How to walk (and last) in high heels

It's so fun when people leave interesting questions! It gets my brain working and compels me to do some research. In my legs post, one reader asked me about high heels. She said:

Hi, I've been always meaning to buy heeled shoes but I've never really gotten to wearing them...I just can't last wearing heeled shoes for prolonged periods of time (prolonged period = 1 hour or more). Is there a tip you can give on how to last in heels? Or am i just wearing the wrong kind of shoe? Are there heels that are actually comfortable? Thanks!

Walking and enduring high heels is like writing or learning how to bike - once you get the hang of it, you can't unlearn it. It just becomes an automatic skill! It's only difficult in the beginning but trust me, once you're past the initial barrier of pain and suffering, you will find your balance and a level of comfort.

Why wear heels anyway? Heels can instantly make your legs look longer, your butt perkier, and your back straighter. You will also be forced to take smaller, slower steps, so you look more graceful and poised. I'm not saying girls should wear heels all the time ha! I'm saying that there are certain social situations (like dates, events, business meetings, etc.) which will require you to be more put-together; that's when walking in heels become a useful skill.

So, I'm going to share a few tips on how to walk and endure high heels! Some of these tips came from a book called (surprise surprise) "How To Walk In High Heels" by Camilla Morton.

  1.  If you've never walked in heels before, try two-inchers first then work your way up. You can start with wedges since they afford more balance. Your feet need to get used to a higher arch and an elevated height (if you're wearing platforms). This tip is more about finding balance and testing the limits of your comfort level. 
  2. Don't tip-toe in high heels unless your want painful toes and tired feet overall. A lot of beginners make this mistake. The right movement is heel-to-toe, that is, step with your heel first and then roll your feet towards your toe. Distribute your weight equally over your shoes. This slows down foot fatigue.
  3. Bend your knees while walking to get a natural-looking gait. If you walk like Barbie (=straight legs) you will look stiff and just plain weird.
  4. Prance around the house in your new shoes. Seriously, sweep the floor, do the dishes and fix your things in your newest pair of heels. Break them in first before wearing them out of the house! At least you will know where they can potentially scrape and clamp. It's better to find out at home than when you're already out.
  5. Do the groceries in your highest pair of heels. I'm talking four to five inches, baby! This tip is more for pushing your endurance level. Yeah, get over it. This exercise will probably hurt, but thankfully you will have the grocery cart to hold on to for balance and rest.
  6. When you need a break, sit down and fold your legs. Don't cross your legs - you'll be putting pressure on one leg and limiting the blood supply on another. Just fold your legs sidewards; cross your ankles. This position gets you the rest without putting any weight on your heeled feet.

How to pick the right pair of heels

Okay, choosing the right shoes is just as important as learning how to walk in them. The truth is that some shoes are just not well-designed enough to be actually enjoyed. Sure they're pretty but they may be too heavy, too high, too imbalanced. Sometimes, it's just not about you - it's the shoes in question. Here are some tips on buying your next pair of heels!

  • Platforms are more comfortable because the arch of heel tend to be lower. You can save up to 1.5-2 inches with platforms, so even if the total heel height of the shoes is, say, 5 inches, the arch is only 3 inches. That's a huge difference!
  • When fitting the shoes, deliberately pile all your weight on them while standing up. Check out where you're forced to concentrate your weight. Heel? Toes? Where are you feeling the pressure? Ideally, you shouldn't feel any. If you do then the shoes are not properly balanced.
  • Another way to check for balance: walk in the shoes while in store. If you're forced to list to the side or twist your feet unnaturally while walking, then those shoes are not for you.
  • Shoes that pinch your toes or the back of your feet are bad news. Don't, just don't force it.
  • Choose lightweight shoes. Wedges or platforms made of cork, rubber, or light wood can save you from feeling the foot fatigue too soon.

Brands I like for heels

Well, I like a lot of brands but there are only a few that I consistently buy from. :) I love Ferretti (of course) because all their heels are ultra-light and have low arches. Charles & Keith have stunning modern designs and always look out for comfort as well. On the other hand, Pill and t0nic in The Ramp have trendy platform shoes for updating your wardrobe. 

Pumps from Ferretti

And that's it! Note that even a veteran high-heeler can't last in heels for more than five hours straight. I know I can't! It's beautifying but bottomline is it's just not natural. I always bring a pair of foldable flats just in case I give out. ;)

Hope this helps! Share more of your tips if you have some!