Can You Train Your Feet for High Heels?
High heels can be extremely difficult and painful to wear, yet despite this they remain a common component of women’s fashion—particularly in formal and professional settings. Whether you wear them because you like the way they look, or simply because you feel you’re expected to, you’d probably prefer they were a little easier to wear.
Not surprisingly, a quick internet search will dig up lots of advice on how to wear high heels like a pro, without the pain or wobbliness. Some women seem to manage walking and working in their heels just fine. Is there a way to train your feet for high heels?
We have a better question: Should you?
Because here’s the thing. Sure, wearing heels is something you can practice and conceivably get better at over time. Stretching and exercises to strengthen your ankles can help you with the wobbliness, and adjusting the way you walk (shorter steps, leaning back, etc.).
But you can’t change the laws of physics! The above strategies might reduce your discomfort somewhat, and make it so you don’t feel like you’ll topple over at the slightest breeze. But no matter how “good” you get at wearing high heels, they’ll still be bad for your feet and still significantly increase your risk for pain, injury, arthritis, and deformities like bunions and hammertoes.
In order to walk in high heels—successfully or unsuccessfully—your body has to make a series of compromises, compensations, and accommodations that massively increase the strain and pressure on certain areas and joints. You have to literally change the way you walk entirely, and your ankles, calves, forefoot, toes, and even knees and back end up taking the hit. Simply put, your body wasn’t built to work and move like this, and there’s no way to train it to do so without consequences.
Ideally, you should ditch the high heels entirely and stick to shoes designed for comfort and performance. But if you must wear, follow these tips:
- The less time you spend in heels, the better. Bring them out only for special occasions, and bring some back-up shoes to switch into after your event.
- The shorter the heels, the better. If you can keep them under two inches, great. The higher the heel, the greater the force and stress.
- The chunkier the heels, the better. That means more surface area for the foot and stability for the ankle.
- Condition your feet, ankles, and calves with regular stretching and exercise so that they’re as ready as they can possibly be to resist pain and injury.
If you do wind up with foot pain or injury—whether you’re a heel fan or not, you can always call the Aadvanced Footcare Associates for prompt treatment. Call us at (718) 896-4433 for Rego Park, (516) 82209595 for Plainview, or (718) 969-2266 for Flushing.