The truth about heels. It seems that every time I write a post about heels, I get numerous comments from women basically dismissing the post and telling me that they just can’t wear heels. This makes me a little sad because while you can wear whatever you want if it makes you feel good, I don’t think you should have to stay away from a shoe just because you think you can’t. Now, of course, if you’ve had knee surgery or some other issues then you might not be able to wear a high heel, but if you really want to then there are ways to make them more comfortable.
THE TRUTH ABOUT HEELS
Why I get it. Alright, full disclosure here. I don’t have the perfect feet for heels as I have flat feet (although they are strong from dance and I consciously work them out. For more, read: Foot and Ankle Exercises.) and bunions and I find many of them to be extremely uncomfortable. I’ve dealt with that awful burning sensation on the balls of my feet. I’ve had shooting pains running up the side of my leg from the pressure on my bunions and unbelievable calf cramps. I’ve also had a sore back and experienced pain in my knees. So you see, I do get it. I have been there and I understand the concerns. I also understand that amazing feeling of slipping my feet into a stunning pair of heels, standing tall, head held high, feeling elegant and graceful and having all the confidence in the world.
Find the shoe shape for you. As much as I love them, I can’t wear strappy sandals. Frankly, they aren’t flattering on my feet and they dig into them rather painfully. So I simply stare longingly at them and move on. In addition, since I do have bunions which I’m not looking to accentuate, I need a shoe that sits a little bit higher up over my toes. Everyone is unique and it’s okay to try on shoes that fit. Don’t be afraid to try on a lot of different styles until you find one that doesn’t pinch. Learn about the anatomy of a heel in: How To Chose The Perfect Heels.
Find the heel height for you. My motto generally is: “the higher the better,” but that’s not for everyone. Also, not everyone can wear a stiletto and if you don’t wear heels very often and aren’t comfortable in them then reach for a chunkier heel that will provide more stability and balance.
You’ve found your perfect shoe so now what? Okay, so you’ve found a shoe that doesn’t particularly pinch and that you can stand in without any real discomfort. They look great and you are already picking out the perfect outfit in your head. The caveat in this plan is that you know you’ll only manage about 15 minutes in these shoes before you are ready to throw them out without a second glance. Walk into any drugstore or pharmacy these days and you’ll find a wealth of high tech products to help you out. Here’s what I use when I know that I will be in my heels for a while:
- A silicone protector for bunions. Basically it hooks around my big toe and fits comfortably over the inner edge of my foot so I don’t feel the pressure of my shoes.
- Silicone pads beneath the balls of my feet.
- Tape my toes. I’ve been using this trick for a while now and I took it straight from ballet and years of wearing pointe shoes. I started taping my 3rd and 4th toes together primarily because I broke one several times but it also works to alleviate foot pain when you are wearing heels by slightly changing the alignment of your foot.
- Stretch my shoes. I have a narrow heel but a wider forefoot and sometimes I do need to stretch out my shoes. If I don’t have a shoe tree on hand, I use simply place a water filled baggy in my shoes and freeze it overnight.
- Stretch my muscles. When you are wearing heels your body is pitched forward and this can put some strain on your hamstrings, knees and back. If I know that I’m going out for a few hours, I’ll take some time to warm up my muscles beforehand.
Most importantly, never buy a shoe that is not comfortable in the store. Don’t think that you will break them in or fix them. A shoe that doesn’t fit will get worse over time. While I love a great shoe, I don’t love being in pain and I don’t accept it and there’s no reason that you should either.
Other than not wearing them, how do you deal with high heel pain?
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