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 making heels less painful. It’s no fun to suffer for 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 an expert. “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 for more than a few hours, there’s hopefully an easy solution to make your high heels experience a little bit better. Here are 10 tips on how to make walking in heels more comfortable.
Get The Right Size
“As simple as it sounds, the shoe needs to fit,” says a professional. You want to make sure there is space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. “When shoe shopping, buy when your feet are already swollen at the end of the day,” suggests an expert. “Also, look at the width of your feet. There are many women with wide feet cramming into narrow shoes. This will help avoid bony changes and damage that can lead to bunions, neuromas and hammertoes.”
1. 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.
2. Choose Leather
When buying your heels, it’s important to look at the material they’re made of. Wear shoes that give — made of leather rather than synthetic — so they can stretch. Get your pairs from Dream Pairs at https://dreampairshoes.com/collections/womens-heels.
3. 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. “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.”
4. Shave Down The Heel
Consider getting part of the heel shaved down if you’ve got a favorite pair of heels that are agonizing to walk in. 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 shoe’s integrity, but that small amount could still make a difference.
5. 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 and 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.
6. 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. According to the experts, the deodorant acts as a barrier and helps prevent too much friction.
7. Try Moleskin
Moleskin can be used on bony foot areas to protect from friction. 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.
8. 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,” is recommended by the expert. “Wear heels only for periods and give your feet a break.”
9. 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 experts. Use medical tape to prevent cramping and numbness by keeping these two toes bound together.
10. Opt For Platforms
If the added height is the main reason you wear heels, you might want to consider switching to platforms. The platform is used to ease off some bodyweight pressure from the heel part and distribute it to the ball area. “The higher the platform height, the more will be the comfort level.”
Are High Heels Bad for You?
It is no secret that your risk of ankle sprains increases when wearing high heels. Additional problems with high heels include:
- Altering the mechanics of your foot and your gait.
- Overstretching some muscles.
- Shortening other muscles.
- Resulting in pain in your knees, hips, and back… could go on.
When you regularly wear heels, you can sprain the ligament under your first toe’s proximal joint, and it is not uncommon to find your Achilles tendon thickens.
The thickening of a tendon may not sound like a bad thing, but let’s look at why it thickens due to your shoe choice.
In a 2010 study, R. Csapo et al. found that the Achilles tendon is thicker and stiffer in women who wear high heels often. When comparing the actual length of the tendon to women who opted for flats, the length of the tendon was often the same. The problem with this is that the Achilles tendon in women who wore heels did not stretch to accommodate the shortened calf muscle regular high heel wear caused.
This resulted in pain when walking flat-footed, as the calf muscles and Achilles tendon could no longer stretch appropriately.
To avoid this problem, make sure you engage in regular stretches for everything from your toes to your knees! If you are already experiencing a lot of pain when you walk, speak with your physiotherapist to learn which stretches are best for you.
Are you having pain in your feet, knees, hips or back from your choice of footwear? Follow these tips and wear them freely.