When you’re tottering around in stilettos or wobbling in wedges, it’s time to take a fresh look at how you happen upon your heels. If a fancy pair of kitten heels makes you purr, but scratches up your ankles in the meantime, you’re in a nasty cat fight of shoe versus style. It’s crucial to choose heels that feel comfortable on your feet and are at an appropriate height for walking. Otherwise, you’ll end up with all sorts of foot and style problems that will have you wishing you put the brakes on your heels before getting in the car to go out.
Heel’s the Thing
If your tendons feel tender after a day in your heels, it’s time to swap the stilettos for a stacked heel. The key to choosing the appropriate heel for your weight and height is first making sure you can stand up straight in your chosen heels. Then walk around on the store’s hard surface while bending your knees to boost balance. Strut confidently by bending your knee, quickly straightening it in front — leading with your heel — and then landing on the toe pad. If you’re wobbling at all instead of walking, lower the heel or try a wedge heel, which helps to evenly distribute your body’s weight so you can balance better.
Love Your Tootsies
Look for heels that won’t aggravate your problem areas. If you have a bunion on your big toe, you’ll want to steer clear of a heel featuring a dainty single strap. The strap will cut into the bunion and irritate your bone — and mind — all day long. If hammer toes hamper your toe happiness, walk past the pointy toes and go for something square. In addition, if you’re prone to tired or achy feet, push for some cushion in the toe bed and arch. It’s also a good idea to walk on a floor inside the store because carpet softens your step and makes any shoe feel better.
Find the Right Fit
If your heels fit right, you won’t need to throw one. Try wriggling your toes inside the toe box of your heels — even if your heels are open-toed your toes can still get crammed. Also make sure there’s a half-inch between your big toe and the shoe’s end. In addition, you’re sure to get a good fit with quality leather heels. The leather molds to your feet for a great fit instead of your feet trying to conform to the shoe. Seek out a rounded toe box when possible because it gives a comfortable, natural fit and allows breathing room for your toes so you aren’t contending with cramps.
There’s no sense in getting a great-looking shoe that can’t walk like it talks. Sure, it looks stylish, but looks aren’t everything, especially if your heels wreak havoc. Seek out a fashionable pair of heels within your budget but don’t be afraid to pay a little more for important features, such as added layers of felt or foam for additional cushioning. This way, your toes will be comfortable instead of crammed, and your heels won’t hurt. While you may need to pay a little extra, you won’t have to pay with sore feet at the end of the day.
One of the most important elements in comfortable heels is a flexible sole — bonus points if your heels have one in leather. Heels with rubber soles are known for good shock absorption and are also a good choice. Pick up each shoe and hold it at the heel and toe. Gently bend the shoe and you should see some flexibility at the front, and a stiff bottom in the arch. If the sole won’t bend like this, you’ll have a difficult time walking fluidly.
References & Resources
Today: Hip, Hip, Hooray for High Heels That Don’t Hurt!
The Guardian: Dr Dillner’s Health Dilemmas — Should I Wear High Heels?
Real Simple: How to Find Comfortable Shoes
ABC News: Class Teaches Women How to Walk in Heels
The New York Times: The Highest Heels Rely on Technology to Reach the Sky
High Heel Shoe Museum: 20 Great Tips for Wearing and Walking in High Heels