I LOVE wearing high heels! Sure, it’s a pain to wear them for long hours, but the added ‘oomph!‘ it gives to my outfit, walk, frame, and confidence is something that I always welcome! So in short: I still enjoy them. It’s fun to wear anyways! (Cue: tiis ganda!)
I’ve worn high heels ever since I was young, mainly because I was involved in dances (hello, ballroom dancing with a 5-inch high heel!), contests, and runway shows. Therefore, I can confidently say that I’m well-accustomed to wearing sky-high heels and can even withstand them for long hours. But I can understand how some people still find it hard to walk with such shoes on; so, with this post, I hope I can help give you tips on how to wear them with comfort (without as much pain) and I’ll even throw in some few style tips!
#1 – Watch Your Size
Well of course this is ‘common knowledge’ but I just want to stress how important it is. When shopping for high heels, try on as many (AS MANY!) shoes as you want, wear/walk in them for a while, and try all different sizes so you’ll know which pair fits you best.
Get something too big and your feet will awkwardly slide around while walking (it will definitely give you sore feet in minutes). Get something too small or tight-fitting and your feet will be cramped (blisters will also form ASAP).
#2 – ‘Break In’ Your New Heels First
Once you find the perfect high heel pair, it’s best to ‘break in’ these new shoes before taking them ‘out’. You can try wearing them while you’re at home every day (doing the dishes, etc.). Take them off once it starts to hurt and then repeat after some time so that the material can stretch a bit more to accommodate the shape and size of your feet.
Otherwise, you can try wearing thick socks while wearing the heels and then blow-drying it warm with a hair blow dryer for a couple of minutes (rest and repeat) to make the shoes expand even more.
#3 – Put in Some ‘Cushion’
After doing #2, you will find out what specific parts of your feet will feel pain or ‘rubbing’. Once you identify those areas, you can buy and apply shoe gel paddings or inserts. Other than giving you more comfort, it will hold your feet steadier too so you’ll avoid sliding, friction, and blisters.
(Most of the time the areas that need attention are the balls of your feet and your ankle.)
A HELPFUL TIP: Using a nude medical tape or Scotch tape, tape together your 3rd & 4th toes (counting from the big toe). This is to alleviate pain in the balls of your feet; apparently, taping it together removes strain on the nerve that splits between those two toes (that nerve usually causes pain when you put pressure on it especially when wearing heels).
#4 – Check the Soles
Most new shoes will have smooth soles and that’s an alarming thing especially if you decide to use heels on a slippery floor. This is why it’s always a good precaution to prep the soles of your shoes—simply scratch the bottom of your shoes with sandpaper to give them a little scruff and friction.
#5 – Start Small if You’re a First-Timer
If it’s the first time that you’re going to wear heels, don’t immediately buy and wear 5-inch stilettos! That’s a recipe for disaster (and injury)! What you should rather do is to first practice and wear kitten heels which are usually 2 to 3 inches from the ground. And then, once you get used to that height, you can eventually work your way up to 4 and 5 inches.
If you’re looking for chic 2-3 inch high heels, I personally love the selections from Zalora Philippines (2 examples below):
#6 – Practice Walking in Heels
Practice, practice, practice! That will help make you more accustomed to wearing such type of shoes. Some tips:
- Walk from heel to toe. NOT from toe to heel—that looks a bit weird.
- Find a straight line and use it as a basis for walking. It’s nicer to put one foot over the other when wearing heels to give a slight illusion of swaying hips (think of models on the runway, think of walking to a beat to give some ‘spring’ to your steps; BUT, don’t overdo it! Or else it will look too unnatural and forced.)
- Relax your hips and knees. Make sure that when you take a step, you should slightly straighten and extend your leg.
- Wearing heels would naturally make your strides shorter so don’t expect to walk fast as you normally do. Take your time.
