When it comes to shopping for high-heeled shoes, comfort is key. But what do you do if you're not keen on the brands or styles that offer the best comfort? Or if that perfect pair of heels for your dress isn't exactly built with comfort in mind? These simple tips will help you customize or adjust your favorite pair of high heels so you can wear them without pain.
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A good local butcher is hard to find, but a cobbler? If you’re lucky enough to live close to one, make him your BFF now! “The rubber lifts and soles of high-heeled shoe styles get worn down with extended wear, making them uneven and uncomfortable,” Barry said. “Take your shoes to your local cobbler when this starts to happen to prevent damage — to you and your shoe!”
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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.
There are many different types of aids to help make a shoe more comfortable even after "breaking them in," and can be purchased at shoe stores, large retailers, and some drugstores. These include special small gel pads for the balls of the feet, heel inserts to help minimize chafing at the back of the shoe and rough patches to glue onto the bottom of a slick sole, affording you better traction.
I read about this stuff in some magazine at the salon (O, inStyle, Vogue? not sure which) and since high heels are not my best friend, I decided to give it a try. First time I used it, I was totally dressed except for my shoes when I remembered it, so I sprayed it on through my hose. The menthol scent was a kind of strong at first but it went away after a couple minutes. It felt cool and kind of tingly. I waited a minute or so until it dried some then I put on my spike heels and went off to party. Pretty amazing-- nearly 4 hours later I wasn't in any pain even though I 'd been standing nearly the whole time. I used it again the next day for work and was able to stay in my heels all day--a record for me. I did have to touch it up after about 5 hours but then I was good for the rest of the day. It wasn't greasy and didn't stain my stockings or shoes. Good stuff!
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.
As Marilyn Monroe once said, “I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.” We can’t help but agree. After all, heels are great at dressing up an outfit. In addition, they help elongate your legs, making it possible for everyone to feel like a supermodel for a night. The 1950s “blonde bombshell” actress is famous for her sexy style, so it’s no wonder fashionable pairs of heels were a staple in her closet. However, being a fashion icon also means that Marilyn was quite familiar with just how uncomfortable a trendy pair of heels can be. Luckily, here at FootFitter we have the fix if you’re trying to figure out how to make heels more comfortable.
"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. ;-)
You should always choose heels with thicker souls because that will ensure that you have enough ground to land your feet on. The ground will give you ample space to your feet and you will feel comfortable walking in them. Your legs can be hurt by thin soles because they put more pressure on your feet and dirt and other external agents can get into the legs and make your feet dirty and cracked.
Canfield McNish said that the more shoe between the ball of your foot and the ground, the more comfortable you'll likely feel while wearing them. There's a lot of pressure on your foot when the only thing separating it from the ground is a thin sole (plus a non-slip pad, of course), but some of that is relieved when your foot is more cushioned, like it is with a thicker sole.
Lead With Your Thighs. It’s all in the thighs, as strange as that probably sounds hear us out. When you walk, lead each step with your thighs, moving your entire leg forward in one fluid motion. Think about it: You’re probably used to letting your feet take the lead. It takes practice, but if you employ this method you’ll find yourself placing less pressure on the ball of your foot, and ultimately reducing the torque your feet are under.
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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."
"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.
As a New Yorker, I walk a lot. To get to and from the subway, I walk about two miles daily, if Google Maps is to be believed. Before I even got to work on Monday, the familiar pain in the balls of my feet was there. By the end of Tuesday, both feet were sore from wearing heels two days in a row. By lunch on Wednesday, I had slipped back into flats, plummeting three inches back to earth.
Keep silica gel packets in your shoes when they’re not being worn. Have you noticed after purchasing a pair of new shoes those little white packets containing tiny clear balls inside your shoe box? Those packets contain silica gel which absorb moisture and keep your shoes from shrinking. Hold on to those packets instead of throwing them away and stick them in your shoes when you’re not wearing them. You can ask a shoe store associate for extras, if necessary.
Put your foldable flats back in your bag: A night in heels shouldn’t mean you have to hobble home. Before going out, tape your third and fourth toes together using nude or clear medical tape (the flexible kind). This helps take pressure off the ball of the foot. (A bit of biology for those who are interested: There’s a nerve right between these two toes, and the tape minimizes any strain.)
Sometimes you’ve got a real stubborn pair of heels that’s always so uncomfortable to wear (but so pretty to look at). We get it—they’re too gorgeous not to use, so this is where the freezer hack comes in handy. Fill a small zip bag with water and put it inside your heels. Then, keep everything in the freezer overnight. In the morning, put on your heels and wear them for a few hours—your shoes will stretch to the shape of your foot, so bye-bye to that pinchy feeling.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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Also known as “second skin,” moleskin is not actually animal hide (fortunately) but soft cotton flannel with adhesive backing. Sold in sheets and available in most drug stores and online, you can cut and customize the shape of moleskin to cover any trouble spots you have on your feet. It molds to the shape of your feet better than a bandage, and unlike a bandage, it won’t hang off your Achilles after half a day of walking.
Who doesn't like to put on a pair of dressy heels for an evening out. Unfortunately, I thought my days for wearing heels were over for good. Thankfully, a friend insisted I try Still Standing Spray and eventually gave in just to shut her up. What a surprise. I wore my favorite pair of heels to my cousin's wedding last week - and it worked. I had to respray after a few hours with mini size but didn't mind since my feet felt so much better.
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.
Overall thoughts: While I did appreciate the cushion this provided, the pads kind of pushed my feet out in a weird way and made my foot do that overflowing loaf thing on one side. I thought maybe this would've worked better had my shoe been bigger, but as it was, I still had a little room in the back, so I don't think it would've actually made a difference. This definitely made the experience of wearing the heels better since it provided some arch support, but it wasn't a lifesaving experience.