I often find myself in the self-inflicted dilemma of, do I wear the comfortable shoes, or do I wear the cute shoes? I have many footwear options that are cute and comfortable, but unfortunately, sometimes you have to choose between those traits, until now. And New Year's Eve is right around the corner, talk about perfect timing. Read on to find out how to make your heels comfortable enough to dance the night away, and still manage to walk home in them.
Style: Foot surgeons advise sticking to a height of two inches or less. Sky-high heels shift your foot forward, putting pressure on the ball of your foot—and more pressure equals more pain and chance of injury. I'll wear a little higher heel, but then I'll look for ones with a little platform in the toe-box to make the angle less steep. Styles with a T-strap or Mary Janes have the extra benefit of holding your foot in place.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Also, while you're having a ball, be conscious of the weight that's being distributed onto the ball of your foot. "The higher the heel, the more the shoe increases the arch height and also changes the 'arch position'," Vasyli says. He suggests looking for shoes that "contour" to your arch and distribute your weight over the entire foot, not just the ball of the foot.
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.
Add footpads: I then Frankenstein my own orthotics into every shoe, depending on the fit. Consider one of these: a very slim insert with a heel cup and slight arch (if you need arch support), heel cushion (for heel pain) or a foot “tongue” pad (use under the foot for cushion, or put on the underside of the top of the shoe to prevent sliding forward). A podiatrist can help you with custom inserts, or you can do as I do, which is buy them in bulk at the drugstore or online.
(All of these products can be purchased at a drugstore or any store specializing in dance.) Often, when I’m wearing heels the pressure on the balls of my feet is too much to handle and I get a horrible burning sensation if I walk in them for too long. Well problem solved, I just take a piece of Gel Moleskin and stick it to the bottom of my foot completely eliminating the friction!
I’ve never been a casual footwear type of gal, which is precisely why finding the one hack to wearing high heels without pain has been an important mission of mine. Honestly, the thought of slipping my feet into sneakers just never sat right with me. And despite a brief fling with Doc Martens, the number of sensible shoes in my wardrobe began to rapidly deplete until I realized I owned not one pair of flat kicks. But as they say, with beauty comes pain. Despite my commitment to a life of platforms and high heels, I never quite got over the blisters and discomfort that so often come as a byproduct.
I’ve spent hours at the drugstore looking through all the gel insoles, heel pads, ball of the foot pads and everything in between. Nothing seemed to work. Finally I decided to take a good long look at my feet. I try not to do that too often due to years of the aforementioned pointe shoes…. On top of it all I have bunions that aren’t very pretty even when at their best. I do, however, take good care of my feet regularly giving myself pedicures. Dancing did one great service to my feet though, due to so much intensive training my feet are strong and flexible therefore saving me from what might be very painful surgery.
Walk the Walk: If you've ever watched models like Kendall Jenner or Kaia Gerber strut down the runway in stiletto heels as if they're walking on air, and thought to yourself, "HOWWWWWW," just know there's a method to their madness. First, you have to be incredibly aware of your posture and stand as straight as you can. You also need to engage your core and make sure your not leaning forward or backward. "It is important when walking in high heels to lead with the ball of the foot," an expert told Today. "Never lead with the heel as weight will often make the high heel collapse and result in an accident or injury."
Gel insoles solve a lot of heel-wearing problems. For one thing, they can prevent toes from scrunching and thereby prevent blisters. Dr. Scholl's sells high heel insoles with arch shaping to keep pressure off your foot. If your toes are constantly sliding forward in your shoes, there’s even a cushion designed to hold the ball of your foot in place. The gel inserts stick to your shoe insoles well but are also easy to swap among your shoes. The product's website advises to replace them every six months, or when they start to tear.
It's safe to say that wearing heels isn't always a walk in the park. Sore ankles and achy arches are anything but ideal. Yet, women still do it on a daily basis. I mean, I can't blame all the heel-wearing ladies out there, because they do look fabulous and heels can totally take an outfit to the next level. However, it does suck to be in excruciating pain before you've even made it to work or an event.
Stretch your feet before and after you put your shoes on/off. There are some targeted stretches that will help you get at the front of the foot and ankle (key pain points from heel usage). An example of a stretch like this is pointing your toes down, and pulling your toes up with a strap, this gets the Achilles’ tendon and the calf muscles going a bit. You can replicate this stretch to the inside and outside as well.
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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.