From Prada to Jimmy Choos, the perfect pair of heels can make any outfit. But looking fabulous can cost you. Heels have a well-earned reputation for being both uncomfortable and notoriously bad for foot health. Fashion footwear icon, Christian Louboutin famously said, "I would hate for someone to look at my shoes and say, 'Oh my God, they look so comfortable!'"
Heels contort the feet and throw off your body's allocation of weight, taking their toll on your feet, ankles, knees, hips, spine and posture. But nothing takes the place of looking like you’re ready for the red carpet, so this is definitely a problem that’s here to stay…
Whether you wear high heels for special occasions or every day, here are three ways to make them more comfortable:
- Wear the right pair. If you like wearing heels, make sure that you buy a pair that fits properly. Remember, what feels snug in the store may be unbearably tight when your feet swell. Consider choosing a pair made of leather. Leather is flexible and molds to your foot shape the more you wear them. We all have our favorite comfortable "go-to" pairs of heels that we always wear, no matter how worn out they are. Gradually break your shoes in at home so that they're more comfortable to wear on your big night out.
Pre-treat your feet. If your feet always hurt in the same place when you wear heels, prevent or minimize pain by pre-treating your feet with a topical analgesic. Marathon runners prepare for twenty-six mile runs in the same way. Use a product that loosens the joints and muscles, rather than one that simply masks the pain. You can also use soothing products to treat your feet at the end of a long evening if they're aching.
- Add padding. Everyone's feet are different, and we all experience pain in different places. Use gel pads under the ball of the foot to absorb the pressure on that area or to compensate for fat lost at the bottom of the foot due to aging. You can also pad the arch or heel area of your foot. Special padding can be used to protect hammertoes and toes prone to developing corns and blisters. Before you buy a new pair of heels, try them on with the padding to ensure they fit properly.
For optimal foot health, remember -- like chocolate and wine, heels should be used in moderation. If your favorite outfit isn't complete without the perfect pair of heels, or you need to make a spectacular entrance for a special occasion, don’t fret! Try one or more of these strategies to make your heel experience more comfortable. Sometimes a few small changes can make all the difference!