focus on stiletto recovery after a day or night in heels,” Dr. Splichal says. She rolling feet on a golf ball, stretching the calves, and spreading the toes with products like Correct Toes or Yoga Toes. “Even the healthiest heels are still stressful to the foot and body, so recovery is one of the most important secrets to being able to wear heels pain-free.”
Moleskin Madness: Before a big event or the first time your wearing those adorable new heels, pick up a pack of moleskin from the drug store and either line the straps and back of your shoe with the padding or put it right on your feet. Sadly, we can pretty much tell immediately after sliding the shoes on where they're going to rub us the wrong way. Before said blisters develop, put some moleskin on those areas to prevent painful and bloody bruises while you're out.
Heels with a square, open, or round toe are going to be much more comfortable than a narrow, pointy toed heel. Pointy toed heels smash toes together and compact the ball of the foot making it much more likely that you’ll experience discomfort quicker. This is especially true if your feet are on the wider side. If you know you’ll be standing a lot, opt for a square, round, or open toe shoe.
This is the most important rule: Don’t buy wedding shoes unless they fit you perfectly. Just don’t! If your shoes are already too snug, you’re only asking for pain after an hour or two — or maybe less. And then you’re not only going to ache, chances are you’ll end up with a painful blister and will then fantasize about crawling around for the rest of the day — because even changing into flats is painful when you have a gnarly blister.
"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. ;-)
Also known as “second skin,” moleskin is not actually animal hide (fortunately) but soft cotton flannel with adhesive backing. Sold in sheets and available in most drug stores and online, you can cut and customize the shape of moleskin to cover any trouble spots you have on your feet. It molds to the shape of your feet better than a bandage, and unlike a bandage, it won’t hang off your Achilles after half a day of walking.
Lucky for your tired, sore feet, we're on a mission to empower you to eliminate your footwear pain this holiday season. Over the years, we've become acquainted with plenty of shoe hacks (many of them directly from shoe designers) that help your feet feel much better inside all your fabulous heels. Armed with our favorite five—which we're breaking down below—you'll be able to dance the night away and never once feel like your feet are killing your fun.
Rough up the bottoms of your heels. It’s important that your shoes have a decent amount of traction on the bottom. Walking in high heels will be a lot easier and safer if you’re not sliding around all over the place. New heels tend to have smoother bottoms that become rougher once scuffed. Speed up the process by roughing up the bottom of your heels using a piece of sandpaper. Rub the bottom of your heels for a minute or two, or until the bottoms feel noticeably rougher.