High heels can make your legs look longer and thinner, and add instant punch and style to an outfit. But they can really hurt, and cause ugly looking corns and callouses.
But with a little shopping savvy, you can find heels that are comfortable and suited to your foot shape, so you can strut (not limp!) in style. Here are a few simple tips for picking heels that don’t hurt.
1. Buy heels in the afternoon
Your feet expand in the afternoon, because of heat and all the pressure of walking around. So what fits perfectly at 9 a.m. can be a pain to wear by 3 p.m. To avoid this, schedule your shoe shopping expedition in the afternoon.
2. Get the exact size
Yes, it’s on sale, but if it’s too small it’ll pinch your feet and if it’s too large you’ll be using extra muscles in the feet whenever you walk—both of which lead to pain. You know it’s the right size when you can flex your toes and can comfortably bend, squat, and tiptoe in them. Do this when you try the shoes, and then take a stride across the shoe store to see if it pinches the sides of your feet.
3. Avoid very pointed shoes
These will pinch your toes and cause ugly corns and callouses.
4. Choose breathable fabrics
Leather is your best choice. Plastic shoes trap heat and sweat, which is uncomfortable, causes foot odor, and (since bacteria likes to breed in sweat) athlete’s feet and other skin disorders. The sweat will also cause your feet to chafe and rub against the shoe, leading to more discomfort.
5. Pick a stable heel
The heel should give you adequate support. So, even if you get a kitten heel, you want the top of the heel to be wide, even if it tapers to a thin end.
Another factor in stability is height. Ideally the heel should be 1 to 1 and a half inches high. Higher heels are great for drama but don’t wear these the whole day; if you’re going to attend a function and want long stilettos, pack them in the trunk and pick something more sensible for the office.
6. Look for shoes with padding
Some of the more expensive shoes have belt in cushions to support the arch. Or, you can guy gel pads and cushion inserts that do the same job. Just bring them with you when you buy new heels, so you know how much room you need.
7. Bring bandaids in your bag
This is to protect your feet in any case of a shoe emergency, like an unexpected blister on your ankle or toe. But to avoid this, break in a new pair of shoes before using it at work or any activity that requires you to be on your feet the whole day.
8. Rest your feet.
Don’t wear heels every day! Rotate your favorite stilettos with fashionable sandals or ballet flats. And reward your feet with a relaxing foot bath and moisturize at the end of the day. A special foot spa treatment would be great — read our tips on how to save on spa treatments.
Photo from webpages.scu.edu