How to Choose the Right Heels

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Unlike Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, who chased men, taxis, and sometimes a dog in the park in her six-inch stilettos (and still managed to look glamorously sexy), sporting high heels in real life can be a killer. But believe it or not, most women love their heels so much that in spite of the many problems that plague their feet, they refuse to give up on their stilettos, even if it causes them discomfort!

The heel hangover
Forget alcohol, more women suffer from the high heel hangover, after a night of dancing away in their shoes. Your calf muscle contracts when you lift your leg to walk but, in high heels, your ankle is a few inches above the ground before taking a step, so the calf has to work much harder. If your muscle isn’t used to it, like going to the gym for a workout, it will stiffen up the next day! If you are a slave to fashion and cannot do without high heeled shoes, try the following to make your feet more comfortable.

The right fit
Sounds incredulous but most wear footwear at least half a size too small. It’s important your shoes fit properly, as your toes should have space to move. Measure your feet every time you buy shoes, as even a few extra pounds can make your shoe size larger. The number one reason why women experience pain or get blisters or abrasions from their high heels is because they wear shoes that aren’t the right size. Remember, if you shoes don’t fit right, it doesn’t matter how cute they are.

Exercise your feet
A lifetime of poor shoe choices means that we need to make foot fitness a priority. It is possible to undo much footwear damage if you follow certain exercises. Stretching out your legs and feet the morning after you’ve danced the night away in towering heels, lengthens the muscles and gets the blood flowing again. Core strengthening exercises, three times a week, can help stabilize your feet and decrease the stress from high heeled shoes. They also help with backache, knee pain and foot pain caused by instability. You can also do yoga.

Provide cushion

While a full-shoe insert can help, if you have pain in the ball of the foot or if you will be standing in your heels for a long time, invest in silicone metatarsal pads. They look like flattened gummy bears, and absorb shock. There are even some that are specifically designed to be used with high heels to reduce blistering

Choose a thicker heel
Try to avoid a severely pointed heel and go for a  square toe box. A thicker heel will give you better balance, stability and may help relieve some pressure by distributing the weight of your body on your foot more evenly. It’s always better to wear a wider and more supportive heel. For example, a wedged heel is less demanding on the leg muscles, as it has a larger surface area, so it is more stable. The thinner the heel, the more impact on your foot.

Pamper your feet
Get a regular pedicure. Having a pedicure and keeping your toenails in good shape can help with ingrown toenails, also caused by shoe pressure. It will soothe your tired and achy feet. If your feet are too dry, apply a moisturiser, as they can develop rough areas on pressure points, which can crack and become painful. For best results apply apply the mousturiser after a bath.

Take a heel holiday
If you’ve been sporting high heels for a continuous stretch, it’s a good idea to give your feet a chance to relax. Walking around barefoot sounds ideal but is highly impractical, so invest in a good pair of flats or sneakers. After all, your feet deserve to be treated well too!

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