All Your Questions About High Heels— Answered

by Miki Hayes

I love high heels as much as the next girl, but there's something about them I've always found hilarious: The dichotomy between the burning desire to buy them, and the burning desire to take them off and, well, burn them after only a few hours' wear. But I think this is only because they're such a sensitive item. Like junk food, where the most delicious is also usually the worst for you, the cutest shoes are generally the least comfortable. So what do we do? I refuse to accept the age-old "beauty is pain" bit. We're too advanced for all of that, and I'm over it, but I still have so many questions. For example, are high heels supposed to be loose? And how can I make them less torturous to walk in?

Rejecting subjection from footwear, though, requires a bit of patience and practice. Knowing when and what type of heel to buy, how to make them more comfortable, and how to walk in them will put the power back in your hands (or is it feet?). Plus, working those pumps might give you more control over men, if that's something you're into. But regardless, knowing the answers to these following questions will ensure that you won't have to work for your heels; they will work for you.

1. When Is The Best Time To Buy High Heels?

Try to do your shoe shopping at the end of the day. This is when your feet will be at their biggest, so if you find a pair that fits properly when your feet are slightly swollen, they will be more comfortable when swelling inevitably happens while you're wearing your heels.

2. Are High Heels Supposed To Be Loose?

No! If heels are loose, the muscles in your toes will have to overcompensate to keep your shoes on, and this is bad for your feet. Heels should neither be too loose nor too tight. Play Goldilocks when shoe shopping — they should be juuuust right. If you find your heels are just slightly too big, try using an insole that will make them a little more snug.

Try: Dr. Scholl's Dreamwalk High Heel Insole, $7.94, Amazon

3. What Type of High Heels Are The Most Comfortable?

Ideal heel height is around two-three inches. If you want your heel to be taller than this, look for a shoe with a platform. It will be more comfortable to have a shoe with a four-inch heel and one-inch platform than a shoe with a four-inch heel and no platform. And speaking of platforms, they give your feet some cushion from the ground, making the actual shoe more comfortable in addition to the better heel height.

Also, any shoe that gives the ankles more support will be more comfortable to walk in. Boots and shoes with ankle straps will help stabilize the ankles, making these types of heels easier, and therefore more comfortable, to walk in. Wedges are also more comfortable because weight is more evenly distributed throughout the shoe, giving you more balance.

Try: Sam Edelman Yardley Dress Sandal, $120, Amazon

Also consider: Lauren Ralph Lauren Stasia Heels, $108.95, Amazon

4. How Do I Make My High Heels More Comfortable?

In addition to making sure you've chosen the most comfortable type of shoe, cushions and insoles can help alleviate various pressures and friction that could be making your high-heel experience less than satisfactory. If this alone is not good enough, here are seven other tips to make your heels more comfortable.

Try: Belle of the Ball Foot Gel Cushions, $13.95, Amazon

5. How Often Can I Wear High Heels?

Wear high heels as often as you want, but make sure you're listening to your body. Pain is a sign to stop. Wearing heels too often can lead to blisters, bunions, and unnecessary pressure on your feet and lower back. If you like to wear heels more often than not, make sure to switch up the type and height so as to give as much recoup-time to the various parts of your body that can be impacted by constant wear.

6. How Long Can I Be On My Feet While Wearing High Heels?

As long as you're comfortable, get it girl. But it is important to take breaks when you can so you don't over-exert. Sit when you get a chance, but don't take your heels off until you're ready to have them off for good. When you take your heels off, your feet will swell, making it harder to put your shoes back on, and even less comfortable to walk around in when you do get them back on your feet.

7. How Do I Walk Better In High Heels?

Walking better in high heels is about comfort and ankle strength. As previously mentioned, to obtain maximum comfort, make sure to pick a shoe that fits properly, has a better heel height, and has some factor like a platform or strap to give your ankles more support. However, walking well in heels is also about training. Since it's not natural to be walking on a permanent incline, you have to accustom your ankles to the new angle and pressure. Walking better in stilettos is about starting small and working your way up. By wearing shoes first with a two-inch heel, and then three-inch, and then four-inch, and so on, you can train your ankles to provide better support. Think of it this way: It's much easier to learn how to walk in a one-inch heel than a five-inch heel. If you're used to walking in a four-inch heel, it will be much easier to master that five-incher than going straight for it from flats.

Images: Giphy (6); Bilal Jouni/YouTube