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.
I tried out the tip in some of my favorite pairs of heels that were all over three inches, some with big block heels and others with tiny stilleto heels. I'll spare readers pictures of my feet, but I dutifully binded my third and fourth toes first with tape and later (at the suggestion of the Bustle writer) with bandaids before slipping into my shoes.
Cover the parts of your feet that are being pinched by your heels with moleskin, soak your feet in water, and then wear your heels for a few hours. Moleskin is basically a more comfortable bandage that comes in sheets that you can cut into any size. One side is sticky and one side is soft. It protects the areas of your feet that hurt when wearing your heels, which is typically where blisters might form. Dampening the moleskin and then wearing your shoes will help the insides of your shoes to mold more quickly to the shape of your foot.
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.
Sure, those strappy, skinny summer stilettos may look like a dream. However, it's important to be realistic about what kind of shoe has day-long potential. A thin sole will most likely cause pain for the bottom of your foot. Look for something with some rubber on the bottom to provide a bit of a buffer. Ideal? A heel that has a bit of a platform in the front. The platform reduces the incline of your foot, making things more comfortable all around.
Making sure that the leather is conditioned is one thing that you can do to help keep your shoes in tip-top shape. Canfield McNish also recommended making sure that all of your heels have non-slip pads attached to the bottom. You can buy these at shoe stores, online, at stores like Target and Walmart, or at your local cobbler. The pads help keep you avoid slipping, but they also help protect your shoes from premature wear.
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.
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.
This on-trend shoe offers a double-cushioned footbed and a rubber sole, one of Dr. Brenner’s requirements when it comes to choosing healthier heels: "I don’t like leather bottoms because people can slip and slide." Instead, Dr. Brenner urges shoppers to choose a shoe with rubber or treads on the bottom, so that they stand on a firm surface. We also love that the metallic leather on this pair lets you take them from the office to date night in no time.
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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.
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.
"Just because it's a super high-end brand, doesn't always mean it's great materials, and paying attention to that and asking the salesperson that you're working with those questions can be really important," Canfield McNish said. It's also important to pay attention to the details of the shoes' design. If they feature cutouts or they're strappy, that can be hard on your feet too.
Shoe expert Dr Naomi Braithwaite of Nottingham Trent University revealed that a good fit and a little help from gel insoles can go a long way. She told HELLO!: "Gel insoles can be delightful on the soles of the feet, particularly if you are going to be wearing at an occasion when standing is on the agenda. Ultimately fit is key so it is important to have heels that fit well and that have a padding in between the inner sock and sole of the shoe."