It’s believed that the way your feet feel determines the well being of your whole body.
… And with aches, corns, blisters, muscle spasms, calluses, bunions and just general pain, heels can be one heck of mood spoiler. (Cue the flash backs of me sitting at the curb of the road, the ball of my right foot going into spasms as the poor boy next to me tries to calm me down. Later, he has to CARRY me to the taxi stand so I can go home. Not fun.) But still… heels are just so much fun aren’t they? And I’ve been talking a lot about confidence recently, and I know that one of the things women feel most confident in are a pair of great heels.
Still, they do hurt and cause a lot of stress sometimes, and I’ve since been very careful about high heels (and prefer low heels these days); but I have learned some tips and tricks in making high heel a little bit more comfortable that has helped immensely. I hope they will work for you, too.
Picking the right pair of heels
It goes without saying, but it’s important you find a pair of heels that actually fit. It doesn’t matter how cheap they were or how gorgeous they are, buying just one size too small or too big is a big no-no. Picking out the right shoe is vital, as the info-graph bellows shows all the possible health concerns when wearing high heels, especially those that are too high and tight (click to enlarge):
Some notes from the info-graph:
- A narrow toe box can create a thickening of tissue around a nerve between the third and fourth toe, which can lead to pain and numbness in toes.
- Likewise, tight fitting shoes can cause a bony growth on the joint at the base of the big toe, which forces the big toe to angle in toward the other toes. In other words: you can get bunions. Nasty bunions.
- As heel high goes up, so does the pressure on the front of your foot, which results in pain as well as push the center of mass in the body forward; making your hips and spine out of alignment.
- High heels also don’t do much good for your knees; as the altered position places excess force on the inside of the knee, which can result in osteoarthritis.
It’s not all sad times, though – just be a little more careful in buying super high heels. More quick tips on buying the right pair of heels:
- As pointed above, if you can, avoid pointed shoes. They squeeze your toes together and can create bunions and injuries such as Morton’s Neuroma. A good way to see if your toes have enough room is that you should be able to wiggle your toes without problems.
- Buy shoes that allow your feet to “breathe” – avoid plastics that are uncomfortable and allow your foot to stay cool. Leather is said to be the best.
- Try to avoid kitten heels where the heel is very thin. This puts great pressure to your knees and the ball of your feet.
- Buy shoes at the end of the day, as your feet usually expand throughout the day.
- According to result, the ideal heel height is 1-1.5 inches; which still gives you a bit of height with total comfort.
Making them comfortable
- Cushion up. Many high heels don’t offer any padding. It doesn’t mean you have to suffer though; there are many gel pads and cushions inserts available today. You simply stick them to the sole of your shoes. Dr. Scholl’s make excellent ones for every type of shoe and concern.
- Season them. If you bought new shoes for this new season, wear them around the house a bit to ‘loosen’ them up a bit. I’m sure everyone can relate to wearing new shoes the very same day of buying them and having painful blisters.
- Take baby steps. When walking in your heels, take smaller steps so there is less pressure on your foot. Long strides create extra weight each time you take a step, which speeds up the chances of aches and pains. And please, no running in heels…ever!
- Try this tape trick. Here’s a high heel trick from the supermodels! When wearing high heels, tape your 3rd and 4th toe together with medical tape. This will allow the front of your feet to “fit” better in your shoes (no more painful toes!) as well as balance the front of your foot out for steadier walking. Try it!
- Get some backup. When going out for a long night, it’s always best to bring some backup flats. Bring a pair of flip-flops or your favorite sneakers in your bag. I used to do this; once the night was “done” with and I’m just left with my friends, I switched to my flats so my feet could relax. This is also done by many celebrities who have to walk the red carpet – check out actress Kristen Stewart, above, on the red carpet in heels, and backstage in flat shoes. Also, carry a few band-aids in your wallet, just in case an uninvited blister decides to show up – or make a fashion statement and wear crazy colored, zebra patterned ones, they are sure to spice up any pair of shoes!
- Remember to limit yourself. Don’t wear heels everyday, unless you want to have problems in the future such as correcting bunions, ingrown toenails, replace worn out toe-joints, knee or even back surgery. Limit yourself to two hours at a party and then slip on your flats for the rest of the night. Also, try sitting down for intervals if your shoes are starting to wear you down.
- Pamper them! End your high heel wearing sessions with a warm foot bath. Fill a tub full of warm water and just relax and soak your feet, massaging them gently. You can even add a bit of milk to your mixture; milk is great for soothing aching muscles.
- Moisturize. To end, moisturize your feet before sleeping, further massaging them. All that stiff movement in your heels can lead to dry, rough heels and dry lines all over your foot. Moisturize your foot and if you want to take it a step further; after moisturizing, wear socks to sleep to really let your foot ‘soak’ in the moisture and recover from all that pain.
Basically, please take care of your feet. Yes, heels are sexy and everybody loves them, but if you’re going to be miserable and in pain the whole night, there’s no real point, is there? Shouldn’t you enjoy your night instead of worrying about your feet? Not to mention all the other complications heels can start up. Don’t take the risk! Take care of your feet and limit wearing heels too much, no matter how beautiful they are.
Did you find some value in this article? I hope you did, and please share it to a friend who wears high heels constantly – and perhaps complains about them constantly, too.