I’ll admit it: I’m not a natural high heel wearer.
This problem probably stems from my hippy art teacher mother’s original plan for me, which involved me only wearing boys clothes – nothing pink ever – oh, how she learned when, at 10 years old, I begged for my room to be decorated in pink. (P.S. – Those women in the picture above are running a high heeled sprint in St. Petersburg! Ack!)
Still, to this day, my mother looks at me funny when I come home wearing heels. “Why do you wear those things? They’re stupid. Wear something comfortable.” Typical.
I love heels. They are beautiful and oh-so-womanly. I like being at least as tall as most people – and at 5’5″ in flats, that just simply won’t happen. I also have a propensity for taller girlfriends – almost all of them are so tall, I have to keep up! But, regardless of that stuff, I adore the way high heels look, on and off. Gorgeous. The higher the better. Unless they involve clear plastic material, and you know what I mean. Then, not so much.
Although high heels are beautiful in almost every way, they are not, as my mother always reminds me, comfortable.
I didn’t always wear heels – I had to learn how to walk in them. No one wants to see someone barely stumbling along in a beautiful pair of shoes – and it’s no fun to do either!
I decided that heels were good for me in more ways than they weren’t, and so, I embarked on my journey to high heel wearer-ship.
I began with short heels (1-2 inches) and primarily in the wedge form. I bought some lovely Jeffrey Campbell wedges – and decided that they would be my go-to everyday shoe. And they were the only shoes I wore. This was when I was still in college, so there was a good amount of walking involved.
In the beginning, I got blisters pretty much everywhere a blister can form on a foot, but I pushed through. After a couple months it didn’t even seem like I was wearing heels anymore. Then I graduated to higher heels.
I learned that the more money you spend – the better for your feet. Also, it doesn’t really matter how the shoe feels when you try it on, you will find out after a few 2+ hour standing-only events how your shoes actually feel. But, if it feels bad when you try it on, DO NOT buy it. Some shoes I’ve bought feel great in the store, only to feel so-so when actually navigating uneven sidewalks and never-ending grocery isles.
I learned that a small platform is better than none – comfort wise. The platform allows for more cushioning; instead of your toes and balls-of-your-feet being nothing more than what seems like a piece of paper away from the hard ground, you have more support. These Jessica Simpson heels are one of my favorite pairs that I own.
I’ve learned that the most comfortable high heels have some sort of ankle support. The best high heels are boots; you are completely supported and locked in. It’s almost impossible to sprain an ankle or have heel slippage in those things. The next best are some type of mary-janes. While they don’t offer the locked-down ankle support of a boot, they do basically prevent heel slippage and any forward imbalance you may have. After that its pretty much a free-for-all depending on the shoe.
Some shoes stretch after you get them and then you have constant heel slipping which leads to a shortened stride and an uncomfortable look. The best remedy for this is to find a good cobbler in your area (which I have yet to do), or to get some Foot Petals. The more of those things you put in your shoe, the tighter the shoe will get. They have tips on the website, also. I’ve tried other brands like Dr. Scholl’s and other stuff they had at Target, and they didn’t stay stuck on my shoes.
Some heels dig into certain parts of your feet so painfully you get huge blisters where the straps weren’t. Band-aid’s Blister Block is great – although it can make your foot go down into your shoe even more, causing extra heel slippage. For extreme tightness, you should get the shoes professionally stretched at a shoe repair place.
Some make the balls of your feet so tender they feel like they are catching on fire more and more with each step you take. The best thing here is to get a different shoe with a small platform (like mentioned before) or to look into Foot Petals “Tip Toes.”
A lot of times heels just plain hurt. In most situations you just need to plan ahead. While I would ideally be wearing four-inchers all the time, it’s just not realistic. Planning ahead is key.
If ever I feel like giving up – I just remind myself that not only is pain beauty, but that I don’t want to be that nasty girl walking home barefoot, heels in hand. And then I carry a really cute pair of flats in a dust bag in my purse, just in case.
Although I believe that the shoes themselves are the most important part of the equation, sometimes it is your gait and hopefully this video clip can give you a few tips: