I don't know about you but I've tried a lot of things to make heels less painful. Some work better than others. Taping your toes together, for example, actually works — but that doesn't do much to help with blisters. In the past I've tried to avoid blisters from heels by putting bandaids all over my feet or even rubbing deodorant on my feet. Neither was a perfect solution; the deodorant didn't really keep blisters at bay, and bandaids are an eyesore and ineffective to boot (they always fall off!).
So what's a girl to do to keep blisters from forming while she's dancing the night away in heels? I think I've finally found the answer to that question, and it's called PreHeels ($15, Amazon). This aerosol spray can be applied to your feet before wearing heels (or really any shoes that chafe) in order to prevent blisters. It creates a thick but invisible barrier between your shoes and your skin, preventing any friction. It sounds great in theory, but does it really work? I decided to test out the PreHeels spray on myself for a few days to see if it really does save my feet from blisters. Here's how it went down. (Brace yourself for lots of pictures of my feet.)
I promise I got a fresh pedicure after the first day. OK, with that said, I started things off with a pair of shoes that have always given me trouble. I bought these patent ballet flats with low block heels a couple years ago and have only worn them a handful of times because they always rub painfully against my skin. In other words, they're the exact kind of shoe that requires something like PreHeels. Above, you can see how my feet looked before wearing the shoes with PreHeels. Below, you can see the state of my heels beforehand too; they've obviously been through a lot.
I sprayed the PreHeels spray all around my feet, trying to get every spot where the shoes tend to chafe. There is definitely a very strong alcohol smell that emanates from this spray, so you want to use it in a well-ventilated room if possible, but it dissipates after a few minutes. It dried pretty quickly, too.
I wore the shoes for the next few hours as I ran some errands: walking around the grocery store and that sort of thing. I was thrilled to find that my shoes were instantly ten times more comfortable thanks to the barrier provided by the PreHeels spray. By the end of my evening my feet were a little red and pained from the shoes, but that's just because there's nothing the spray can do about how tight the shoes are. For the first time ever, I didn't have any blisters from these shoes (see the after shot below).
Day one was definitely a success.
The second day, I chose a pair of heels that had previously given my feet some of the worst blisters of my life when I wore them to a wedding. The toe strap rubs mercilessly against the sides of my toes, so I made sure to apply the PreHeels spray generously in that area.
One thing I noticed was that when you first spray it, it's definitely very wet and sticky-feeling. Your toes will actually stick together if you're not careful. Luckily, it dries quickly and at that point it no longer feels sticky or wet, although your skin might look a little shiny.
At the end of several hours of wearing these heels, my toes were still pretty red and swollen from being pinched by the strap. However, at least there wasn't any chafing: my skin was still intact in every spot despite the shoe rubbing against it.
The third day, I decided to step things up a notch. I have one pair of heels that are gorgeous but, due to the design and tight fit, fairly painful. There's a lot of potential for chafing and blisters, as you can tell from one look at the shoes. Excited to see if PreHeels would help me actually be able to wear these shoes, I decided to spray only one foot before wearing them for several hours.
At the end of an entire evening spent walking around and even dancing a little bit in my heels, my feet definitely hurt. My toes were pinched and the balls of my feet ached; those are things that PreHeels can't prevent so that's fine. It did do a good job of reducing chafing on my one foot, but at the end of the night both of my feet were still pretty red in areas where the heels pressed against them.
These heels were just too tight for the PreHeels to make a big difference. I did notice that the foot with the spray (on the right) seemed to slip and slide out of the shoe less than the foot without the spray (on the left), so that helped to reduce chafing as well.
I decided to extend the experiment to see how the PreHeels spray held up during a wedding that I had to attend. I forgot to apply it before the wedding, but luckily I brought the spray along in my clutch (it's very portable). I stole a moment to apply it in the bathroom, and although my feet were already starting to get chafed by my heels, once I applied the spray all chafing came to a halt for the rest of the night.
My feet definitely ached by the end of the night from wearing these heels for hours of standing and dancing, but the next day I had zero blisters. Plus, if you whip out the PreHeels spray in the bathroom of a wedding, you're sure to make a half a dozen new friends as pretty much every other woman there is also in need of relief from painful heels.
I will add one note, and that is that you have to be OK with the clean-up involved afterwards. The day after the wedding my feet looked extra dirty, as if the spray had sealed or attracted dirt in some way. The spray needs to be scrubbed off with soap and water and that can be a little painful if your feet are sore from wearing heels, so be aware of that too.
In the end, I definitely recommend the PreHeels spray as long as you have realistic expectations. They don't make wearing heels a painless experience because there's no way they could do that (if only). However, if any of your shoes give you blisters then you absolutely need this spray. It truly does work to prevent blisters and chafing, and you can even use it for flat shoes, clothing or anywhere that you want to be protected from friction. My only regret is that I wish I had this spray years ago.
Images: Kelly Dougher