For some the higher the heels, the better. For others, a pair of black flats is much more appealing than some stilettos. Whether you're a fan of heels or not, you might find yourself wearing them at some point, so it can't hurt to have some tips on how to make heels less painful. It's no fun to suffer for the sake of fashion, but luckily, if you like to add a little height to your outfits, there are certain ways to do so without stumbling home with bloody calluses and sore arches.
"High heels, if worn incorrectly, can change the way the small muscles in your feet fire, which could lead to overuse syndrome," says podiatric surgeon Dr. Dana Canuso over email. "Overuse syndrome can cause pain and possible tearing. Also, bad heels can lead to lower back pain, knee pain, and calf pain."
Whether you just bought a pair of shoes that are disappointingly uncomfortable or you have a favorite pair that you can't wear more than a few hours, there's hopefully an easy to solution to make your high heels experience a little bit better. Here are 11 tips on how to make walking in heels more comfortable.
1. Get The Right Size
"As simple as it sounds, the shoe needs to fit," says podiatric surgeon Dr. Rebecca Pruthi over email. You want to make sure there is space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. "When shoe shopping, buy at the end of the day when your feet are already swollen," suggests Pruthi. "Also, look at your width of your feet. I see too many women with wide feet cramming into a narrow shoe. This will help avoid bony changes and damage that can lead to bunions, neuromas and hammertoes."
2. Break Them In
Before you wear your heels out on the town, break them in first at home. "Wear socks at home while wearing shoes for a few hours, or use shoe stretchers," says Pruthi.
3. Choose Leather
When buying your heels, it's important to look at the material they're made of. "Wear shoes that give — that are made of leather rather than synthetic — so they can stretch," says Pruthi.
4. Use An In-Sole Cushion
Walking in heels is much less painful when the in-sole is well-cushioned. "This helps in absorbing shock in the ball area while walking and provides comfort," says footwear designer Radhika Jain over email. "These insole cushions can be made either of eva foam/latex foam or memory foam, which is the best. Nowadays you can buy them online or at a shoe store with foot-care accessories."
5. Shave Down The Heel
If you've got a favorite pair of heels that are agonizing to walk in, consider getting part of the heel shaved down. Go into a shoe repair store and ask for them to take a look at the shoe. They will usually shave off about 1/2 inch to 1 inch maximum to maintain the integrity of the shoe, but that small amount could still make a difference.
6. Learn How To Walk Properly
How you walk in heels should not be the same as how you walk in sneakers. Walking with the correct posture can help minimize the impact as well as pain on your joints and muscles. Stand up straight, use your core muscles as you walk, and each time you step, land on the outer border of the heel and toe off, according to Today.com.
7. Use Deodorant To Prevent Chafing
Say "bye-bye" to blisters by rubbing a little bit of deodorant on the backs and sides of your foot. The deodorant acts as a barrier and helps prevent too much friction, according to Good Housekeeping.
8. Try Moleskin
"Moleskin can be used on bony areas of the foot to protect from friction," says Pruthi. It can be cut to any size and used on targeted areas of discomfort. "Unfortunately, this still won’t do anything to alleviate the calf, knee, or back pain that results from posture changes caused by wearing heels," she says.
9. Take Some Breaks
Wearing heels once on a fancy night out won't have long-term damage. But if you're wearing uncomfortable heels daily, you might want to consider taking some breaks. "Change your shoes throughout the day," says Pruthi. "Wear heels only for periods of time and give your feet a break."
10. Tape Your Toes
Taping together the third and fourth toe of each foot takes the pressure off the ball of the foot, which can help ease pain, according to The Guardian. Use medical tape to prevent cramping and numbness by keeping these two toes bound together.
11. Opt For Platforms
If added height is the main reason you wear heels, you might want to consider switching to platforms. "Platform is used to ease off some body weight pressure from the heel part and distribute it to the ball area," says Jain. "The higher the platform height, the more will be the comfort level."