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.
According to New York City-based podiatrist Emily Splichal, it’s not only about the heel. It’s important how you treat your feet post-wear, too: “Focus on stiletto recovery after a day or night in heels,” Dr. Splichal says. She rolling feet on a golf ball, stretching the calves, and spreading the toes with products like Correct Toes or Yoga Toes. “Even the healthiest heels are still stressful to the foot and body, so recovery is one of the most important secrets to being able to wear heels pain-free.”
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.
One of Dr. Osterman’s favorite shoe brands is Pikolinos. The podiatrist-approved line boasts options that come with cushioned forefront beds, ample room in the toe boxes, and block heels for more stability. “The wider the heel, the less one has to balance on the shoe,” Dr. Osterman explains. “Think of the heel like a stilt – the smaller the heel, the more the calf muscles have to work, which can be unstable and fatiguing.”
There’s a way to walk in flats and there’s a way to strut in heels and never should the two be confused. “Heels are not sneakers — you have to carry yourself differently,” Stempien said. “Use your core muscles and stand up straight. Pretend you’re strutting your stuff on the catwalk and use your hips and legs to propel yourself forward. It should feel more like a bounce than a normal stride. Practice it at home until you’ve got it down pat — this can be one of the easiest ways to avoid pain in heels.”
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!
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.
"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.
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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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:
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.
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.
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.