Practice walking on different grounds too:
- Grass: Usually, the heels (especially if it’s pointed like a stiletto) will sink in to the soil. To prevent that from happening, try to keep your weight on your toes.
- Cobble/brick stone floors or uneven flooring: This poses a risk to tripping, so it’s always best to wear a thicker heel or a wedge one. It also helps to look at the floor from time to time as you walk.
- Tiles or slippery floors: If you’ve followed #4 above, you should have this covered to avoid slipping down on the floor. It also helps to observe smaller strides; too large steps, and down you might go.
- Stairs: Use the handrail. Now, it depends on you if you want to walk up/down the stairs straight or sideways; since I have big feet, I usually go down the stairs in a diagonal fashion to easily go down the stairs without toppling over.
#7 – Sit Whenever You Can + Bring a Pair of Flats
Whenever and wherever—try to sit for as much as you could so as to lessen the strain on your legs and feet. And of course, if you know that it’s going to be a long night, pack a pair of flats to give your feet some rest after everything is done with.
#8 – For Those with Short Legs
- Avoid ankle straps, T-straps, or anything with too much straps: these kinds of heels visually make it appear that your leg has been cut off shorter; so, avoid these ones if you want to make your legs appear more elongated.
- Avoid thick or chunky heels (wedges): these help you balance, but they don’t flatter your legs at all since it will make you appear even shorter and your legs, thicker.
- Avoid sky-high stilettos: it will make you look out of proportion and it makes your calf muscle flex more. This will make your legs look less slender. If you want to wear stilettos or high-heeled ones, opt for those that are four inches or less.
- Go for open-toed, peep-toe, or pointed heels (but avoid square-toed heels): they expose more skin and make your legs appear longer. Pointed heels even make your foot look longer.
- For colors, nude is good: since it blends with your skin tone, it tricks the eyes in noticing where the heels even begin or end, making it appear that your legs are lengthened.
#9 – For Those with Wide or Large Feet
- Avoid strappy heels as well: much like those with short legs, strappy heels is a no-no for you. It will put too much emphasis on your ankles and then to your feet, making them look larger. (Usually, those who have long legs and small feet are the best fit for strappy shoes). But if you really want to buy a strappy heel, opt for those that have few notably wide straps to hide most of your feet; if you want a thinned-strap one, pick those that have many small straps than those that only have a few. As always, make sure that when fitting these kinds of heels, you should check that no part of your feet’s skin looks like it’s being squeezed out since it will make it seem that your feet is trying to burst through.
- Avoid pointed and open-toed heels: remember that these kind of shoes help elongate the legs and the feet, so if you have wide feet, it’s best to avoid them. Opt for square-toed, oval or round-tipped heels. Besides, if you wear those peep-toe heels, it will give the illusion that your feet are trying to squeeze out/in.
- Go for chunky/thick heels and wedges: it’s still okay to wear stilettos, but often times, if you have a large size (which means you’ll wear a large-looking shoe), the heel can look too tiny and overwhelmed which put more focus on your feet.
- Go for dark colors: because dark colors usually make your look slimmer. (Other colors are still fine.) Nude is a hit or miss though, because sometimes because of how it can blend to your skin, it might highlight even more the size of your feet.
- Go for a decorated high heel: accents and embellishments on heels actually help distract others from noticing your wide foot. But of course, stick to single-detail accents (like a large bow, or a buckled shoe).
- For boots, go for ankle boots: or any kind of boots for that matter, as long as they are a bit high-heeled because that will help elevate the feet, reduces its perceived ‘wideness’, and covers up most of your foot.
#10 – For Those with Short Legs + Wide/Large Feet
Just mix the #8 and #9 guidelines above! ;)
I can go on and discuss further the best pairings for heels with dresses or clothes, but I guess I’ll leave that for another post. Nevertheless, I hope this post helped give you an idea for style & comfort with your high heels.
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Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.
My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel too (no matter the odds), and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel guides, adventures, resources, tips, and MORE!
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