According to Sutera, there are three key elements any body-healthy shoe should have. “In a sensible shoe, you need shock absorption, cushioning and arch support. When you’re not getting that on a regular basis, you’re either going to cause an injury or make something that you are susceptible to, such as a bunion or hammertoe, worse.” In addition, according to the APMA, any high-heel shoe should have a heel that is two inches or shorter to decrease strain on the body.
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You can use heat to soften the material of your new shoes. Using a blow dryer, blast your shoes with air (make sure to move the blow dryer around to evenly distribute the air and avoid melting the material). Once the material is warmed up and more pliable, gently twist and bend the shoes in the center to break them in. Don't go overboard and bend them so far that they don't return to their natural shape, or so hard that they break.
Many women never get their shoe sizes right. Understand that over the years, your shoe size is likely to change due to various factors. If you have never had your feet sized, perhaps this is the right time to do so. Additionally, repeat this once annually or every time you are purchasing shoes. The measurements should include both width and length. Avoid buying shoes randomly without having your feet measured because different brands are differently designed.
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.
Blast your heels with heat. Heat is an effective way to soften a material and make it more pliable. Carefully warm your heels using a blow dryer or a small heater for about a minute or two. Watch how your heels react to the heat because certain materials don't do so well under heat for long periods of time. You can bend and twist your heels while they’re still warm. Or you can wait until they’ve cooled and put them on with a pair of socks to stretch them.
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.
New York City-based podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera encourages women to wear “commuter shoes” so they’re not pounding the pavement in not-so-comfy soles all day. “Change into your heels at the event or party,” she advises. Try choosing strappy but sensible pumps like these that are appropriate for work, a dressed up brunch, or even happy hour. The versatile heel also comes with a cushioned footbed, so your feet can feel at ease at any type of event.
Know your foot type. In my opinion, a podiatrist would be the best way to know your foot type and what’s going on. If you can’t run out to the podiatrist, there’s a couple of neat ways to see if you have a flat foot or a high-arch foot. Wet your foot and step onto a piece of construction paper. When you make an impression, it will show you how much your foot is flattening or how high of an arch you have. You can look at a person’s foot type and see why they are having pain.
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.
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."
But you don't have to swear off high heels altogether. It's possible to make high heels more comfortable. Just pay attention to how much lift you're getting. “Two inches is my cut-off,” says Ward. “A heel below that height does not add significant stress to the metatarsals as the weight can remain distributed between the heel and forefoot.” This also helps you stay balanced (read: no wipe-outs) in your kicks, she notes.
Bend and twist them. You can work out the stiffness of your new heels by bending and twisting them. Apply slight pressure as you bend the shoes upwards and downwards and twist them side to side. Don’t do either method too hard or too quickly. You don’t want to force the shoe into a position that it shouldn’t be making. Doing so could damage the shoe or weaken it in places that should remain sturdy.
Vasyli recommends opting for well-constructed "quality" shoes, especially those that have shock absorbing materials in the ball of the foot, and using an insert like Orthaheel, which he invented. He also suggests wearing your highest heels for only short periods at a time and giving them a little bit of closet time now and then."If you feel the need to wear higher-heeled shoes daily, then take a more comfortable shoe to get to and from work and wear the higher shoes while you're sitting at your desk," he adds.
Also, if you're wondering whether this means Katie has had maxi pads in her shoes every time we've seen her at a Pump event, the answer is "most of the time." If you're a huge fan of the show, you must read my entire chat with her. I found her to be super relatable, and she shared some mean beauty DIYs (as well as answering my fangirl question about Kyle Richards' hair).
If you're willing to sacrifice a little height for the ability to walk through a room with ease, consider shaving down the heel. For around $15, a shoe repair shop like Steve Express Shoe Repair in New York City can simply cut off a portion of the spike. According to Steve, the owner, the maximum that's usually removed is "around an inch." Any more and you would feel the difference in the shoe's arched construction.
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.