As much as I love my heels, walking around New York City in them isn't exactly comfortable, so 99 percent of the time, I'm wearing flats. But according to InStyle, there's a legit reason, beyond the obvious discomfort, why we actually shouldn't be walking in heels — high heels are bad for your feet. But before you freak out (or celebrate a reason to wear flats forever and ever), not all high heels are bad, it just depends on the height.
So how high is too high? Anything over three inches is a no-no for walking in, according to Podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal. "Anything over the three-inch mark changes the biomechanics of how you walk — your strides are shortened, you can't walk as fast, your body weight shifts to the ball of the foot, which throws off your center of gravity and stresses the knees and lower back," she told InStyle. Yikes, who knew footwear could cause your body serious damage?
If you think you can outsmart that by wearing a platform, think again. Splichal says they are just as damaging, and it's best to stick to heels in the one to three inch range. Say so long to suffering for fashion!
Here are seven more tips to keep in mind the next time you are in the market for new heels.
1. Shop At The End Of The Day
Your feet will be swollen after walking around all day, so this is a better indicator if a shoe is going to fit.
2. Be Willing To Adjust Your Size
Just because you've "always been a 7 1/2" does not mean you won't be bigger or smaller depending on the shoe brand. Your size could vary by a half or even a whole size by designer, so be flexible when trying on.
3. Walk Around The Store
Fitting and walking are two very different things. Even if the shoes fit, walk around the store in them to make sure they are comfortable.
4. Buy At A Store With A Good Return Policy
Skip the stores with no or short return policies. That way, you can go home and wear the heels around the house (on carpet, so you don't scuff anything), or just while sitting at your computer or watching TV. The longer you can have them on, the better you know they will actually be comfortable. If they aren't, you can return them.
5. Buy Leather Or Suede
Charles David, $99, Macys
These materials are more pliable and will mold to the shape of your foot, reducing chafing.
6. Pay Attention To Width
Crammed toes = not comfy. Opt for a heel that is wider in the toe box.
7. Don't Ignore The Pinch
If it's rubbing/pinching you in the store, don't assume it will stretch out with wear. A well made shoe doesn't need breaking in.
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