Heels are an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe and a must-have item to spruce up any outfit. But, if you’re like most women, you probably have a love-hate relationship with them. As women, many of us are familiar with the throbbing pain that often ensues after a night of standing, walking and dancing in heels. According to the Spine Health Institute, up to 72% of women will wear heels in their lifetime. This means that most of us are still willing to put up with the pain of wearing heels, regardless of the suffering we may have to endure afterwards. Why? Well, there are a number of benefits to wearing high heels, including the way they make your strut appear more graceful, feminine and attractive and the fact that they make you look taller. Likewise, wearing a gorgeous pair of heels can also give you a much-needed boost of confidence and make you feel more powerful and in control.
So since heels aren’t going anywhere any time soon, it’s time to learn how to properly master them, instead of allowing them to master you! No more wobbling around and soaking your aching feet in ice cold water at the end of the day. Here’s a list of ways to rock high heels, walk gracefully and add an extra oomfph to your wardrobe—and all it takes is a little practice!
1. Get Your Shoe-Size Checked
One of the keys to rocking a pair of glamourous heels, is to make sure you’re wearing the same size in the first place. It may seem obvious, but many women make the all-too common mistake of choosing heels that aren’t the correct size. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, 88% of American women are wearing shoes that are too small! Imagine the difference it would make on the overall health of our feet, if we all made sure we were wearing the correct size. Your foot size will likely change over the years, and many women find that their size changes considerably after having children. So instead of guessing your size, make it a priority have your feet properly sized regularly and ensure that your feet are measured for both width and length.
2. Improve Your Balance
Just like learning a language or learning how to play an instrument, conquering the art of masterful heel-walking requires a lot of practice, patience and perseverance—especially when it comes to improving your balance. If you’re balance-impaired like me, taking a yoga class can help improve your posture and balance and make you look more graceful when wearing heels. If you’re not up for joining a yoga or Pilates class, there are other practical ways to improve your balance when wearing heels. According to Victor Chu, a New-York footwear designer, the key is to “Engage your abs – this gives you poise and control. Walk heel to toe, which transfers impact to the leg instead of the ball of the foot. And relax your hips and knees so you’ll be fluid and graceful.”
3. Stretch Your Feet Regularly
Even the healthiest feet will start to ache after a long night of overuse, and standing or moving along hard surfaces will only further exacerbate the pain. Thankfully there are a number of remedies for foot pain, such as soaking your feet in warm water and adding Epsom salts to the water to help relax your sore muscles. While soaking your feet, stretch the ankle and toe joints using either your hands or a strap. There are also a number of exercises to practice regularly, such as doing ankle pumps (moving your foot up and down), making circles with your ankles, and rolling the bottom of your foot on a soccer ball or a water bottle. Make sure you focus on doing stretches that target the front of the foot and ankle and help strengthen the Achilles tendon and the calf muscles.
4. Use Over-The-Counter Arch Supports
Over-the counter shoe inserts are oval-shaped pads that go under the ball of the foot. Made from silicone gel, they are designed to decrease the shock and impact that your feet experience with each step. Arch supports can truly be life-savers, because they provide some extra cushioning for the heel and the ball of your foot, which are both areas that are extremely disposed to becoming sore. Arch supports also hold your foot steadier in the shoe and help prevent your feet from sliding forward, thus, protecting your toes from developing blisters. Also consider visiting a podiatrist and getting some custom-made arch supports which can further help deal with issues like flat feet and give you the extra support you may need.
Ready to rock high heels this spring? There are a number of black-owned business that sell gorgeous footwear for women, including FlatOut, SoleRebels, and my personal favorite—Aminah Abdul Jillil!
"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."