How comfortable are you in your heels? For most women, high heels are a great addition to their fashion statement. If you choose the wrong size and fit, however, they might be quite painful. Are your heels rubbing painfully against the feet? You’re probably wearing them wrong!
To enjoy walking in your heels for longer, you only need to make slight adjustments. Shall we get started?
#1 Purchase the Right Heels
A simple measurement of the width and length of your feet guides you towards picking the best-fitting pair of heels. At the shoe store, the assistant should help you get correct measurements. Always settle for a pair that is only slightly bigger than your feet; the lesser your feet move in the heels, the better the grip and overall comfort.
At the store, measure both of your feet; it’s common for people to have slightly different-sized feet. While some shoppers will opt to take home different sizes for both feet, it’s best to go with the slightly larger pair.
Note: Different brands and stores often have equally different sizing; a size chart should guide you.
Try Many Shoes!
Just by looking, heels can be deceiving. To avoid the financial and physical pain which comes with picking the wrong pair, take your time at the store. In addition to trying on several varieties and brands, try fitting and walking in different sizes as well. Walk within the store for a couple of minutes, at the least.
When your pair is too small, the toes feel scrunched and the back rubs painfully against the shoe as you walk. When the heels you pick are too large, your feet will slip out more often and your feet slide forward as you walk. While this isn’t painful, it is downright uncomfortable.
#2 Go For a More Comfortable, Lower Style
If you are just starting out on heels, going for the lower styles gives you a strong foundation. Weight distribution has to be nearly perfect. Heels which are thicker, like the wedges, are chunkier at the base and utterly comfortable to walk in.
Are your toes and feet wide? Go for almond and round-shaped heels instead of the pointed-toe ones. If you require more ankle support as you walk, there are many ankle-strapped and heeled boots to choose from.
Ideal Heel Height
To measure your ideal heel height, extend one leg in front of you; the distance between the ‘imaginary’ line extending straight from the heel to your big toe is your ideal heel height. More importantly, always ensure that the heel is placed squarely under the heel bone; it shouldn’t be at the very back.
FYI: For those with thinner heels, go for heel which curves in at the top instead of the straight-line ones.
Materials and brands of high quality always offer more comfort to the wearer. Solid rubbers soles and genuine leather are the best material to go for; there are other sturdy textiles offering a great deal of comfort and style. Ensure the joints and seams are all impeccably constructed. To test the material strength, tug a bit at certain parts of the heel.
#3 Addition of Inserts
For absolute comfort throughout the shoe, consider using quality and fitting insoles. Depending on your preference, you can purchase this before going for the shoes or at the same time. A great pair of insoles diffuses pressure from your heels, making the experience more enjoyable.
Pad Specific Areas
The back of your ankle and the ball of your foot are often the most painful spots associated with wearing heels. These problem areas could do with extra padding provided by fabric inserts or cushioned gel. Padding effectively prevents pressure, sliding, and painful rubbing.
When padding, go for any moleskin brand. This material is easy to work with as it can be trimmed to match your size and shape. Besides sticking directly to your feet, this material also stays intact in the tricky areas and over already existing blisters.
In addition to the tape, using maxi pads pampers the most sensitive foot areas. With this combination, you can comfortably wear high stilettos all day with minimal discomfort. To improve your level of comfort, slip the shoes off to relax your feet.
Note: When buying inserts, make sure they aren’t too bulky; this makes your shoe smaller, which might lead to even more pain.
Strap or Heel Grips for Keeping Your Heel in Place
There are many products designed to go along with high heels. For the most comfortable and safe wear, go for the products which can strap around or stick to your heel area. This way, aggressive rubbing is prevented even in larger shoes.
#4 Walking in Your Heels
When you are practicing heel-toe walking, assume you are in your typical flat shoes. If you are starting out and using a thinner heel, it will take time and effort to do it right. If you have a full-size mirror, watch yourself take small steps. As a good practice, walking around the house gives you the confidence you need and the knowledge to avoid all painful scenarios.
Maintain an Excellent Posture
When walking in high heel, keep your head high, the shoulders back, and your abs engaged for the best comfort. When wearing heels, the posture naturally brings out a curvier body, with the pelvis and chest pushed forward and a slightly arched back. Your center of gravity shifts slightly forward, requiring you to be more alert.
Use Support When On Uneven Surfaces and the Stairs
When walking on uneven surfaces, the chances of rolling an ankle or catching a heel are exponentially high. Whenever you can, be sure to use support and walk extra-carefully in your heels by holding onto the railing.
Note: When going out to the natural outdoors, select a pair of heels with a wider base. This eliminates the possibility of getting stuck in the grass and mud or worse still, falling and hurting yourself.
Relieve the Heel Pressure Once In A While
During the day, you will obviously have several breaks to relax and rewind. During such times, spare your feet the immense pressure which has built up by slipping the heels off. You can also improve the circulation by gently rubbing and elevating your feet.
FYI: To prevent injury and provide relief, gently spread the toes apart and rotate your ankles every few minutes.
