It’s believed that the way your feet feel determines the well being of your whole body. And with aches, corns, blisters, muscle spasms, calluses, bunions and er… general pain, heels can be one heck of mood spoiler. Think about it; if your heels are killing you and your feet feel like it’s about to fall off, you don’t feel that great and your party night (and not to mention your mood) is ruined.
(I am now having flash backs of sitting at the curb of the road, the ball of my right foot going into spasms as the poor boy next to me tries to calm me down. Later, he has to CARRY me to the cabstand and send me home … Oh, and in case you didn’t know – people like to laugh at other’s misery. Not fun.)
How to pick out the right pair of heels
First and foremost, and it goes without saying: it’s important you find a pair of heels that actually fit. It doesn’t matter how cheap they were or how gorgeous they are, buying just one size too small or too big is a big no-no. Buying a smaller size leads to pain, pain and more pain, while a bigger size makes you walk around like you’re playing dress up in mommy’s shoes; which, makes you use all sorts of other muscles in the foot, which … you guessed it, equals more pain.
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Oh, the trials of being a woman! :( If your shoes tend to ‘slip’ to the front, you can try this hairspray trick I wrote about recently. I also found this fantastic image (click to enlarge) to give you more information on all the downsides of wearing heels.
These are some more general tips on buying the right pair of heels:
- If you can, avoid pointed shoes. They squeeze your toes together and can create bunions and injuries such as Morton’s Neuroma. A good way to see if your toes have enough room is that you should be able to wiggle your toes without problems.
- Buy shoes that allow your feet to ‘breathe’ – avoid plastics that are uncomfortable and allow your foot to stay cool. Leather is said to be the best.
- Try to avoid kitten heels where the heel is very thin. This puts unbelievable pressure to your knees and the ball of your feet.
- Buy shoes at the end of the day, as your feet expands throughout the day.
- The ideal heel height is 1-1.5 inches.
How to make your heels more comfortable
Here are some tried-and-tested tips on making your heels the most comfortable possible on your night out.
Get backup flats. Bring a pair of flip-flops or your favorite flats in your bag. That is, if your bag is big enough to fit them in. I used to do this; once the ‘night’ was done with and I’m just left with my friends, I switched my shoes and actually start to enjoy myself and my feet could relax.
Cushion up. Many fashionable heels don’t necessary have any padding – no pain, no gain I suppose? It doesn’t mean you have to suffer though; there are many gel pads and cushions inserts available today. You simply stick them to the sole of your shoes. Dr. Scholl’s make excellent ones for every type of shoe and concern.
Season them. If you bought new shoes for this new season, wear them around the house a bit to ‘loosen’ them up a bit. I think everyone can relate to wearing new shoes the very same day of buying them and having painful blisters.
Band-aid galore. Carry a few band-aids in your wallet, just in case an uninvited blister decides to show up – or make a fashion statement and wear crazy colored, zebra patterned ones, they are sure to spice up any shoes!
Baby steps. As in, take smaller steps so there is less pressure on your foot. Long strides create extra weight each time you take a step, which speeds up the chances of aches and pains. And please, no running in heels. Ouch.
Limit yourself. Don’t wear heels everyday, unless you want to have procedures in the future such as correcting bunions, ingrown toenails, replace worn out toe-joints, knee or back surgery. Limit yourself to two hours at a party and then slip on your flats for the rest of the night – don’t worry about not looking tall enough or something ridiculous; you wouldn’t want to risk having all sorts of problems just to look a few inches taller, would you? Also, try sitting down for intervals if your shoes are starting to wear you down.
Pamper them! End your night with a warm foot bath. Fill a tub full of warm water and just relax and soak your feet, massaging them gently. You can even add a bit of milk to your mixture; I hear it is very soothing for aching muscles.
Moisturize. To end, moisturize your feet before sleeping, further massaging them. All that stiff movement in your heels can lead to dry, rough heels and dry lines all over your foot. Moisturize your foot and if you want to take it a step further; after moisturizing, wear socks to sleep to really let your foot ‘drink’ in the moisture and recover from all that pain.
In conclusion; please take care of your feet. I know heels are sexy and everybody loves them, but if you’re going to be miserable and in pain the whole night, there’s no real point, is there? Shouldn’t you enjoy your night instead of worrying about your feet? Not to mention all the other complications heels can start up. Don’t risk it! Take care of your feet and limit the heels, no matter how beautiful they are.
And, as always, I love hearing from you – feel free to add in your own tips on heels – how do you survive a night in them? What do you do to make your heels more comfortable? The more tips, the better!