How can you make high heels more comfortable?

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I have to wear heels every day at work, and find them incredibly uncomfortable. Are there any ways to make these shoes less painful to wear on a regular basis?

  1. Speaking as someone who yearns to look stylish, but can’t walk in painful high heels, I really appreciate this question!

    Size first

    My first advice is to simply buy the right size — and understand that your size can change as you get older, have babies, or gain or lose weight.

    Consider having your feet measured every time you buy shoes, there’s a thumb’s width between your longest toe and the front of the shoe, to give your toes room to move. For heels, this means you may need to go up a size to get a comfortable fit.

    Toe tips

    Black high heel shoesPersonally, I try to stick to round-toed heels. While pointy toes can be super sexy, they can wrench your big toe inward, causing joint pain, crunched toes, and even the beginnings of bunions. Meanwhile, round toes allow your toes to lie flat and spread out naturally, which makes for much more comfort. And if you can’t swear off your pointy toes completely? Have some round-toed shoes to alternate with the pointy ones.

    Also, sometimes the toe isn’t the problem — it’s the width of the shoe itself. If you have wide feet, medium-width shoes will feel uncomfortable. When you find a pair of shoes you love, see if they come in a wide width — but if not, a shoemaker can usually stretch the shoes to widen the toe box, enhancing the comfort of the shoe.

    Cushion your tootsies

    The secret to survival is good cushioning — and it’s super likely your shoe doesn’t come with enough. If your shoes don’t have ample padding, consider adding some with a shoe insert. A brand called Foot Petals makes Tip Toes, a flower-shaped insert that provides great cushioning. (Dr Scholl’s offers a similar ball-of-foot cushion.)

    Trade off

    Finally, take the excuse to shop and alternate different pairs of shoes! Wearing heels for many days in a row can make your feet feel abused — switch between heels and a low-heeled pair of shoes whenever you can.

    – Aly Walansky
    A Little Alytude

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