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How to: Make High Heels More Comfortable


how to make high heels more comfortable

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.

(click to enlarge)

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.

cute funky pink band aids

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.


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!

{ 40 comments… add one }

  • Krib November 29, 2009, 3:13 am

    I never wear heels when I go to a party, it always makes me tired :/ and flats can be sexy too !

    • Renee November 30, 2009, 1:40 am

      So true! I wear flats and I love them! :)

  • Esther November 29, 2009, 5:20 pm

    LOL…finding heels is harder than finding the correct boyfriend XD Where in the world can you find a shoe size with size 3 1/2? Well if I can it’s probably going to be reaaaally hard to find/expensive =(

    So I usually end up buying the round down number instead. Not nice. My toes cramp together, I get marks of those straps on me and I probably will have to limp around for the next 20 minutes in my extra flats after wearing them(heels) when I need to, [going on stage, formal functions] other than that, I love my sport shoes and flats to bits XD Not a heel/wedge person.

    • Renee November 30, 2009, 1:42 am

      Whoa, your shoe size is 3 1/2? Your feet are tiny! My classmate had size 4 feet and we always used to compare and laugh because my feet are enormous.

      That’s great you’ve found a way to ‘deal’ with your shoes – I love sport shoes as well, I normally wear Converse and skate shoes 90% of the time. Soooo much more comfortable. :)

    • shelley July 11, 2010, 1:32 pm

      Hah! I have the opposite problem, I wear a 9.5-10 most of the time and that’s hard enough to find as well. But if you have very small feet (3 1/2?!?) you should look to vintage shoes. They’re already worn in haha (a plus!) and generally they’re in much smaller sizes cause feet were just smaller back then, especially the 40s. I work at a place called LA Vintage, lavintage.com, and we actually find pairs that are 3 1/2-4 sometimes and they’re beautiful shoes. You can look around online for vintage ones, most sellers don’t ask too much since vintage is harder to sell, and they’re totally unique, which is even better.

    • tanya February 16, 2011, 10:57 am

      WOW!!! you have small feet and beleive it or not I know someone who wears size 2!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Dan July 9, 2012, 8:27 pm

        i know someone who wears size 2 too!!

  • Tammy November 29, 2009, 8:26 pm

    This is really great advice. I’m really bad at wearing high heels. My feet start to hurt within an hour and I get really b*tchy because of the pain. All of the problems that you pointed out from wearing heels are pretty serious. I’ll stick to wearing my flats.

    • Renee November 30, 2009, 1:44 am

      Yeah, I stopped wearing heels for almost 2 years now because I suddenly got some knee/nerve muscle spasm thing. I’d wear my heels and when I take them off my toes would bend all over the place; it’s excruciating pain. When it first happened I thought I was possessed ’cause my mind and foot felt so un connected. And yeah, they really are serious; quite a big price to pay for looking a little taller. Flats can be great too :)

  • Kip November 29, 2009, 10:27 pm

    I think vanity can gives you the strength to tolerate all kinds of pain. e.g eyebrow threading for me.
    I don’t wear heels cos i’m 5’11” but my sis lives in 5″ heels.
    The fact that she looks really good in them probably soothe the pain.=P

    • Renee November 30, 2009, 1:46 am

      Haha… ‘no pain, no gain’, right? I do agree that sometimes vanity outweighs comfort … but for serious issues like back surgery due to high heels? Perhaps then it’s time to rethink the heels! haha. Ohh and I love your height! :)

      I actually really like your comment… gave me an idea for a post *evil grin*. Thanks, Kip! :)

  • Tavia November 30, 2009, 1:44 am

    Hi Renee! Your tips sound really good, definitely must try some of them. Lately I haven’t been wearing high hells.

    • Renee November 30, 2009, 1:49 am

      Hey… jinx! We commented at the same time I think :D

      Yes, def try them out and let me know how they work for you!

  • gio November 30, 2009, 6:22 am

    I love high heels but I rarely wear them cos they hurt my feet and give me blisters. Ouch! So I stick to flats. They may not be as pretty but they are soooo comfy!

    Thanks for the tips, I’ll try them next time I wear heels.

