I love high heels: they’re beautiful, feminine, sexy and make you look taller. My fascination with them began when I was a little girl but of course back then I wasn’t allowed to wear heels at all. I would sometimes play dress-up and wear my mum’s shoes around the house though, looking forward to the day when I would be old enough to leave the house in them. And when that day finally came, I experienced another feeling apart from that of excitement: pain. A lot of pain.
Walking in heels can really torture feet. So, as much as I love them, since then, I’ve been wearing heels (never more than 3.5 inches high) only when I go out in the evening or on special occasions that require a more formal attire. But for everyday, give me flats, please! They may not be as fashionable, but they’re comfy and I don’t risk to permanently damage my body when I wear them as I would if I walked around in heels all day. Here’s what wearing heels too often can do to you.
Wearing heels too often can cause permanent damage
Wearing heels regularly for long periods of time can cause long-term, irreversible damage to your body. How? High heels increase the pressure put on the balls of your feet, causing damage to your feet, legs and back. In addition, when you wear this type of shoes, your heel is raised, pushing forward your centre of gravity. As a result, you bend on your lower back, putting pressure on the nerves in that area. This can cause a condition called sciatica, which triggers pain in your legs. Pushing your body forward puts pressure in your knees too and this can lead to another painful and degenerative condition: arthritis.
High heels can also cause permanent damage to the Achilles tendon, whose job is to allow the foot to both lie flat or raise. Heels can shorten the Achilles tendon and so, when you want to wear flats, stretching it can be extremely painful. Like that weren’t enough, bad fitting shoes can cause bunions, a bony swelling that occurs at the base joint of your big toe, which is now pushed towards the other toes and is not only ugly-looking but also painful. And if your shoes are too high and you need to crumple your toes to make them fit, over a long period of time, they’ll be so damaged they’ll stay in that position forever (hammertoes)!
How to make high heels more comfortable
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wear heels at all. The problems mentioned above occur when you wear high heel daily over a very long period of time. But every now and then, you can get all dressed up and wear a nice pair of high heel shoes. It’s nice, sexy and can you make feel really good. So when you do, here’s how you can make them more comfortable and minimize the pain:
1. Choose shoes that fit perfectly: if they are too small, your toes will be squashed (don’t buy shoes if you’re not able to wriggle your toes in them!) while if they are too big, walking in them will be harder which results in more pain. Doesn’t matter how pretty the shoes are or how cheap the price is, if they don’t fit you well, they will hurt your feet so much that you’ll just end up spending money for shoes you’ll never (or very rarely) wear.
2. Opt for shoes with thicker, not too high heels: that pair of 5.5 inches stilettos may look stunning, but are you sure you’ll be able to walk in it? I’d be too scared to fall down and break a leg! But even if you manage to walk fine in very high heels, those are the type of shoes you should avoid as they are the most damaging ones. Shoes with thicker heels, instead, will make the load on your feet spread more evenly and are thus more comfortable.
3. Use cushions and gel pads: I always have some Dr Scholls’ gel pads (but of course you can use any other brand) at home so that when I decide to wear high heels, I can just stick them to their soles, making my shoes more comfortable. Of course if you walk a lot, your feet will still hurt somewhat, but the pain is greatly reduced.
4. Wear your new shows around the house: when you get a new pair of high heels, walk around the house in it for a few minutes. This will ensure your feet get used to the new shoes. It also makes shoes loosen up a bit, so they’ll be more comfortable to wear.
5. One small step at a time: my friends and I are used to walking fast, taking long steps but when I do that in high heels, my feet hurt so much. And running is completely out of the question too. Take small steps instead, your feet will hurt less.
6. Stick some flats in your bag: if your bag is big enough you can always put your favourite pair of flat shoes in it so that you can change at the end of the night (or day), giving your feet a much needed break!
Do you wear high heels often? Have you got any tips to share to make them more comfortable?