Given our beyond-chaotic lifestyles, we spend the majority of our day on our feet – whether it’s running a meeting at work or running through crowded streets with a toddler in tow. And many women do it all in heels, a choice that, although fashion-forward, can result in blistered, bruised, and even bloody soles. Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself at the end of the day soaking your wounded feed with one question on your mind: How do you make high heels more comfortable?
The most logical solution might be to pass on the pumps and wear flats every day. After all, heels have been known to cause back, knee, and hip problems, and they definitely make it harder to chase your kid around the playground. But logic isn’t everything. Stilletos make your calves look great, they exude an aura of sexiness and power that no flat in the universe offers, and they’re just more fun. Some us aren’t willing to sacrifice that.
So what does a heel addict do when her favorite pumps cause her indescribable pain? She implements a few MacGyver-level fashion hacks. From shopping guidelines to stretching techniques, here are 11 ways to wear heels with the pain.
1Pass On The Pointed Toe
Although a pointed pump conveys a sense of power, Dr. Harley Kantor, DPM of Chelsea Foot and Ankle in New York City, notes that the style does some serious damage to your toes. “When it’s a pointed style, the toes will be more crowded, which leads to corns, blisters, and calluses.” Kantor also noted that pointed toes put more pressure on the ball of your foot, leading to that burning sensation your feet feel after stumbling around in stilettos for 15 minutes. Protect your toes by opting for an open, round, or square toe style.
2Get A Little Lift
If you insist on wearing high heels every day, Kator suggests opting for a platform style. Particularly if you experience calf pain. According to Kantor, the extra lift offsets the muscle stretching that high heels create, thus eliminating the strain you feel in your lower leg.
3Add Extra Protection
You can’t go wrong with a classic solution. Inserts, like the Dr. Scholl's DreamWalk High Heel Insoles ($8), provide a soft surface that shifts the pressure off the balls of your feet. It may make you feel like an octogenarian, but the alternative is to skip the insoles and limp around in pain.
4Stretch ‘Em Out
Banish blisters (and foot B.O.) in one swipe. Rolling clear deodorant onto the lining of your shoes reduces the friction, which ultimately reduces the painful marks high heels can leave on your feet.
7Walk This Way
The way you walk in high heels can make all the difference in terms of foot pain. Stand straight to put the pressure on your legs rather than the balls of your feet. Also, don’t be afraid to take things slowly. According to the Journal of Paramedical Sciences, your stride is naturally shorter in heels, so trying to pick up the pace will only displace the weight and put extra pressure on your soles.
8Get Thicker Skin
Or, in this case, a second skin. Mold some moleskin, a soft cotton flannel, to fit your feet – specifically the parts that experience the most pain. Because of the adhesive backing, it won’t slip and slide as you strut throughout the day.
9Find The Right Fit
I, a supposedly rational person, have purchased so many pairs of gorgeous shows knowing they don’t fit correctly, only to toss them to the back of my closet after one excruciatingly painful wear. Bottom line – if a shoe’s too small, you crunch your feet to the point of indescribable pain. If they are a bit big, you could slip and slide your way into crutches. Take them time to try on your pumps to find the perfect pair.
10Tape It Up
You may not be a prima ballerina, but walking around in heels can give you the feet of one. Luckily, there is an old dancer trick that keeps your feet from becoming permanently effed up. WhoWhatWear recommends taping your third and fourth toe together with medical tape to help your foot “fit” better into your shoe, thus alleviating that pinched feeling.
11Give 'Em A Break
There’s no shame in taking off your shoes and strolling through the street barefoot. (Though there is definitely a safety concern or two.) Don’t be afraid to give your feet a break from high heels, whether it’s switching to flats mid-day or sitting a little longer than you usually would. At the end of the day, when it comes to foot comfort, you gotta do you.
Images: Courtesy of Andrea Rinaldi, Paw Paw, Lupus Photo, Alyssa L Miller/ Flickr; lynettemarie1, drama_shoeholic, conair, kellys_shoes, atoristory85, mrsdoittoit, j0ulie18/ Instagram; Dr. Scholl’s/ Facebook (filtered by Romper)