    • Renee November 30, 2009, 8:30 pm

      Oh but flats can be pretty too! Or very small heels, like 2 inches can be nice as well. :D I do agree the more better designs are for higher heels, but then you get all sorts of problems so it’s up to the consumer to decide if it’s worth it or not.

      And thanks Gio! Glad to help. :D

  • nish December 2, 2009, 7:56 pm

    I wear flats on the way to the place be it then slip on my heels, wear it for a couple of hours.. towards the end of the day i slip into my flats again..

    But recently I splurged on a gorgeous pair of flats so that I do not have to compromise on the glam department jus bcos im wearing flats! Besides.. Im a much nicer person when I wear flats. HAHA! :D

    • Renee December 3, 2009, 12:42 am

      Haha I used to do that before I ditched heels altogether!

      I am planning to get a nice pair of flats for Xmas that are gorgeous as well. Flats can be just as hot as heels, and not to mention, we are all nicer when our feet isn’t killing us! :-P

  • Cassandra December 10, 2009, 4:51 am

    Two recommendations for feeling great in heels:
    1.) Buy heels with platforms. The more arch support you have, the better you fett will feel.
    2.) Invest is some Band-Aid Blister Block Stick. It is well worth the price, I buy mine from Target for under $6. It is like a mini deodorant stick and you just rub it on when you start feeling a sore spot from the shoes. I carry mine EVERYWHERE.

  • taila March 21, 2010, 7:35 pm

    love high heels so pretty and sexy u cant wear flats with a dress

  • Amy April 23, 2010, 1:36 am

    Two Tips From a Girl That Regularly Wears 5-inch Heels:

    1. If the shoes aren’t comfortable when you try them on, they will never be comfortable. Hold out for the pair you love, and be sure that they love you back.

    2. Band-Aids, even in cute colors, scream “I’m a silly woman who lacks the common sense to wear appropriate footwear”. If you should have issues (even following Tip #1), liquid bandage is fantasic. You just paint it over the skin being roughed up, and it acts like a protective layer of second skin.

  • LCM July 22, 2010, 4:49 am

    Friction block by Bandaid is amazing, it comes as a little stick and its made out of lubricationg ingredients, other brands sell something similar as well. its really great at adding a little slide to an area where your shoe might otherwise rub and cause a blister.

  • Reginaldo Vidal September 28, 2010, 1:53 pm

    For an elegant woman is undoubtly necessary to wear high heels somtimes. I’ll try to explain here how she will suffer less, selecting a good kind of shoes.

    A.- Use a shoe that has good length and shape for you, don’t try only beautiful ones, they must be also GOOD for your foot.

    B.- In a flat shoe, your body weight is distributed over the entire base of your foot, so the pressure over the sole of your foot, will be the minimun possible, as it was constructed by the nature.

    C.- A high heel wearing is not a natural position for the foot, so there will be some things that are necessary to soft the efect of this no normal new foot position.

    D.- A not over 2” heel is accepted by the podiatrists as a heel height that is not giving problems to the foot if the shoe has the correct size, length and width, and is soft enough inside.

    E.- A shoe with a high heel ( Over 2,5”) the slanting shape of the sole is always sending a big part of your body weight towards the ball and toes of your foot, and if the shoe has not a good softness and shape there your toes will be crushed painfully.

    F.- The highest the heel is, the greatest the slanting force is, afecting your foot ball and toes, so we must try to stop this slanting force, studing the problems one by one.

    H.- The first thing to study is the foor arch. Every person has her own foot arch. .There are people that has a flat foot, that is not normal and causes medical problems, but normal people has a foot arch that may be low, or a gradually higher one. Including, if a child, before her bones are hard, has ballet studies, she may achieve a very high arch without any medical problem.

    I.- Unfortunately the standard shoes has an almost straight sole with a standard low arch, so if you have a higher foot arch, your foot heel will be seated there over a slanting surface, so a big part of your body weight will go to your foot ball and toes, causing pain there if the point of the shoe has not well design.

    J.- The ideal is to buy a made to measure shoe for your foot, but this is a too expensive solution, so you must try to find in the standard commerce an apropiated shoe with the most aproximated high arch to your foot one.

