In the past, a night in heels always meant a trip to the drug store the next morning for a new pack of Band Aids for the blisters and black-and-blue marks on my knees. (Yes, I'm that 5'7" girl who has no idea how to walk in heels.) Ahead, find eight incredibly useful hacks to make high heels more comfortable and watch my aesthetic transform from high-top Michael Jordan to high-heel Carrie Bradshaw . . . because heels should be enjoyed and celebrated, not associated with dread.
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.
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.
"After my double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery last year, I have tried well over 20 different bras but they have all been uncomfortable and I have had to go into the restroom at dinner, a wedding, church service and an airplane to remove my bra. I love the Stickeebra -- they are comfortable, don't have wires that dig in and allow me to wear shorts that I haven't been able to wear since my surgeries. Thank you!!"
"Wearing high heels changes the natural biomechanics of the foot which has been honed by thousands of years of walking," he explains. "We also walk on concrete all day every day, which is bad for your feet, leading to a cocktail recipe of stresses to overload joints, muscles and tendons which work together in complex clockwork action to form a normal step.
"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.
But you don't have to swear off high heels altogether. It's possible to make high heels more comfortable. Just pay attention to how much lift you're getting. “Two inches is my cut-off,” says Ward. “A heel below that height does not add significant stress to the metatarsals as the weight can remain distributed between the heel and forefoot.” This also helps you stay balanced (read: no wipe-outs) in your kicks, she notes.
This secret to reduce pain while wearing heels is so good, you’re going to want to share it. Woman’s Wear Daily recommends taping your third and fourth toes (counting from the big toe) together to alleviate pain from wearing high heels. Sound crazy? The proof is in the science: there’s a nerve that splits between those two toes, which causes pain when pressure is put on it (like when you wear heels). The tape helps to remove strain on the nerve.
Iggy Azalea walked a mile in her Louboutins, but can you imagine what walking even a couple blocks in these would feel like afterward? It's amazing that we willingly wear shoes that sometimes hurt so much, it takes an hour-long ice bath just to recover. And yet, it's hard to ditch high heels completely: They elongate your legs, they make your calves look amazing, and there's something empowering about the sound of your own feet clacking against a hard surface.
This on-trend shoe offers a double-cushioned footbed and a rubber sole, one of Dr. Brenner’s requirements when it comes to choosing healthier heels: "I don’t like leather bottoms because people can slip and slide." Instead, Dr. Brenner urges shoppers to choose a shoe with rubber or treads on the bottom, so that they stand on a firm surface. We also love that the metallic leather on this pair lets you take them from the office to date night in no time.
Consider a lower or more comfortable style. Choose a thicker and more stable heel like a platform, wedge, or chunky heel to provide more support and weight distribution. Shy away from pointed-toe styles if you have wide feet or toes, opting for round or almond-shaped instead. You can also buy heeled boots or heels with ankle straps to help support your ankles.
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.
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.
The more coverage you have on the top of your foot, the better. Sometimes high-heeled boots are actually something you can wear all day and they don’t bother your feet as much. In the summer, you can try something with an ankle strap or a big wide strap across the top. If you’re prone to blisters and friction, you might want to try that style, something that covers more of the top of your foot.
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.