Tips & Tricks: How To Make High Heels More Comfortable | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

12 October, 2015

Tips & Tricks: How To Make High Heels More Comfortable

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Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ByeByeBlisters #CollectiveBias

Fashion-wise, I think my favorite season is fall. I love being able to cozy up in flannel and boots without being so cold that I have to bundle up in puffy outerwear that makes me look like a marshmallow—plus fall colors are fun. I haven't been super into all things Marsala this year, but I just bought an inexpensive pair of heels in the color and I'm really digging them. Problem is, getting used to a new pair of heels can be a bit uncomfortable—but I want to wear them NOW! Luckily I have a few tricks up my sleeve (or I guess my pants leg?) for making high heels more comfortable to wear as soon as possible—and today I'll be sharing them with you.


MAKE SURE YOU'RE BUYING THE RIGHT SIZE
This may sound like a no-brainer, but wearing shoes that don't fit properly can lead to serious foot pain. Thing is, your feet can change size even well into adulthood—pregnancy, weight gain and even just aging can cause feet to spread, so it's a good idea to re-measure every few years. (My feet are half a size bigger than they were 10 years ago!) The easiest way to do this is to visit a local shoe store and get sized, but if that's not possible, you can get a good idea by following this method:

  • Tape a piece of blank paper to the floor (wearing socks if you're measuring for shoes you would wear socks with)
  • Trace an outline of your foot onto the paper with a pencil, drawing as closely as possible
  • Measure the number of inches (or cm) from the tippy top of your longest toe to your heel to find the length of your foot. Do not round up—use as close a measurement as possible (e.g. use sixteenths of inches)
  • Measure the widest part of your foot in a similar fashion.
  • Subtract 3/16 of an each from each measurement (to account for the pencil outline)—this is your approximate foot measurement and width!
  • Repeat the process with your other foot. Feet can vary in size, so it's best to ensure you're getting a size that will accommodate both of them.
  • Once you have all your measurements, compare them to the sizing charts of the shoe company you wish to buy from in order to determine your closest size.

Of course measurements don't always tell the whole story—sometimes shoes pinch or have arches that don't quite work with your foot shape, so if you plan on buying online, be sure to choose a shop with a flexible return and exchange policy! I actually bought my Marsala shoes online and the first pair I got turned out to be half a size too big, but I was able to swap them with minimal fuss because I checked out the store's policies ahead of time.


STRETCH 'EM
My biggest issue with new heels is that they almost always tend to be very tight in the back, requiring a bit of stretching and "breaking in" before they're fully comfortable. If you're purchasing a pair of high-end shoes the shop may be able to stretch them for you—just ask! And any cobbler should be able to do the same for a fee. But what about cheap shoes? If you only paid $20 for a pair of fun heels you might not be willing to pay to have them stretched, but there are a couple of things you can do at home for free.

THING #1: WEAR THEM AROUND THE HOUSE... WITH SOCKS!

Pizza socks and patent pumps, two great tastes that go great together.

The most surefire way to break in new heels is to wear them, but if they're pinchy and uncomfortable it's best to wear them around the house for a few days so you don't have to keep them on all day long if the discomfort becomes too much to deal with. I find that wearing thin socks with my heels both accelerates the process and prevents chafing while they're being stretched. Yes, your neighbors will probably laugh at you when you go to to check the mailbox in heels, socks and pajamas, but it will be worth it in the end.


THING #2: STICK SOMETHING BULBOUS IN YOUR SHOES FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS



I realize that not everybody has time to hang out at home in high heels all day, so it's okay to let something other than your feet do the stretching. You can purchase a ready-made foot stretcher for about $30, but if that's too rich for you, you can emulate the process by shoving something into the heels and/or toes to keep them "full" and gradually stretching at the back of your closet. I've read all kinds of crazy suggestions for this—everything from oatmeal to potatoes to water (and subsequent freezing). As for me? I find that the easiest/least messy way is to just take some wadded up socks, and pack them into the areas I want to stretch really tightly. Depending on how stuff the shoe is this can take a few days, but if you're willing to just stick the shoes in the back of your closet and forget about them for a few days, it works. Yay for socks!


STRETCH YOU

Another problem I experience whilst wearing high heels is foot and leg pain. Most heels tend to put a lot of pressure on the toes, balls of the feet and calves, so it's important to keep those areas flexed and happy. My favorite foot stretch is pretty simple: Take off your shoes, place your big toe against a doorframe (pointing upwards), and bend your knee while keeping your other toes flat on the floor. Bend your knee, also keeping your knee on the floor. I find that this helps prevent pain in my big toe, which seems to be where I experience the most pressure—but if your feet are different, there are dozens of other foot stretches you can try! It also helps to take a day off from heels after wearing them for a long time if possible. Think of it like a vacation day for your feet. Better than an involuntary sick day for your feet!


STRATEGICALLY PLACED BARRIERS

You know what will get me to stop wearing a pair of heels quicker than anything else? CHAFING. Blisters and scrapes are not something I want on my feet—but unfortunately they're often unavoidable, even with well-worn shoes and more "practical" footwear (like boots). My solution is to use COMPEED® Blister Medium Cushions on key spots where my feet tend to chafe—around the ankle, toes etc.


COMPEED® is a bit different to traditional bandages in that it's made of hydrocolloid material, which acts as a breathable "second skin" over blisters and wounds to help them heal faster and protect those sensitive raw spots from further painful chafing all day long. Even if you don't already have blisters, they're great to use in spots you usually chafe as a preventative barrier—they stay put for a long time and are fairly discreet thanks to the translucent hydrocolloid material.


COMPEED® is available in a variety of sizes and is sold only at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores—look for them in the Foot Care section.


SWITCH YOUR STRUT
Lastly but certainly not least, being mindful of how you walk while wearing heels can make a big difference in how your feet and legs feel and the end of the day. When most people wear sneakers, they tend to stomp down on their whole foot at once. That's fine because sneakers are flat and have thick soles designed to absorb the shock... but heels do not. Instead, try gently stepping with the heel first, and then the toe. This will help prevent clumsy walking and putting excessive pressure on the ball of your foot. It also helps to be extra-mindful of your posture while wearing high heels—I'm a notorious sloucher, and I don't really feel it when I've been wearing sneakers all day, but high heels tend to balance the weight of your body towards the front of the foot, which can lead to soreness if you're not careful to keep things balanced. Keeping your head and shoulders upright and straight as you walk around helps to "balance the load", so to speak.


So those are my tips for making high heels more comfortable to wear—if you have any tips and tricks of your own, I'd love to hear them in the comments! And be sure to check out COMPEED® Blister Medium Cushions if you're prone to blisters and chafing like me.



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however any opinions expressed above are honest and my own. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy. #CompeedUS

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