Your closet may be stacked with a slew of fashion staples, but no item is more versatile than your go-to pair of high heels. Whether you wear them to the office or out with your friends, the perfect pair of pumps can amp up any outfit. But what good are high heels if you aren't able to walk in them? Nobody expects you to strut like a supermodel, but if your ankles wobble as you walk down the street, then you need to learn to walk better in heels.
I’m not saying this will be easy, but let’s face it — if Bryce Dallas Howard can outrun dinosaurs in a pair of stilettos, then you can probably at least make your way around the office in some kitten heels. Not only will learning to walk in heels make you look a little more graceful, but it can also help prevent any high heel-related injuries. A recent study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery found that the number of high heel-related injuries has doubled from over the past ten years. Yikes! Rather than tripping in the middle of the street, try implementing a few tricks that will help you walk better and avoid injury.
1. Take Small Steps
You don’t have to look like a newborn calf, but taking small steps versus long strides can make all the difference in your stride. Not only will it pace yourself while walking, but it can help keep you balanced, too.
2. Walk Heel to Toe
Try walking by placing your heel down first, and then your toe. If you try to step with your entire foot, you can throw off your entire balance. (And look like you’re trying to squash a bug.)
3. Wear the Right Size
Seems simple enough, but because heels are often narrower than a traditional shoe, you’ll definitely want to try some on before buying. Wearing a shoe that’s too small or too big can affect your walk, but it can also be detrimental to your foot, ankle, knee and lower back. It’s recommended that there be at least a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
Want to work on your fitness and improve your graceful walk? Try these exercises created by a former NYC ballet dancer to strengthen your calves and ankles. No one wants an injury from wobbly joints, so enjoy the improved posture and balance while you’re stepping out in those heels.
5. Give the Soles Some Grip
There’s no one more graceful than a ballerina, and there is a reason. Aside from their stellar core strength, ballerinas scuff up their slippers to give them more of a grip on the stage. You can apply the same trick to your heels by using sandpaper to scuff the soles of your shoes, which will keep you from slipping and sliding in your precious pumps.
6. Take Your Time
There’s no need to rush. Balance is important when walking in heels, and walking too fast will only throw it off. So take your time. You should look like you’re floating down the street, not trying to drill holes into the sidewalk with your heels.
7. Walk to a Beat
If you’re constantly monitoring how your feet hit the ground, you’re bound to trip up. To encourage a graceful walk, try walking to the beat of your favorite song. Not only does this help you keep a steady pace, but playing a soundtrack in your head can make you feel like a runway model. Win win.
8. Add Some Support
There are dozens of over-the-counter arch and ball supports for your feet, and American Podiatric Medical Association recommends slipping one into your favorite pair of heels to prevent injury or pain.
9. Find the Right Heel for You
Don’t assume that to rock a great pair of heels you have to pick the highest pair. Go with a two-inch heel if it means you’ll feel more balanced, comfortable, and, above all else, confident.
10. Have Good Posture
If you find yourself stumbling in heels and notice that you spend most of your walk slumped forward or looking down, you can blame your bad posture. Because heels can pitch your weight forward, you’ll need to engage your abs, stand up straight, and relax your hips and knees for a graceful strut.
Practice really does make perfect, especially when it comes to your strutt. Rather than taking your heels out for a whole day of walking, wear them a little longer each day. And don’t forget to test them out on a variety of surfaces like carpet, hardwoods, tile, and even the great outdoors.