There are many different types of aids to help make a shoe more comfortable even after "breaking them in," and can be purchased at shoe stores, large retailers, and some drugstores. These include special small gel pads for the balls of the feet, heel inserts to help minimize chafing at the back of the shoe and rough patches to glue onto the bottom of a slick sole, affording you better traction.
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.”
Here’s an interesting tip — one certainly worth trying if it means a painless shoe experience. “Taping your third and fourth toes together (counting from the big toe) will help with the pain,” Stempien said. “Yes, it’s a little weird, but there’s actually a nerve there that contributes to foot pain. Stress on the nerve is alleviated when supported by the other toe. Keep in mind this might not work for high-heeled sandals or deep peep-toes.”
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.
One way to make your heels more comfortable is to wear them in. Wear them around the house, wear them to run an errand, or even for a walk around the block before you wear them all night to a big event. To speed up the process, if your shoes are made from a sturdy leather material, you can even blow dry them! "The heat from the blow dryer can make it easier to break in an uncomfortable pair of heels", says Lexie Nicole, a part time pole fitness instructor. She suggests this to her students:
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.