Comfortable heels, yeah right! As a female, many of us have had nights out or events where the only reason for an early departure is the fact we can no longer stand on our burning, throbbing feet.
The glamorous image of a brand new outfit and an amazing set of heels for the Spring Racing Carnival quickly decline towards the end of the event, when our shoes end up in our hands!
We should consider ourselves lucky if Spring Racing Carnival is the only time we endure this torture. Many ladies in the retail and corporate industry have this problem for most of their working week. With comfortable heels being only a myth talked about around the office. Whether it is for professional reasons or for fashion on the field, finding comfortable heels is no easy feat.
However, it is possible to wear heels without experiencing the unbearable pain we often associate with them and we are going to tell you how!
So let’s talk about comfortable heels, and not just the ones you are considering purchasing for the races! We all should know that footwear plays a very important part in caring for our feet and in the prevention of foot complications in the short and long term.
The reason for foot pain is often due to poor fitting footwear, inadequate support and the wrong style choice for our feet.
Heel Counters for Comfortable Heels
- Firm heel counter for ankle support; heels with backings are a lot better for your feet.
- Lower heel, (anything higher that 2cm will double the pressure on the balls of the feet). Try going for a heel that has a platform under the balls of the feet, as this will make the heel incline less, or a wedge styled heel.
- Broad heels increase base of gait and thus improve stability, especially on grass or sandy surfaces!
- Beveled heels- increase surface areas and helps with balance and stability.
- High heels (>2cm’s) with a thin stiletto heel will increase forefoot pressures and increase risk of ankle sprains. They decrease range of motion and stride
- Slip on heels provide no support, they increase friction, leading to blisters, callus and burning pain.
- Open back or sling backed heels provide no ankle support or protection and will cause foot fatigue and a higher risk of ankle sprains.
Midsole/insole for Comfortable Heels
- Firm midsole to support the arches of your feet and prevent aching and fatigue.
- Padding under the balls of your feet to provide cushioning and shock absorption.
Uppers for Comfortable Heels
- Adjustable last (strap or buckle) to hold the foot in place and prevent friction, that may result in callus, blisters and that unbearable burning sensation.
- Breathable upper (leather) to stop sweat and prevent sliding within the shoe.
- The front of the shoe must be wide, long and deep enough to allow adequate room for the toes. Round heels are a lot more comfortable than points.
- Synthetic uppers, increase sweat and moisture in the shoe that can increase risk of blisters, fungal infections and ingrown toenails.
Outsole for Comfortable Heels
- Flex at ball of foot, allowing the toes to bend during walking.
- Textured pattern to allow a non-slip sole (needs to be suited to walking surface). Stiletto heels on grass are not ideal!
- Rubber sole to facilitate shock absorption and reduce pressure on the soles of the feet, while providing grip.
- No seams or obvious creases on inside of shoe that may rub and cause blisters or cuts.
Fit for Comfortable Heels
- Have shoes fitted properly. This is to be done every time you purchase a new pair of heels as sizes may vary between brands.
- When it comes to length, fit for the LONGEST toe, which may be your second toe.
- Heels should be long and wide enough for the BIGGER FOOT, the other shoe can be fitted with a heel grip or gel forefoot pad to secure.
- Loose footwear will cause instability and increase friction, as the foot will slide within the shoe.
- Similarly if shoes are too tight it will result in increased pressure and friction.
Tips for Shoe Fitting
- 2pm in the afternoon, as this is when you will have the most swelling in your feet and can pick a better fitted heel for your feet.
- Walk around the store for 20 minutes in your new heels on both feet, check for skin irritation or discomfort.
- Try shoes on with the panty hose you intend to wear with them.
- If you have fashion orthoses take them with you when fitting. Removing any existing insole first.
- REMEMBER: make the shoe fit the foot not the foot fit the shoe.
- If no help is available trace around your foot and then slip the paper inside the shoe to see if it is wide enough
- Gradually wear your shoes in around the house a few weeks leading up to the event to make sure they are comfortable.
- Expensive shoes are not necessarily good fitting shoes.
At Well Heeled Podiatry we are experienced in shoe fitting and fashion footwear advice.
Having a tidy up of your feet before the event can help alleviate a lot of unwanted foot pain, such as the removal or corns and callus, clearing of your nail edges and protective sleeves that can be fitted to your toes to stop areas of pressure and rubbing.
We have many tips for keeping your feet as pain free as possible and preventing you joining the club of barefoot walkers for the trek home!