Recently I was at a friend’s birthday where a few of us were debating the plausibility of walking home in heels after a night of standing around. Now I love heels, high high heels. In fact the higher the better. I love the line they give the leg, I love how elegant they make me look…..what I’m having trouble with is how they feel. After years of taking ballet and wearing pointe shoes you’d think I could handle heels but lately anything fancier than a sneaker is causing me foot 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.
Comfortable heels do exist, and I happen to own some of them. But every girl knows that some heels are not comfortable in any way, and we wear them only because they look amazing. Pain for the sake of beauty sucks. Why should you walk around in heels that pinch your feet and make your legs ache? Why should you feel like you’re about to fall over the second you stand up or take a step? Why should you spend an entire day longingly thinking of your slippers? There are things you can do to make heels comfier – and some of you need to start doing them, because going barefoot in public is not okay.
Lucky for your tired, sore feet, we're on a mission to empower you to eliminate your footwear pain this holiday season. Over the years, we've become acquainted with plenty of shoe hacks (many of them directly from shoe designers) that help your feet feel much better inside all your fabulous heels. Armed with our favorite five—which we're breaking down below—you'll be able to dance the night away and never once feel like your feet are killing your fun.
Wear your heels around the house before a night out to get a feel for them. This is particularly helpful while breaking in a new pair of stilettos, as you can suss out where the shoes might rub. One way to deal with this is to put on thick socks with your shoes before a night out and blow dry the area where the shoes might rub for half a minute, which would help the shoe to expand and stretch. Another method is to fill plastic bags with water and place them in your shoes, then put them in a freeze. The ice will help stretch out the shoes, making those nasty rubbing blisters a thing of the past!
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.
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:
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.
Moleskin Madness: Before a big event or the first time your wearing those adorable new heels, pick up a pack of moleskin from the drug store and either line the straps and back of your shoe with the padding or put it right on your feet. Sadly, we can pretty much tell immediately after sliding the shoes on where they're going to rub us the wrong way. Before said blisters develop, put some moleskin on those areas to prevent painful and bloody bruises while you're out.
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.