When Marilyn Monroe said: “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world,” we’re fairly certain she was talking about heels. High heels can be a girl’s best friend—helping you to stand up taller, look slimmer, and feel more confident. High heels are appropriate for many formal occasions, and are a great addition to an outfit, but they can become uncomfortable or painful if they are the wrong size, too tall, or rubbing uncomfortably against your feet. Like learning any new skill, mastering the art of walking in high heels takes patience, practice, and a few practical measures. For instance, it’s pretty important to make sure that you’re wearing the proper size shoe. It seems obvious, but a lot of women end up wearing smaller shoe size! Other factors for wearing the heels are discussed as:
- Size Matters. First and foremost, you want to make sure your heels (or any shoe, for that matter) are the proper size. If they’re too big, your foot will slide around awkwardly. Too small and your foot will feel cramped, which will make walking a pain — literally and figuratively. For the best fit, get your foot sized frequently.
- Try on plenty of shoes. Try on a wide variety of heels at the shoe store, and try each one in a couple of different sizes to see which one feels best.
- Don’t just stand up in the heels, but walk around the store for several minutes to see what they feel like after some time.
- Look out for the backs rubbing against your heels or for your toes feeling scrunched inside as an indication that the heels are too small, or your feet popping out of the backs or sliding forward when you walk as an indication they are too large.
- Consider a lower or more comfortable style. Choose a thicker and more stable heel like a platform, wedge, or chunky heel to provide more support and weight distribution. Shy away from pointed-toe styles if you have wide feet or toes, opting for round or almond-shaped instead. You can also buy heeled boots or heels with ankle straps to help support your ankles.
- Be Conscious of the Rest of Your Body. Engage your abs — this gives you poise and control. Walk heel to toe, which transfers impact to the leg instead of the ball of the foot.
- Take smaller steps. Walking in the highest heels isn’t like the walking you learned to do when you were a child, so you have to do a few things that might feel counterintuitive: Take small, slow steps, making sure not to bend your knees any more than you normally would. You’ll notice that high heels tend to shorten your stride a bit. The taller the heel, the shorter the stride ends up being.
- Improve your posture. Walking well in heels is very dependent on maintaining good posture. If you’re slouching and shuffling as you walk, it kind of defeats the purpose of wearing high heels in the first place—the aim is to look comfortable and confident!
- Invest in quality heels. Choose high-quality brands or materials for a higher likelihood of comfort. Look out for genuine leather, solid rubber soles, and other sturdy textiles that appear to have well-constructed seams and joints.
- Use cushions and insoles. Add cushioning wherever there’s a lot of pressure and/or friction. If your shoes are slightly too big and you find them slipping off your heel, get some insoles which can make the shoes smaller by half a size, while also adding comfort value.
- Simply reduce the amount of time in heels. Limit the period of time you wear heels to a minimum, as best you can. Instead of wearing heels through the whole day, try wearing a flat during work and save the heels for going out at night.