Wear Tights or Socks
There are countless designs of no-show socks designed specifically for ladies; by wearing this, you will no longer experience rubbing and other similar irritations. Stocking and tights also make heels extra-comfortable to walk in. Even when you sweat, these items help keep your feet dry, consequently preventing sliding and general discomfort.
Wear Heels for a Limited Amount of Time
Ensure that you only wear high heels for the least-possible amount of time. As much as they are indispensable fashion items, wearing heels for too long interferes with circulation in your feet. Rather than wear heels for an entire day while at work, consider wearing flats instead; heels can be worn when going out later in the evening.
#5 Know Your Foot Type
Statistically, a third of women wear shoes which are suited for their feet type. While this might not sound like a big deal, choosing the wrong heel for your foot type can lead to serious discomfort and even ill health. Over a long duration of time, even the barely ill-fitting shoes can cause health issues such as;
- Blisters, corns, and calluses
- Plantar fasciitis
- Back and knee pain
You could have a:
Supinated foot: The exterior of your foot is more prominent and the foot assumes a C-shape. Since more weight has been placed on the feet, the heels you choose must have heel cups and sturdy sides to provide the extra support you need. Your weight should be evenly balanced, making wedged heels your best option.
Neutral foot: Ladies with these feet have an equal representation of the heel, ball of the foot, and the big toe. Arches in your feet are neither too low nor too high. As the ‘best’ foot type for the heel, you can wear a variety of designs without feeling the pinch or losing your balance. The high heels, however, have to be comfortable.
Low arch flat foot: If you have this foot type, most of your foot is clearly visible. Finding the perfect fitting heel is relatively easy, with the equal distribution of weight and features throughout. When selecting heels, go for the edgier ones; you can find and maintain balance easily.
High arch Pes cavus: In the footprint, only a small part of your foot’s ball, your toes, and part of your heel will be visible. Unfortunately, if this is your foot type, you are advised against wearing heels altogether; if you have to, only do so for a short while. This foot shape immensely reduces stability, making high heels extra-risky.
Depending on your foot type, finding the perfect and most comfortable heels will either be a walk in the park or a tall order. If you are having trouble, consult widely with shoe experts to find the most comfortable and painless fit for you. Pain is commonly associated with your foot type.
#6 Use Tape
As funny as it sounds, taping your 3rd and 4th toes presumable eases a great deal of pressure off your foot. If you wish to wear those towering stilettos all day long, using washi tape can give you a great deal of comfort when walking around. Duct tape would be too painful an option and a band aid won’t hold. This strategy is useful when wearing open-toe heels.
How It Works
The nerve separating the 3rd and 4th toes is the main cause of pain associated with wearing high heels. By taping these two together, considerable pressure is taken off the wearer’s feet balls. By alleviating the pressure, using a tape makes the pain less noticeable.
While your feet might still hurt at the day’s end, having these toes taped together feels slightly awkward but still gets the job done. Even for your most painful shoes, this trick will make them feel considerably less torturous.
Depending on the heels you are wearing, one can also tape the 2nd and 3rd toes for a more comfortable fit. When using a tape, remember to place a soft cloth or cotton between the toes; this prevents irritation and improves comfort a great deal!
#7 Put Feet on Ice
If you are just starting to wear heel, your feet will definitely feel constricted and quite unnatural. Even as you get used, soaking the feet in water rarely gets the job done. For quicker and longer lasting results, place your feet on ice; the extreme cold instantly numbs the pain as your feet revert back to their normal state.
If your feet are swollen, they aren’t necessarily painful. Swelling is as a result of poor circulation throughout the foot. Once you arrive home, prepare a cold bath with plenty of ice in it. Dipping your feet for 15 minutes should dissipate most of the swelling and pain.
FYI: Chilly ease calms the nerves responsible for detecting pain. If you are using cold water, it will take you longer to enjoy the same effect.
Placing your feet in icy water for a while naturally shrinks the skin and might result in cracking; if this was to happen, heels would be a no-go for you due to the sheer pain. To prevent this from happening, don’t forget to apply your favorite soft cream before going to bed; this prevents blistering and cracking at later stages.
Avoid Surgical Solutions
Die-hard heel lover go to great lengths to achieve comfort; some have fillers injected into their feet to ease pain. We advocate for natural remedies as the less-drastic alternatives. Rather than go to such lengths, consider using gel-filled cushions to achieve the same level of comfort. This applies most to people with thin-soled heels.
High heels are the easy and classic way to complete an elegant look. Owning a pair, however, means that you will adapt to a new walking style; you will have to be extra vigilant too. High-end brands are superbly designed, maintaining their form and attractiveness over time.
Wearing heels inappropriately can be damaging to your long-term health and uncomfortable. By following the reviewed strategies on how to avoid the pain, you will continue enjoying wearing heels without compromising your health.
How often do you rock heels and how do they feel? Let us know in our comment section. If you still have issues with your heels after implementing the above strategies, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Cheers!