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.”
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.
Walk the Walk: If you've ever watched models like Kendall Jenner or Kaia Gerber strut down the runway in stiletto heels as if they're walking on air, and thought to yourself, "HOWWWWWW," just know there's a method to their madness. First, you have to be incredibly aware of your posture and stand as straight as you can. You also need to engage your core and make sure your not leaning forward or backward. "It is important when walking in high heels to lead with the ball of the foot," an expert told Today. "Never lead with the heel as weight will often make the high heel collapse and result in an accident or injury."
No matter how the shoe is designed, fit is always the best way to achieve comfort. When trying on shoes, wear them around the store for a short walk and make sure that each part of the shoe fits your foot. Evaluate the arch, toe, heel, and ball of the foot separately. Each part of the shoe matters when it comes to comfort. Be sure you choose the shape, style, height, and width that fits well. You can also use inserts or pads, such as an arch support, to create a more customized fit. Wear what fits well and feels great — always!
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.
Keep silica gel packets in your shoes when they’re not being worn. 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.
Many of us love stilettos the way we love German chocolate cake. We know we can only handle a nibble or two, but goodness, how we want to gobble the whole thing up at once. Instead of wearing thin heels at all times, consider incorporating a funky wide heel into your wardrobe, as a chunkier heel will allow for your weight to be more evenly distributed, creating less pressure on the front of your foot, Vie Carpenter said.
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!
Since water expands when it's frozen, you can use ice to stretch your shoes. All you have to do is fill two freezer bags with water, making sure to remove all the air from them before sealing. Place the bags in your shoes, then put them in the freezer. Leave them in there for 4 to 8 hours. Once the water has properly frozen, take your shoes out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature until the ice thaws to a point where you can slip the bags out of your shoes. Voila! Your shoes should be nice and stretched for more comfy wearing.
Rough up the bottoms of your heels. It’s important that your shoes have a decent amount of traction on the bottom. Walking in high heels will be a lot easier and safer if you’re not sliding around all over the place. New heels tend to have smoother bottoms that become rougher once scuffed. Speed up the process by roughing up the bottom of your heels using a piece of sandpaper. Rub the bottom of your heels for a minute or two, or until the bottoms feel noticeably rougher.
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.
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.