Why you shouldn’t wear high heels (and 6 tips to make them more comfortable if you wear them anyway)

by Gio

I love high heels: they’re beautiful, feminine, sexy and make you look taller. My fascination with them began when I was a little girl but of course back then I wasn’t allowed to wear heels at all. I would sometimes play dress-up and wear my mum’s shoes around the house though, looking forward to the day when I would be old enough to leave the house in them. And when that day finally came, I experienced another feeling apart from that of excitement: pain. A lot of pain.

Walking in heels can really torture feet. So, as much as I love them, since then, I’ve been wearing heels (never more than 3.5 inches high) only when I go out in the evening or on special occasions that require a more formal attire. But for everyday, give me flats, please! They may not be as fashionable, but they’re comfy and I don’t risk to permanently damage my body when I wear them as I would if I walked around in heels all day. Here’s what wearing heels too often can do to you.

Wearing heels too often can cause permanent damage

Wearing heels regularly for long periods of time can cause long-term, irreversible damage to your body. How? High heels increase the pressure put on the balls of your feet, causing damage to your feet, legs and back. In addition, when you wear this type of shoes, your heel is raised, pushing forward your centre of gravity. As a result, you bend on your lower back, putting pressure on the nerves in that area. This can cause a condition called sciatica, which triggers pain in your legs. Pushing your body forward puts pressure in your knees too and this can lead to another painful and degenerative condition: arthritis.

High heels can also cause permanent damage to the Achilles tendon, whose job is to allow the foot to both lie flat or raise. Heels can shorten the Achilles tendon and so, when you want to wear flats, stretching it can be extremely painful. Like that weren’t enough, bad fitting shoes can cause bunions, a bony swelling that occurs at the base joint of your big toe, which is now pushed towards the other toes and is not only ugly-looking but also painful. And if your shoes are too high and you need to crumple your toes to make them fit, over a long period of time, they’ll be so damaged they’ll stay in that position forever (hammertoes)!

How to make high heels more comfortable

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wear heels at all. The problems mentioned above occur when you wear high heel daily over a very long period of time. But every now and then, you can get all dressed up and wear a nice pair of high heel shoes. It’s nice, sexy and can you make feel really good. So when you do, here’s how you can make them more comfortable and minimize the pain:

1. Choose shoes that fit perfectly: if they are too small, your toes will be squashed (don’t buy shoes if you’re not able to wriggle your toes in them!) while if they are too big, walking in them will be harder which results in more pain. Doesn’t matter how pretty the shoes are or how cheap the price is, if they don’t fit you well, they will hurt your feet so much that you’ll just end up spending money for shoes you’ll never (or very rarely) wear.

2. Opt for shoes with thicker, not too high heels: that pair of 5.5 inches stilettos may look stunning, but are you sure you’ll be able to walk in it? I’d be too scared to fall down and break a leg! But even if you manage to walk fine in very high heels, those are the type of shoes you should avoid as they are the most damaging ones. Shoes with thicker heels, instead, will make the load on your feet spread more evenly and are thus more comfortable.

3. Use cushions and gel pads: I always have some Dr Scholls’ gel pads (but of course you can use any other brand) at home so that when I decide to wear high heels, I can just stick them to their soles, making my shoes more comfortable. Of course if you walk a lot, your feet will still hurt somewhat, but the pain is greatly reduced.

4. Wear your new shows around the house: when you get a new pair of high heels, walk around the house in it for a few minutes. This will ensure your feet get used to the new shoes. It also makes shoes loosen up a bit, so they’ll be more comfortable to wear.

5. One small step at a time: my friends and I are used to walking fast, taking long steps but when I do that in high heels, my feet hurt so much. And running is completely out of the question too. Take small steps instead, your feet will hurt less.

6. Stick some flats in your bag: if your bag is big enough you can always put your favourite pair of flat shoes in it so that you can change at the end of the night (or day), giving your feet a much needed break!

Do you wear high heels often? Have you got any tips to share to make them more comfortable?

Source: Ganame/Vecteezy.com

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Nikki January 4, 2013 - 4:17 pm

Ah, thankfully, I really can’t handle walking in high heels for long so I always carry my foldable flats with me!!! I have read that wearing flats often is bad for your posture too!

beautifulwithbrains January 6, 2013 - 10:16 pm

Nikki, foldable flats are a great invention, aren’t they? I’ve heard that too, but at least they’re more comfortable and cause less problems than heels.

Icaria January 5, 2013 - 2:04 am

I rarely wear heels & when I do it’s when I know that I’ll have the opportunity to sit frequently. Still, if it’s for an entire day, I too carry flats with me. A must since I was never able to stand them in the first place. 🙂

beautifulwithbrains January 6, 2013 - 10:18 pm

Icaria, I wouldn’t wear heels if I knew I’d have to walk in them a lot either. It’s much better to wear them when you know you’ll be able to sit for most of the time indeed. 🙂

eight January 5, 2013 - 3:23 am

I only wear heels for special events. I often end up with blisters on my toes and feet from dancing and walking too much in them!

beautifulwithbrains January 6, 2013 - 10:22 pm

Eight, that happens a lot to me too and ouch! Although lately I’ve started applying vaseline on my toes and back of the feet, which reduces friction so it helps prevent blisters, at least to some extent. If you’re gonna walk in heels for hours, you’ll obviously still get blisters, but now with vaseline I’m able to wear them for longer without them causing so much pain!

Janessa January 7, 2013 - 4:15 am

I received my first pair of heels this Christmas, so no, I am not a heel-wearer! The heel was 2 and half inches and I can’t imagine 5 inch heels haha. I sometimes try on the crazy ones at stores just for laughs when my mother buys them. Good thing I rarely wear heels. My (sports-science-y) sister warned me what heels do to feet way back ago. I’ve never been a fashion gal so heels just didn’t appeal to me. Great post, Gio! 😀

beautifulwithbrains January 7, 2013 - 6:45 am

Janessa, congrats on your first pair of heels. It’s good that the heel isn’t too high. I think there are occasions for which heels are more appropriate, but they definitely shouldn’t be used too often. They cause too much problems. And I haven’t really figured out how people can walk on the really crazy high ones. I’d probably break a leg if I only dared try them on in store lol! And what a smart sister you have too! 😉


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