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.

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.
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.
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.”
To wear high heels without pain, Carnation Footcare's Podiatrist Dave Wain has suggested that the most defence is to be prepared. If you know you are wearing heels that tend to hurt your feet after a certain amount of time, stock your bag with everything you need to help. He said: "Go prepared – have in your bag some first aid supplies to deal with potential foot problems before they get too painful i.e. sticky plasters for cuts, damaged toenails or bleeding blisters, anti-blister treatments for rubbing areas." You could even also carry a pair of foldable flat shoes with you, just in case the heels prove too much at the end of the evening!

I often find myself in the self-inflicted dilemma of, do I wear the comfortable shoes, or do I wear the cute shoes? I have many footwear options that are cute and comfortable, but unfortunately, sometimes you have to choose between those traits, until now. And New Year's Eve is right around the corner, talk about perfect timing. Read on to find out how to make your heels comfortable enough to dance the night away, and still manage to walk home in them.

Heels are essential to wardrobes, but there’s nothing worse than putting together an amazing outfit for work or for a night out, only to be sidelined an hour in because your feet are throbbing in pain. The is no doubt that high heels look great on our feet but the moment we try to shove them back into that old torture chamber that is four-inch stilettos, they immediately start screaming in pain. It doesn’t have to be this way so to help we have put together top tips for being able to walk (and dance) in heels without pain.
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.
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.
Also, if you're wondering whether this means Katie has had maxi pads in her shoes every time we've seen her at a Pump event, the answer is "most of the time." If you're a huge fan of the show, you must read my entire chat with her. I found her to be super relatable, and she shared some mean beauty DIYs (as well as answering my fangirl question about Kyle Richards' hair).

Blast your heels with heat.[1] Heat is an effective way to soften a material and make it more pliable. Carefully warm your heels using a blow dryer or a small heater for about a minute or two. Watch how your heels react to the heat because certain materials don't do so well under heat for long periods of time. You can bend and twist your heels while they’re still warm. Or you can wait until they’ve cooled and put them on with a pair of socks to stretch them.
Not surprisingly, the higher and thinner the heel, the worse it is for your foot, says Sutera. “Pumps and stilettos are probably the worst,” she says, as are shoes with a heel higher than two inches. Another no-no? Wearing high heels too often and for too long. “It’s not recommended to wear heels for long periods of standing or walking, nor should you wear them every day,” explains Sutera.

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.
Wet the insides of your high heel shoes to stretch them.[6] 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.

3. Widen the toes out with ice. When water freezes, it expands. Use this simple science lesson to stretch out your shoes. Start by filling a one-quart sized ziplock bag about halfway full of water. Then, zip up the bag and check to make sure it’s not leaking. Stick the water bag into the toe of the heel and put the entire shoe in the freezer. If you really need to stretch them out, add two or more bags into the toe box. Once frozen, the bags will expand and the shoe.
Cover the parts of your feet that are being pinched by your heels with moleskin, soak your feet in water, and then wear your heels for a few hours.[8] Moleskin is basically a more comfortable bandage that comes in sheets that you can cut into any size. One side is sticky and one side is soft. It protects the areas of your feet that hurt when wearing your heels, which is typically where blisters might form. Dampening the moleskin and then wearing your shoes will help the insides of your shoes to mold more quickly to the shape of your foot.
The best way to know your foot type is a podiatrist. In case you can’t run out to the podiatrist, there are other ways you can check 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.
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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.


Not surprisingly, the higher and thinner the heel, the worse it is for your foot, says Sutera. “Pumps and stilettos are probably the worst,” she says, as are shoes with a heel higher than two inches. Another no-no? Wearing high heels too often and for too long. “It’s not recommended to wear heels for long periods of standing or walking, nor should you wear them every day,” explains Sutera.
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.
As someone who stands at a very short five feet tall, I love wearing high heels. It’s not because I hate being short – I actually like it. It’s because I love the extra boost high heels give me. Wearing a cute heel makes me feel more confident, in charge, and mature. Whether it’s a stiletto, a chunky heel, a small heel, or a wedge, I wear some sort of high heel style every day. I love it, but I’ll be the first person to tell you that, damn, high heels can be uncomfortable.
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.
Keep silica gel packets in your shoes when they’re not being worn.[3] 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.
"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."

You need to complement your shoe shape and sole width with the shape of your feet to avoid pain on your feet while wearing your favorite pair of heels so it is important to know your foot type. Our suggestion is that you consult a podiatrist; it will 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.
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