That pain that you feel at the end of a long night—no, it's not a hangover and it's not exhaustion. We're talking about something worse—the pain that's caused by a seemingly evil and malicious pair of high heels. But, believe it or not, not all high heels are created equal. In some cases, they can actually be healthier for your feet than flats. "Excess pronation is a condition that affects 75 percent of the population and has been related to many conditions, such as heel pain (otherwise known as plantar fasciitis), knee pain, and even lower-back pain," says podiatrist Phillip Vasyli.
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.
She also suggests some products for pain relief, like foot alignment socks, Correct Toes, or other toe spacers when not wearing your heels. And, regular stretching and exercises can help, too. DeGrave notes a few simple exercises from Katy Bowman, and also suggests: "keep a half foam roller somewhere you might find yourself standing around for a few minutes, say in the bathroom while you brush your teeth, so you can calf stretch while going about your day — I keep one out on my living room floor and do this while watching tv!"
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!
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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.
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.”
I may be a hardened heel advocate, but the lower foot pain in this case just never seemed to be worth the payoff. However, I’ve come to swear by one very cheap, slightly weird-sounding, simple trick to avoid that dull pain in the balls of your feet. You know, the kind that comes from attempting to wear anything taller than three inches with a heel thinner than a pencil for more than two hours straight.
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.