A great pair of heels elevates any outfit. It enhances your style and attractiveness and also makes you feel more confident at any age. But sometimes the pain caused by an uncomfortable pair just isn’t worth it.
According to an American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) survey, the higher the heel is, the more probability that muscular imbalances are occurring while walking in the shoes, causing leg and foot muscles to work too hard. These imbalances can lead to problems such as knee pain, heel pain and hammertoes. Not even mentioning the chances of getting blisters or painful calluses.
Your best bet? Choosing the best styles that fit the shape of your foot.
That doesn’t mean at midlife you should only rely on platforms or chunky heels. There’s always room for a good pair of stilettos in any woman’s wardrobe. In fact, slipping into sensible shoes once a lady reaches a certain age is not an option these days. Fabulous over-50s such as Helen Mirren, Kim Katrall and Jane Fonda show us a pair of high heels are still a woman’s best friend.
How to wear high heels like a pro
The key is to take into account some podiatrists’ and orthopaedics basic recommendations. As a rule of thumb, you should opt for extra padding in the insole and an all-over thicker sole, a heel base that isn’t too thin (the wider the base, the more comfortable the shoe) and a maximum height of three inches (Kitten heels are good-looking and foot-friendly).
If you don’t want to give up your high heels, there are things you can do to relieve the pain. Here are more suggestions.
Pay attention to the fit
It’s better to choose a size bigger than yours. It will allow you to place silicon layers inside the shoes that will increase their comfort level. This simple trick ensures that the shoe fits snugly but stays on the foot and does not restrict blood circulation.
In fact, many Hollywood stars deliberately choose to grace the red carpet wearing heels that are too long or too wide for them. They just know a simple secret: by doing so, they will prevent their feet from swelling and forming blisters.
Also, by buying high heels that provide optimum space for your toes you will prevent cramps. To be comfortable for all-day wear, the toe-box of your heels need to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your feet swelling at the end of a long day. If they tend to be on the wider side, pick round or almond toes heels over pointy ones.
Check the heel placement and thickness
To choose comfortable shoes, you need to pay attention to the distance between the heel and the sole. The higher the heel is, the shorter the distance will be. A distance of 6 cm is considered safe — it makes feet stand correctly with maximum steadiness. Also, when buying your new glamourous pair of shoes, check the position of the heel — it shouldn’t be “curved” — turned outward or inward. If it is, these shoes will cause too many issues when wearing them and will break down really fast too.
It’s also important to understand that the slope of the shoe is more important than heel height when it comes to comfort – says Dr Sajid A. Surve, co-director of the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health and an associate professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine-. Look for a platform sole to decrease the angle between the heel and the ball of the foot, so your weight can be more distributed across the entire foot. A thicker heel also spreads your weight more evenly and decreases the risk of spraining your ankle
Walk on them
In order to understand how comfortable a pair of high heels is for you, you should always have a walk. Go forward and backwards and even sideways. Try walking on different surfaces too, like carpets and then a bare surface inside the store.
Also, remember that the right time to try and buy a pair of stilettos is in the late afternoon when your feet will be at their largest. They expand and are usually a little bit bigger and swollen at the end of the day.
In case you have an upcoming event that requires a pair of new heels, give yourself time to purchase and wear them a few times before the big day. Nothing works to make a shoe more comfortable than simply breaking it in.
Go for genuine leather
Genuine leather and suede shoes offer many benefits. They are not only elegant, breathable and durable, but your feet and aesthetic sense will thank you in the long run. Leather will mould to fit your foot much easier and faster, rewarding you for your efforts in breaking it in with a perfect fit you can enjoy for years to come.
Give your feet some rest
Finally, if you love going around in heels most of the time, keep a spare pair of flats in your handbag to wear while commuting or at the end of a night out: this simple step will help minimize the time your feet spend in heels without interfering too much with your overall look.