Regardless of how much you love your heels, there's no denying their design was not meant for function. We've all experienced those painful episodes where our feet feel like they're on fire. So is there any way to avoid this, or can we at least minimise the less than desirable effects our favourite footwear inflict upon us? I'm pleased to announce there is so let's take a look at my top 10 ways to avoid the pain of wearing heels.
1. Buy the right size shoe
It’s seems obvious right, but so many people purchase the wrong size shoes. Whether it’s because they’re not sure of their correct shoe size, they’re confused about international shoe size conversions or they’re simply unaware that some brands run small or large. If you’re in doubt about any of these you can find more information in my blog posts “If the shoe fits” for how to measure your feet for the correct size shoe or “How to convert your shoe size” for the Stacey Rose Ladies Shoe Conversion Chart to ensure you’re buying the right size shoe for your foot.
2. Consider thicker and shorter heels
The thicker and shorter the heel the more stability you’ll find you have. This will also minimise the risk of rolling your ankles which can occur in thinner, higher heels such as stilettos. If you’re worried about the burning sensation you may feel under the ball of your foot, shorter heels will reduce the pressure placed on this area which should minimising this type of pain.
3. Take regular breaks
When Nancy Sinatra sang “These shoes were made for walking” she wasn’t referring to your heels! Try to avoid standing or walking in your heels for long periods of time. If you get a change to sit down, take it.
4. Avoid thin soles
The thinner the sole the less protection you’ll have for the ball of your foot. You’ll find you’re able to stand for longer periods of time in platform heels than you can in thin sole stilettos. While it isn’t always possible to choose a platform to match your outfit try and make a conscious decision if you know you’ll be on your feet for longer periods of time.
5. Cushions are key
Thank goodness for Ball of Foot Cushions. These wonderful pillows are designed to be placed on the inside of your shoe where the ball of your foot rests. The gel technology provides comfort and support while reducing the burning sensation you may feel due to being on your feet for extended periods of time. The adhesive backing also helps to reduce the cushion slipping in your shoe.
Another wonderful accessory you may want to consider is a Heel Shield. Similar to Ball of Foot Cushions, Heel Shields are placed on the inside heel of your shoe and can be used to either prevent rubbing or your shoe slipping if they are a little too large. You may also want to invest in Gel Spot Cushions which can be used anywhere on the inside of your shoe that's causing irritation or rubbing.
For those requiring arch support or just an extra layer of cushioning you may want to consider insoles. Unfortunately insoles are not designed for all shoe types so you’ll need to do a bit of investigating or speak to your Podiatrist before use.
7. Tape your toes
I can’t say I’ve personally tried this approach but from what I’ve read it seems to work. Don’t ask me how but apparently taping the third and fourth toes together (your big toe being the first toe) reduces the pain felt while wearing heels. People claim to have increased balance (meaning less wobbles) along with less aches, pains and swelling. I might have to give this one a go the next time I head to the races!
8. Leather will stretch
If you’ve bought a pair of shoes that are genuine leather the great news is they will stretch, this will however take time. To hasten the process you can purchase leather stretching spray for your shoes. The bad news is that even the most renowned designers don’t always use genuine leather in their gorgeous creations.
9. Deodorant avoids chaffing
Believe it or not deodorant has more uses then just keeping us fresh. By applying deodorant to the back and sides of your feet you can avoid the pain of blisters…who knew!
10. Carry Ballet Flats
A top tip for keeping your feet fresh and your heels new is to carry a pair of ballet flats in your handbag. They’re pint size make then easy to cart around enabling you to whip them out when you need them most. For the sake of your feet and your beloved heels, avoid walking any great distance in them.
Well I hope this gives you a few helpful hints for avoiding the pain of wearing heels.
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