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.

Women and high heels have long been in a love-hate relationship—and for good reason. Though stilettos elongate your legs and accentuate your shapely calves, they’re also killer on the feet. But what if an evening spent in heels didn’t have to end in swelling and blisters? We asked four podiatrists to share their top tips for choosing better-for-you shoes.


Generally, human beings have different types of feet. Some of them have high arch feet while others have flat feet. An ankle and feet specialist may be in a better position to help you know your feet type. However, you can still establish on your own by; stepping your wet feet on construction paper. Your imprint should help you understand whether your feet are flat or high arched.

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.”


Heels are essential to wardrobes, but there’s nothing worse than putting together an amazing outfit for work or for a night out, only to be sidelined an hour in because your feet are throbbing in pain. The is no doubt that high heels look great on our feet but the moment we try to shove them back into that old torture chamber that is four-inch stilettos, they immediately start screaming in pain. It doesn’t have to be this way so to help we have put together top tips for being able to walk (and dance) in heels without pain.
Use a shoe stretching machine.[10] If trying to break in your high heel shoes doesn’t seem to be working. Or if you simply don’t have the time try various DIY methods, stop by a shoe repair shop for a quick fix. Shoe repair shops have machines specifically built to stretch your shoes. The machine applies the same techniques as common home remedies –pressure and heat –to stretch your shoe quickly.
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.

She also suggested that going for a platform with your high heel, or a shorter heel, can drastically change your comfort levels, explaining: "Choose to wear a height that is manageable, this is pretty subjective, but having a less high heel or a platform sole can make a huge difference to comfort." Anisha agreed, and advised to "get platform shoes that also have a heel under the ball of the foot to reduce the gradient of the foot".


The number one mistake women make would probably be not having the right shoe size for their foot. Your foot size changes over the years, even as much as one full size, especially after having kids. Have your feet sized once a year, and do it if you’ve never had it done. Have your feet measured when you’re buying shoes, for width and for length as well. A lot of people think they’re a wide or vise versa and they’re not, so definitely do that before you shop.
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.
Since water expands when it's frozen, you can use ice to stretch your shoes. All you have to do is fill two freezer bags with water, making sure to remove all the air from them before sealing. Place the bags in your shoes, then put them in the freezer. Leave them in there for 4 to 8 hours. Once the water has properly frozen, take your shoes out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature until the ice thaws to a point where you can slip the bags out of your shoes. Voila! Your shoes should be nice and stretched for more comfy wearing.
"High heels may be painful for anyone; women suffering from varicose veins and underlying venous insufficiency are especially prone to discomfort," says Dr. Christopher Hollingsworth, an endovascular surgeon at NYC Surgical Associates. "Veins have a series of series of one-way valves to facilitate the return of blood towards the heart... While veins anywhere in the body can become varicose, veins in the legs are most affected due to the larger pressure from sustained standing, walking or other stress on the legs or feet."
Wet the insides of your high heel shoes to stretch them.[6] Water can speed up the breaking in process by helping to mold the inside material of your shoes to your feet. Take a damp cloth and rub the insides of your high heels. Put them on while they’re still moist and wear them for an hour or more. You can also dampen a pair of socks and wear them with your high heels for the same amount of time.
"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. ;-)
One hack that might help with walking in stiletto heels is using heel caps. These, usually used to help with walking on grass & cobblestones in heels also work for making walking easier. Because they not only protect your heel points, but also add more surface area to your heels, hence, making your stiletto, much less..well…stiletto-ey! And easier to walk in.
Many people have lauded the method of taping toes to wear heels, and Osteopath Anisha Joshi of Woodside Clinic Regent Street has confirmed that this is a useful way to reducing pain. Chatting to HELLO!, she said: "They say you should tape your 3rd and 4th toes together as it takes the pressure off the ball of your foot. There is a nerve that splits between these two toes and by limiting the pressure placed on it, it can reduce the sensation of pain."
It turns out that it's not the length of your heel that's the most important factor in comfort, it's the width. Many high heel lovers turn to a wider heel, like a block heel, to distribute their weight and walk on sturdy support. Try the Motola Heel from comfortable brand, Born. You can walk down the street or stride around the office with comfort and confidence!
Walking in heels is much less painful when the in-sole is well-cushioned. "This helps in absorbing shock in the ball area while walking and provides comfort," says footwear designer Radhika Jain over email. "These insole cushions can be made either of eva foam/latex foam or memory foam, which is the best. Nowadays you can buy them online or at a shoe store with foot-care accessories."
If you're pounding the pavement and walking a lot in your high heels, try wearing an insert. Dr. Scholl's is well known for their shoe comfort accessories. This brand has a vast array of inserts and pads that you can purchase at almost any drug store, including some for the sole of the shoe, cushion for the ball, and even a barrier between the back of the shoe and your heel. Try the Stylish Step High Heel Relief Insoles in your favorite pair of heels for a dose of comfort.
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!"
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.

"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.
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