    K.- Here in the WEB you can find photos of beautiful women with very high arched feet using standard low arch shoes, undoubtly these are women in shoes exhibitions, but they aren’t wearing these kind of shoes in her dayly life unless they will suffer big aches.

    L.- But let’s study how can we stop a big part of the slanting force going to afect strongly the ball of your foot, and crushes your toes.

    M.- For the ball of your foot there are in the commerce some pieces of soft pads with the shape of your foot ball, this device spreads over all of the ball surface the slanting force, not only over the most fat parts of it, this spreads the whole force over a bigger surface, making fall the pressure on it. Take care with the place necesary to put this pad inside your point foot box, it must be bigger than your common shoes.not to crush your toes inside.

    N.- For the slanting force in general, caused by a very high heel, 4” or plus, it is necesary to stop it before arriving to the point of the shoe. The only place to do this, is between your arch and your instep, so you must buy a shoe able to do this efect. This is the reason of the great popularity of the boots, used in any season, instead of many beautuful shapes that are noy doing this job.

    O.- So for this purpose the best very high heeled shoes are; Boots, Oxfords, Booties, and Pumps, but in this case, only with wide and thight straps over the instep. All of them strongly tighted to your foot over your instep, Never sandals or slingback shoes.

    P.- With this kind of shoes you can increase your heel height without big problems, up to 5″ or more. I hope you may commemt these ideas to me, reginaldovidal(a)ymail.com

  • Sarah October 22, 2010, 1:56 am

    I’m not the best heel wearer either… I remember walking bare foot around town on my first few ‘big nights out’… wasn’t a good idea and thank god I never got broken glass in my feet!
    Now days, if I must wear heels for a long time, I try to go with wedges. There just seems to be more support, and you get the height effect with less of the tippy toe feeling… And of course, flip-flops are always my back up now haha!

  • Bianca October 26, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Do you know by any chance the brand of the shoes in the above picture? They’re beyond gorgeous.

  • Helen@Baby Shoes November 3, 2010, 10:41 pm

    I always wear heels. I don’t feel comfortable in flats. However, in the day I try to stick to boots which give your foot a bit more support.

  • ansley August 25, 2011, 4:18 am

    i used to wear heals in sixth grade and one time my foot was bleedingg! and they werent big heels. then i stopped wearing them for a while. now im back in them! but they r bigger heals. i have w pairs of the same shoe but one is red and the othee is tan/beige. i wore the beige shoes to school today and im in alot of pain. there is alot of pressure on my big toe and idk why. i even put a band aid on them before i put the shoes on and it made a little difference. but not much. for some reason they feel like they r a little small for me but i have the same pair in red and those arent bad. i was wondering if anyone had any tips? i do wear the doctor sholls for heels and they r wonderful. but my toes r hurting! i wish i could find something thin to put in them where my toes r. cotton balls dont really work. maybe because the heels r high that might be y there is pressure on my toes? idk please help!

  • Nida Arraf August 29, 2011, 9:41 pm


    Try and put Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly) in your shoes. Rub it inside the shoe in the area that hurts the most. Works great for me and makes wearing high heels that much more bearable. :)

  • Chloe September 3, 2011, 2:24 am

    I myself am a size 3 in flats and 4-5 in heels so its hard to find, last night i was out for 6 hours clubbin it!
    My feet are now in so much pain! The heels i were wearing were 6 inch platforms! This information on how to help your feet recover is great, Thankyou i can breath a sigh of releaf!

    • Nida Arraf September 3, 2011, 2:29 am

      You are more than welcome. Glad to help. I am trying out different ways to wear them comfortably, the moment I come up with something more comfy I will post it here.

  • Evienereal November 5, 2011, 4:21 pm

    I have size 7 feet but I’m a sucker for ballet flats, so I rarely ever wear heels. However, much like wearing heels too much, flat shoes are also bad, and I had to learn it the hard way. I currently suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, where the heel currently suffers from inflammation, and swells up, making it painful to walk. Its even worse when you take your first steps in the morning. To aid this, I wear walking sandals with 1 to 2 inch heels. I walk alot to and back from work, and because I’m not used to heels, I pamper them with a few tricks.

