It’s the age old question every woman: How to wear high heels without pain.. Many of us (guilty, here) have throughout the years adopted a “grin and bear it” attitude, choosing our love for stylish shoes over our desire to be comfortable. It’s a trait we aren’t necessarily proud of, and one that regularly has the men in our lives raising their eyebrows in disbelief.
Heels do us all kinds of favors: They make our legs look long and slim; give us a confidence boost; and have the magical ability to transform a casual look to some serious night-out material. But, our favorite pumps also come with a rap sheet that includes blisters, a not-so-endearing tumble down the stairs, and the general feeling that beauty is, indeed, pain.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Add footpads: I then Frankenstein my own orthotics into every shoe, depending on the fit. Consider one of these: a very slim insert with a heel cup and slight arch (if you need arch support), heel cushion (for heel pain) or a foot “tongue” pad (use under the foot for cushion, or put on the underside of the top of the shoe to prevent sliding forward). A podiatrist can help you with custom inserts, or you can do as I do, which is buy them in bulk at the drugstore or online.
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.