Confessions of a Podiatrist
I'm not going to lie, as a shorter individual I love wearing heels probably even more than the next woman and in my closet are still skeletons of my former stiletto strutting past.
I like to think of my shoe collection as a food pyramid:
The fruits and vegetables are your main shoe group comprising of those comfortable supportive shoes such as runners and then we work all the way up to your naughty occasional treats: your high heels. There are many occasions in life that may call for a high heel and below are some tips/compromises to keep your feet and "fashionista" in harmony.
1: Heel height: The higher the heel the more stress on the forefoot, ankle and knees. Try to reduce your heel to forefoot pitch by wearing a shoe with a platform. This gives the illusion of height whilst minimising the pressure on your feet.
2: Alternate: Counteract some of the effects of wearing high heels by swapping between heels and a flatter pair of shoes. I'm known to pull out the purse sized fold-up ballet flats to relieve my feet particularly if walking between venues is on the agenda.
3: Stretching regularly: Tendons can shorten overtime and your calf muscles can lose their flexibility if constantly in a shortened position from wearing heels. Get into a regular calf stretching routine to avoid replicating Barbie's feet.
4: Attempt comfort: Wear heels that are at least somewhat comfortable. Shop for your shoes later in the day when your feet are more swollen to avoid buying the wrong size. Try to avoid squishing your feet into particular styles that are not appropriate for your foot profile. Wear your shoes in at home and do not wear a new pair of shoes out for the first time!
5: Size: Your shoe size will vary between brands. Don't get fixated on what size you usually are and focus on what size you need in that particular brand. Even within a brand your size may vary between styles.
6: Stability: Choose a wider or chunkier heel for more stability. Wedges are kinder than stiletto's and distribute the your weight over a greater area therefore reducing pressure on the balls of your feet.
7: Fixation: Some styles of shoes require your feet to work harder to stay in them. Make sure there is enough shoe holding your foot in or fixation such as straps so that the shoe is doing the work and not your feet.
8: Cheat: There are a multitude of products available to make your heel wearing experience more comfortable. Arm yourself with gel pads, heel cushions, arch supports blister pads and even band-aids that can discretely add comfort.
9: Sweat less: Increased perspiration increases the likelihood of blisters. Wearing natural fibres such as leather and cotton will reduce your sweating. Otherwise incorporate an antiperspirant into your get ready routine such as prantal powder.
10: Don't forget your orthotics: If wearing high heels is a frequent requirement speak to your podiatrist about thinner profile courthotics which can be custom fitted and used in your heels to provide some much needed support.
Happy shoe shopping ;)
Dr Lynne Pham