The problem with buying new heels just for prom is that since you bought them just for prom, you don't want to get them dirty before the big night, so you never properly wear them in. Heels already do a number on your feet, but if you wear them to prom right out of the box, you risk getting blisters and cramps and having to ditch them way before the night is through because of how badly they hurt your feet.
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.
"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.
There's a nerve that splits between your third and fourth toes that causes pain when pressure is put on it. To relieve some of that stress on your poor little toes, tape your third and fourth toes together (your big toe is #1) with some medical tape or a band aid. Obviously, this trick only works with closed-toed shoes where your third and fourth toes aren't exposed.
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.
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".
One way to make your heels more comfortable is to wear them in. Wear them around the house, wear them to run an errand, or even for a walk around the block before you wear them all night to a big event. To speed up the process, if your shoes are made from a sturdy leather material, you can even blow dry them! "The heat from the blow dryer can make it easier to break in an uncomfortable pair of heels", says Lexie Nicole, a part time pole fitness instructor. She suggests this to her students:
I used this product exactly as noted on the label, for my brother's wedding and I was able to wear my 6 inch platform heels comfortably for 9 HOURS! I must note that these are shoes I have worn many times and never had a blister or anything, but I was able to wear them much longer! I also used it with 4 inch heels only previously worn once(for 3 hours and without the spray) and they were much more comfortable and able to be worn for 7+ hours.I will be purchasing another bottle! Thank you!
When you walk, lead with your thighs, moving your entire leg forward at once. Think about it: You're probably used to letting your feet lead, right? It takes practice, but you'll find yourself putting less pressure on the ball of your foot this way. And remember: Move your legs from the hips and keep your legs straight. Bending knees looks goofy with heels.
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.
Wet the insides of your high heel shoes to stretch them. 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.
Don't forget the heel taps on your shoes, either. "If you let those start getting to the point where they're chewed up, by the heel, or by just walking on gravel or stone, it's going to make it more likely that you're going to topple over, because if they're uneven, then you're going to be — literally — on uneven footing, so replacing those regularly, before they get bad, is important and that's going to help your shoe last longer too," Canfield McNish said.
Heels with a square, open, or round toe are going to be much more comfortable than a narrow, pointy toed heel. Pointy toed heels smash toes together and compact the ball of the foot making it much more likely that you’ll experience discomfort quicker. This is especially true if your feet are on the wider side. If you know you’ll be standing a lot, opt for a square, round, or open toe shoe.
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!
"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."
No matter how the shoe is designed, fit is always the best way to achieve comfort. When trying on shoes, wear them around the store for a short walk and make sure that each part of the shoe fits your foot. Evaluate the arch, toe, heel, and ball of the foot separately. Each part of the shoe matters when it comes to comfort. Be sure you choose the shape, style, height, and width that fits well. You can also use inserts or pads, such as an arch support, to create a more customized fit. Wear what fits well and feels great — always!
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.