How to Make High Heels Comfortable
At least more comfortable.
Q: “I’m in love with high heels in and out of the office, but they kill my feet. Do comfortable ones exist?”
A: No high heels will probably ever be as comfortable as a good pair of sneakers, but some are certainly less comfortable than others, and it’s not just a matter of how high the heels are. Of course, a proper fit is essential, but beyond that there are five easy-to-spot design features that can have a huge effect on your overall comfort.
1. Heel placement
If the heel is too far back, it won’t support your weight properly. The center line of the heel should be directly under the center of your own heel. Thicker heels often do this automatically, or you can look for narrow heels that dip in slightly at the top.
As good as the shoe on the left looks, the way the heel drops straight down in the back probably makes it less comfortable than the shoe on the right. Black-and-White Heels, ACNE, $490; Snake Print Heels, DUNE, $130
2. Sole thickness
High heels are much more comfortable with a little padding, especially on hard surfaces, so some sort of a platform is always a good idea. If your shoes don’t have a platform, try adding a gel insole.
Despite being just as tall, if not taller, than the shoe on the left, the shoe on the right is probably more comfortable on city sidewalks thanks to that thick platform. Turquoise and Black Heels, ASOS, $85; Purple and Blue Colorblocked Heels, RAVEL, $85
3. Sole rigidity
Steer clear of shoes with rigid soles made out of wood or hard plastic. Leather and rubber soles have more give, so they move with your feet and adjust better to inconsistencies in the ground.
Despite having a relatively thin sole, the rubber and leather combo on the right is probably more comfortable and easier to walk in than the unyeilding wooden wedge on the left. Brown Platform Wedge Sandals, STEVE MADDEN, $100; Brown Wedge Sandals, 6 TABOO, $241
4. Heel Thickness
The wider your heel, the greater your stability. Wedges can be even more stable, provided they are not too narrow and the entirety of the sole touches the ground.
Chunkier platforms like the one on the right often have a rounded sole, which helps keep your weight back on the balls of your feet, instead of forward on your toes, to give you greater stability so high off the ground. Hot Pink Pointed Toe Pumps, JEFFREY CAMPBELL, $138; Hot Pink Chunky Platforms, NEW LOOK, $47 Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
The easier it is for you to slip out of your heels, the harder they will be to walk in. Your shoes should feel like an extension of your body, not something foreign that could fall off at any moment. A slingback or a pump is preferable to a mule, but a boot or something with a strap that goes across the front of the foot and/or ankle is even better.
Despite that chunky heel, the shoes on the left could be deceptively uncomfortabledue to the inevitable slippage when you lift your foot. Black Mule Heels, ZARA, $100; Black Patent Leather Strappy Heels, FOREVER 21, $33
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