You can use heat to soften the material of your new shoes. Using a blow dryer, blast your shoes with air (make sure to move the blow dryer around to evenly distribute the air and avoid melting the material). Once the material is warmed up and more pliable, gently twist and bend the shoes in the center to break them in. Don't go overboard and bend them so far that they don't return to their natural shape, or so hard that they break.
Don't forget the heel taps on your shoes, either. "If you let those start getting to the point where they're chewed up, by the heel, or by just walking on gravel or stone, it's going to make it more likely that you're going to topple over, because if they're uneven, then you're going to be — literally — on uneven footing, so replacing those regularly, before they get bad, is important and that's going to help your shoe last longer too," Canfield McNish said.
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.
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.
"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."
If you're pounding the pavement and walking a lot in your high heels, try wearing an insert. Dr. Scholl's is well known for their shoe comfort accessories. This brand has a vast array of inserts and pads that you can purchase at almost any drug store, including some for the sole of the shoe, cushion for the ball, and even a barrier between the back of the shoe and your heel. Try the Stylish Step High Heel Relief Insoles in your favorite pair of heels for a dose of comfort.
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.
One thing to try are the over-the-counter products that market themselves for high heels. They are called metatarsal or ball of the foot pads. They are oval-shaped pads that go under the ball of the foot, usually made from a silicone gel. They combat soreness under the ball of the foot. Especially if it’s made of silicone, it will hold your foot more steady in the shoe so your feet aren’t sliding forward as much, which will protect your toes from friction and blisters.
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If you're willing to sacrifice a little height for the ability to walk through a room with ease, consider shaving down the heel. For around $15, a shoe repair shop like Steve Express Shoe Repair in New York City can simply cut off a portion of the spike. According to Steve, the owner, the maximum that's usually removed is "around an inch." Any more and you would feel the difference in the shoe's arched construction.
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.
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.
I’ve heard people argue that my new, near-daily ritual is ridiculous, that no shoe is worth that much pain or effort. But how different are heels from other small rituals we undertake every day, such as applying makeup? The payoff in terms of the confidence I feel when stomping down the street in a pair of killer heels is worth way more than the extra 30 seconds added to my morning routine.