Know your foot type. In my opinion, a podiatrist would be the best way to know your foot type and what’s going on. If you can’t run out to the podiatrist, there’s a couple of neat ways to see if you have a flat foot or a high-arch foot. Wet your foot and step onto a piece of construction paper. When you make an impression, it will show you how much your foot is flattening or how high of an arch you have. You can look at a person’s foot type and see why they are having pain.
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.
Some of you are likely now saying, "Why don't you just wear flats?" Let me tell you, I wear sneakers whenever possible, but I also like to get dressed up and wear heels sometimes! The 2017 rules of feminism definitely say that women don't ever have to wear heels, so if they're not your thing, just go for flats. I know a lot of girls, and some guys who love to wear heels, though, even at the expense of comfort.
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In the past, a night in heels always meant a trip to the drug store the next morning for a new pack of Band Aids for the blisters and black-and-blue marks on my knees. (Yes, I'm that 5'7" girl who has no idea how to walk in heels.) Ahead, find eight incredibly useful hacks to make high heels more comfortable and watch my aesthetic transform from high-top Michael Jordan to high-heel Carrie Bradshaw . . . because heels should be enjoyed and celebrated, not associated with dread.
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.
(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.

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But you don't have to swear off high heels altogether. It's possible to make high heels more comfortable. Just pay attention to how much lift you're getting. “Two inches is my cut-off,” says Ward. “A heel below that height does not add significant stress to the metatarsals as the weight can remain distributed between the heel and forefoot.” This also helps you stay balanced (read: no wipe-outs) in your kicks, she notes.
The No. 1 mistake women likely make is 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 should add that I’m very particular about my shoes, they need to be good quality with a well balanced heel. Yes, I’ve actually spent time discussing this with my trusty shoe repair guy. After many blisters and much frustration I’ve discovered a few tricks that are making a world of difference. Basically, I stopped applying the solutions to my shoes but rather I apply them straight to my feet. So how to wear high heels without pain? It isn’t very glamorous but here goes:
Many women never get their shoe sizes right. Understand that over the years, your shoe size is likely to change due to various factors. If you have never had your feet sized, perhaps this is the right time to do so. Additionally, repeat this once annually or every time you are purchasing shoes. The measurements should include both width and length. Avoid buying shoes randomly without having your feet measured because different brands are differently designed.
While we’re totally on board when it comes to sucking it in for a corseted top or dealing with a less-than-comfortable strapless bra, we’re so not here for torturing the most important part of our bodies — we’re talking feet here, people. Wearing high heels that kill your toes, heels, ankles and the balls of your feet instantly rob you of your happiness — and kinda take away from an otherwise cute outfit. Even Kate Upton would have a difficult time looking hot while wobbling around the room in pain.
"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. ;-)
The Multifunctional Blow Dryer: On the other side of the thermostat, heat will also loosen your heels for comfortable wear. By blowing your hair dryer across the top of the shoe, you can make the shoe more flexible on a warm or hot setting. There are two options here: you can do this while the heels are on your feet or while they're off. If you're not wearing the heels, after blowing them with some warm air, twist the sole (or where they were hurting you) while they're malleable enough to loosen and break them in. If you want to do this with the shoes on your feet, grab your thickest pair of stocks and put them on before using the blow dryer. Concentrate the dryer on the parts of your shoe that were hurting you the most and move your feet around while the dryer is blowing. After about 30 seconds, walk around with the thick socks and heels on (stylish, we know) and break. those. shoes. in!

"Put maxi pads in your high heels. It holds your foot snug in the shoe, it offers a little bit more cushion, and as your feet sweat, it absorbs the moisture," she told me during a phone call last week. With my mind blown, I asked her to clarify, and it's exactly what you'd think: Insert the pad with the sticky side down, trimming if you need for size, and then get ready for a comfortable night of merriment (or standing on your feet at a work event).
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Heels do us all kinds of favors: They make our legs look long and slim; give us a confidence boost; and have the magical ability to transform a casual look to some serious night-out material. But, our favorite pumps also come with a rap sheet that includes blisters, a not-so-endearing tumble down the stairs, and the general feeling that beauty is, indeed, pain.

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.


Have you ever noticed how frustrating it is to deal with your feet slipping out of your heels the minute they leave the ground? Even worse, loose shoes often make you drag your feet in an attempt to prevent them from falling out. Heels with straps, ties, or buckles over the ankle or feet offer a solution. Go for adjustable straps to accommodate swelling.
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.
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