High Heels: How to Wear Them Pain-free

For ages women have been wearing high heels to feel taller, skinner and sexier. But for some of us, popping on a pair of brand new stilettos and going out for the night is like foot suicide. Fortunately, there’s hope. Here are some of the secrets that most high-heel women aren’t willing to share:

1. The most important thing about wearing heels is breaking them in. This doesn’t mean putting them on for 5 minutes before you leave. This means really wearing them for hours at a time, and allowing them to mold to your feet. If you try and break in a pair of shoes while you’re watching TV, chances are you won’t get very far. One of the best tricks is to wear them while you clean the house. Running around and bending down really helps stretch the shoes in all different directions, making the process much faster. Plus, you’re at home so you can always take them off if they start to get unbearable. Just try and get in a good 4-5 hours at home before you step outside.

2. Wear heels at least 2-3 times a week. When you’re wearing flats, you’re feet grow accustomed to your weight being applied evenly. If you only put on heels once in a while, the weight fluctuation is a total shock and can cause a lot of irritation. Be especially careful during the summer. Wearing flip flops every day allows your feet to expand, not only causing dryness and cracking, but also making it harder to walk on a narrower sole.

3. Before you put on your shoes, put on a moisturizing lotion, particularly one containing aloe and vitamin e. This will keep your skin soft so that straps and buckles slide back and forth evenly, avoiding blisters and abrasions. You may even want to bring a small bottle of lotion to reapply if you start to feel your skin getting irritated.

4. Bandaids. Always bring bandaids. Once in a while a shoe is just that uncomfortable, and will need a solid couple of weeks to break in. Just apply a bandaid to whichever part of the shoe is particularly irritating and you’ll at least be able to break in the rest. If you still need a bandaid after a few weeks of wear, it’s possible that the shoes are just not high quality or don’t fit you correctlly. Try and stay away from that cut in the future.

5. Be careful where you buy shoes. Unlike other accessories, shoe quality is extremely important not only for wear and longevity, but also for your health. The wrong pair of shoes can seriously effect your feet as well as your spine. You don’t necessarily need to buy designer shoes (although they do tend to be the most comfortable), but look in stores that really take quality into account when designing their shoes. My personal favorites are Aldo and Nine West.

6. Don’t sit down all night. Once you’re out for the night, try not to spend the whole time planted in a chair. While you may be comfortable sitting down, the whole time you are seated, your feet are getting adjusted to their old habits again and are stretching back into a normal flat position. Once you stand up, they’ll be almost unbearable; far worse than had you just remained standing the whole time.

7. Be selective in the types of shoes you buy. Stay away from sandals that have a lot of straps…they’re just opportunities for blisters. Also shy away from wooden soles and others that don’t have any cushioning. Even a small pad can make a world of difference in comfortability. When you’re in the store, try them on and walk around for a good 5-10 minutes. If anything starts to hurt within that short a period of time, they’re not the shoes for you. After a while, you’ll start to get a better idea of which shapes and cuts fit you best, and can use that as a guide when you shop.

8. Don’t borrow your friends’ shoes! Even though your friend may have broken them in, that doesn’t mean they’re broken in for you. Every person’s foot is completely different, and what may be comfortable for her, may be absolutely brutal for your feet.

9. If all else fails, take an Advil. Sometimes you’re out and about and you have no choice but to remain standing, despite whatever level of discomfort you may be in. Ibuprofin helps to reduce swelling and can significantly decrease the pain you may be feeling. However, once you’ve learned to master all the tips above, you shouldn’t have to fall back on medication.

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