    Fill up a tub with hot water, and throw in a 2 teabags of black tea, and let it brew. When its a cooling down to being warm, soak your feet in for about 15 minutes. Tea helps absorb bacteria and dirt. After 15 minutes, throw in a few drops of tea tree oil to help calm the feet. You can also use peppermint oil as it has cooling properties.
    To make your own peppermint oil, get a big load of peppermint leaves, some vegetable oil and a dark, opaque bottle. Fill the bottle with oil, and throw in as much leaves. Then, cover the bottle tightly and store in a cool dark place for a few months. It takes a while, but making your own oils are great. And they also make great gifts. :)

    Another home remedy to beautify your feet is with exfoliating. Good scrubs are expensive, but homemade scrubs are best because there are no chemicals, affordable and because its mild, you can use it anytime! Here’s a recipe of mine.

    You’ll need coarse sugar, a few table spoons of rolled oats (unprocessed. Avoid instant oats), some honey or maple syrup, orange zest, some salt, tea tree oil/peppermint oil and a few drops of lemon juice. In a chilled bowl, mix the ingredients together with spatula, and when its mixed well, store it in a steel container, and refrigerate. Use as much as you want. I use as my own body scrub. :)
    Feel free to add a few drops of vitamin e oil too! )

  • lauren June 4, 2012, 3:23 am

    hey was wonding if i get this pair of shoes could i wear them every day without them hurting me http://www.everything5pounds.com/product_info.php?products_id=7139{3}21884{1}274

  • nonamegirl June 8, 2012, 6:50 pm

    I wear heels everyday because flats hurt my soles, but I do try to stick with thick heels or wedges for maximum comfort. Thank you for the tips for pampering feet; I think mine are long overdue for getting spoiled!

  • Maria Ines Rivero July 28, 2012, 6:45 am

    Really nice article, love the picture in your post

  • josselyn October 4, 2012, 8:36 am

    hi , i bought these new heels , im 14 almost fifteen in 4 months , i know how to properly walk in really high heels , and i love them . the only problem is i feel like my toe that comes before my pinkie is getting crushed , i feel my weight on only that finger , and it really hurts , i dont know if its just the type of heel or what . please help ?

  • tuddles January 20, 2013, 7:39 pm

    I bought a heels for an awarding at our office. I suffer from pain at my metatarsalgia. what can i do to avoid feel discomfort on that area cause its such a waste if am not going to wear them again though it’s cheap.

  • lee April 8, 2013, 9:15 am

    In majority of my shoes I wear a size 8 some sandals size 7! But I just recently bought a size 8 wedge and my toes really feel squashed and in pain when I wear them! I love the shoes and I want to wear them when I go out this weekend so I’ve beem trying to break into them!

  • Gloria September 16, 2013, 1:21 am

    Best thing to add to high heels for extra comfort is a pair of soft, comfy flat socks by SummerSox. These flat, no-show socks stick to insoles to line shoes with comfort. You can wear them without socks/stockings in the warm weather and they keep feet dry and comfortable (plus they are removable/machine washable so you can take daily sweat/bacteria out of shoes). Then when the temperature drops and stockings/dress socks go on, they work as a great second layer in your shoes to keep feet a bit warmer and help keep feet from slipping on shoe insoles (those dress socks can be slippery on our leather shoes insoles). They also work great in those back-up flats you carry since they can be removed easily from your heels and placed in other shoes. You can find them on sale at http://www.summersox.com

  • Ash November 26, 2013, 12:59 pm

    Great article! I don’t wear flats when I go out clubbing, as they seem to hurt my feet more than wearing high heels. Maybe it’s because the flats I own have no padding and there’s lots of dancing when I go out.
    But I feel sexier when I wear high heels when I go out, they just spice up every outfit.
    Today I was trying on different pairs if heels I own and comparing them. As someone stated, a platform is better. Especially when your feet aren’t on too much of an angle. The platform kind of even outs the angle your feet are on so it reduces the pressure. You may be more taller, so just make sure you can walk in heels properly before buying platforms!

  • FELL ON ICE January 25, 2014, 4:31 pm

    I love the shoes and I want to wear them when I go out this weekend so I’ve beem trying to break into them!

  • Lydia March 17, 2014, 12:14 pm

    Hey I absolutely love the shoes in the header of this post, what are they called or where could I purchase them? Great post!

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