Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Secret to Comfy High Heels

*Despite the 5" heel on these, reviewers describe them as comfortable- this is thanks to the platform on the ball of the foot.

Reader question:

I am normally a flats/flip flops type of person. I wear heels when I have a special event to go to or occasionally at the office. Something I noticed when wearing heels was that my feet (particularly the balls of my feet) would be in a good deal of pain by the end of the event or working day. What tips would you have to ease the discomfort when you're wearing heels? What sort of heels would you recommend for someone in my situation, particularly for the warmer months?

I get a LOT of questions about comfortable footwear for women, and it's always funny to me because I am definitely someone who probably thinks of comfort close to last when selecting my footwear;) However I have been wearing heels pretty much daily since about the 9th grade and I do know quite a bit about how to work a heel.  If you have actual foot problems you should consult your podiatrist about what footwear is most appropriate for you to wear.  But if you have normal feet and simply are experiencing pain in the balls of the feet after wearing them, here are some tips that I have found alleviate any pain so that I can wear heels all day without any problems:

1. Make sure the shoes fit comfortably to start with. If you try on a heeled shoe and it pinches, binds, or hurts in any way in the store do NOT buy it!  A great pair of shoes are a fabulous pleasure for the well-heeled woman, and should not under any circumstance be a torture device.  If they hurt from the start, toss 'em.

*A reasonable 3 1/2" heel and a comfy rounded toe make these a good bet for work.

2. Repeat after me: platforms are your friend!!! The pain in the ball of your foot is caused by this simple equation: the angle of the heel + the lack of any padding under the ball of the foot =  your entire body weight resting squarely on the ball of the foot - ouch!

These shoes are HOT, but one reviewer described them as "insanely uncomfortable" and I believe it. There is absolutely no support under the ball of the foot and the precipitous drop of the 4 1/2" heel makes these a gorgeous shoe that you'll probably want to take off 20 min into wearing them.

A comfier choice:
These have an amazing 5 1/4" heel, yet reviewers describe them as 'incredibly comfy', 'very comfy' and 'great to dance in.' It's all about the platform baby!

3. If all else fails, try a lower heel: It may seem obvious, but especially in a work environment there are many stylish heeled shoes that are quite low (and therefore more comfortable.) The eternally chic kitten heel will be your best friend, and strappy cutouts are ideal for a warmer climate:

In summary: The path to high heel happiness lies in decreasing the severity of the angle between the heel and the ball of the foot. This is achieved by having either a lower heel, or some kind of padding under the ball of the foot, like a platform or wedge. By decreasing the angle of the heel you increase the surface area of the foot that is supporting your body weight, and thereby decrease the pressure on the ball of the foot. This equals comfort. Wait, did this conversation about high heels just get science-y?;) Anyway trust me, the equation works! Stick to this principle, combined with a decently well-made shoe, and you WILL be able to wear high heels as much as you want to (like me.) The only time I don't wear heels is when it slows me down (walking the dog, running errands, exercising, walking on grass etc.), not because of any discomfort, so I can confidently say that I have solved this problem! Hope it works for you, and please let me know the results!! *P.S. If you're uncomfortable walking in heels, really do practice walking around the house in them- it will help.

Happy high heel trails,

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