Christmas and New Year's parties should have us dancing the night away, but amid the bubbles, karaoke and Secret Santa gifts is that pesky foot pain from having to keep those sparkly stilettos on for hours on end. High heels looked great but can be painful, and so to help we have put together top tips for being able to walk (and dance) in heels without pain. Check out our tips so you can party pain free!
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.
Some of you are likely now saying, "Why don't you just wear flats?" Let me tell you, I wear sneakers whenever possible, but I also like to get dressed up and wear heels sometimes! The 2017 rules of feminism definitely say that women don't ever have to wear heels, so if they're not your thing, just go for flats. I know a lot of girls, and some guys who love to wear heels, though, even at the expense of comfort.
I should add that I’m very particular about my shoes, they need to be good quality with a well balanced heel. Yes, I’ve actually spent time discussing this with my trusty shoe repair guy. After many blisters and much frustration I’ve discovered a few tricks that are making a world of difference. Basically, I stopped applying the solutions to my shoes but rather I apply them straight to my feet. So how to wear high heels without pain? It isn’t very glamorous but here goes:
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.
Not surprisingly, the higher and thinner the heel, the worse it is for your foot, says Sutera. “Pumps and stilettos are probably the worst,” she says, as are shoes with a heel higher than two inches. Another no-no? Wearing high heels too often and for too long. “It’s not recommended to wear heels for long periods of standing or walking, nor should you wear them every day,” explains Sutera.
Consider a lower or more comfortable style. Choose a thicker and more stable heel like a platform, wedge, or chunky heel to provide more support and weight distribution. Shy away from pointed-toe styles if you have wide feet or toes, opting for round or almond-shaped instead. You can also buy heeled boots or heels with ankle straps to help support your ankles.
This secret to reduce pain while wearing heels is so good, you’re going to want to share it. Woman’s Wear Daily recommends taping your third and fourth toes (counting from the big toe) together to alleviate pain from wearing high heels. Sound crazy? The proof is in the science: there’s a nerve that splits between those two toes, which causes pain when pressure is put on it (like when you wear heels). The tape helps to remove strain on the nerve.
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.”
The Multifunctional Blow Dryer: On the other side of the thermostat, heat will also loosen your heels for comfortable wear. By blowing your hair dryer across the top of the shoe, you can make the shoe more flexible on a warm or hot setting. There are two options here: you can do this while the heels are on your feet or while they're off. If you're not wearing the heels, after blowing them with some warm air, twist the sole (or where they were hurting you) while they're malleable enough to loosen and break them in. If you want to do this with the shoes on your feet, grab your thickest pair of stocks and put them on before using the blow dryer. Concentrate the dryer on the parts of your shoe that were hurting you the most and move your feet around while the dryer is blowing. After about 30 seconds, walk around with the thick socks and heels on (stylish, we know) and break. those. shoes. in!
With all the pressure on your poor little feet from wearing high heels, it’s no surprise you're getting corns and calluses (you know, those tiny, hard lumps of skin). To keep this from happening, cut up pieces of moleskin—you can find either rolls or pads from your nearby home store and apply them at any area where your skin meets the edges of your heels. You can even put them inside the straps of your heels to prevent friction burn at the ankles.
For some the higher the heels, the better. For others, a pair of black flats is much more appealing than some stilettos. Whether you're a fan of heels or not, you might find yourself wearing them at some point, so it can't hurt to have some tips on how to make heels less painful. It's no fun to suffer for the sake of fashion, but luckily, if you like to add a little height to your outfits, there are certain ways to do so without stumbling home with bloody calluses and sore arches.
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.
Have you ever noticed how frustrating it is to deal with your feet slipping out of your heels the minute they leave the ground? Even worse, loose shoes often make you drag your feet in an attempt to prevent them from falling out. Heels with straps, ties, or buckles over the ankle or feet offer a solution. Go for adjustable straps to accommodate swelling.
We all know how painful breaking in a new pair of shoes can be…especially heels. So the next time you want to skip the agony, try this handy hack. Wear those new heels with a thick pair of socks and then aim a blow dryer at all the tight corners. The heat will help stretch the material of your shoes, breaking them in much faster. Goodbye, blisters!
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.
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.