After years of speculation, we survived a non-existent doomsday on 21 December 2012 … We’re alive and we’re all going to look our best, party hard and dance away the woes of a year gone by this New Years Eve… As always, in a gorgeous pair of high heels. But what about aching, bruised feet and joint pain to add to your hangover ? Shudder.
My mother always said that what happens to you on the 1st of January happens to you all year long… Hence, having painful, calloused feet isn’t recommended the morning after. So here are my top ten tips, learnt from personal experience, to minimise pain from long hours of high heel usage…
1. Petite is beautiful. You don’t need audaciously high heels of the Lady Gaga variety. Choose a reasonably high pair of heels that don’t arch your foot too much. If you can’t raise yourself on your toes to an inch while wearing them, they are too high for you. Save the towering variety for dinners out where you will spend most of your time sitting down.
2. Platform + Rocking Heel is a great combination to look for when buying heels. This type of structure allows you to wear higher heels without arching your foot too much and giving you more comfort than old fashioned, flat sole stilettos. Platform Heels have a raised platform below your toes, and a rocking heel is the slight curve in the platform front which lets your step “roll” forward a little. This makes stilettos, block heels and wedges easier to walk in. Always go for such heels, they let you stand taller and be comfortable at the same time.
Normal Stiletto vs Platform Stiletto
2. Wedges Rule. They are the most comfortable type in the high heel family and complement dresses as well as skinny pants. Platform wedges in eye-catching colours like electric blue or shocking pink look glamorous and party-perfect. Wedges in high-street footwear stores like Steve Madden and Aldo are beautiful and of great quality, or you can go for more economical finds in the nooks and corners of street-shopping hotspots like Linking Road and Hill Road in Bandra.
Blue Wedges vs Platform Blue Wedges
3. Block Heels, that recently came into fashion, are also surprisingly comfortable. I walked around and stood in my black, block heel pumps from Catwalk for more than 8 hours and didnt experience any acute pain or discomfort. Additionally, I also used insoles for these. Wedges and Block Heels are usually a more comfortable alternative to stilettos.
Block Heel Pumps from Catwalk
4. Gel-Filled Insoles are an awesome invention. They make wearing heels so much easier and comfortable. These insoles from Scholl are easily attached, transferrable and available in a lot of varieties to deal with different areas of discomfort such as the heel or the ball of your foot. Cushion areas that apply too much pressure or friction. These insoles are affordable and available in most supermarkets such as Hyper City, and footwear stores like Bata, Metro and Mochi.
Gel Insoles from Scholl in Bata
6. Walk Smart. This is very important. I’ve seen girls drag and trudge their feet along with their body when wearing heels, like their shoes weigh two kilos. Also, a lot of girls slouch in heels, although it gives you a momentary illusion of being more comfortable, you’re actually putting even more pressure on your calf muscles which will result in worsening the pain. When walking, have a straight posture and imagine the sole of your heels to be the bottom of your feet – which means you have to place your heel down first, right before your toes. Don’t plop them both down at the same time.
7. Practice walking at home in advance, a day before you intend to wear them to get accustomed to the posture. This is beneficial for women who wear heels only on special occasions. This tip applies for brand new heels as well as girls new to heels – it’s called ‘breaking in’ to your new heels to make them softer and make you more comfortable in them. Practice walking fast, walking slow, dancing, etc so that you’re prepared beforehand for every thing you’ll have to do in heels.
PS: To prevent shoe bite from new heels, apply coconut/castor oil to hurtful parts of the shoe three days in a row prior to wearing it. Apply some petroleum jelly on the areas of shoe that are likely to cause a shoe bite and let it stay overnight before wiping off the excess jelly. You can also wear a band-aid before wearing them or stick a band-aid to areas that prick
8. Take it Off and Sit Down. In most desi DJ Nights, no matter how posh the setting, high heels come off a few hours into the party so we can jump and balle balle around them. If you’re tired, don’t hesitate to join the brigade…It feels lovely to have blood circulation in your feet again. However, avoid doing this every time you sit or take a break. Some women’s feet swell which makes it more painful to wear them again. Sit, sit, sit whenever possible and just relax your feet without taking them off. The lesser strain you give your feet, the longer your high-heel life span when you walk, stand, and dance.
9. Cut your toenails. When you wear pumps (closed shoes with heels), long toenails put a lot of pain and pressure on your feet and make it very difficult to walk. Trim them or go for sandal-type heels to give your feet more breathing space.
10. Pamper Le Pied– fatigue and mild aches are inevitable. Treat your feet to a warm water soak with some aromatic bath salts or simple sea salt used in the kitchen. Salt has therapeutic properties which relieve tiredness and soften calloused areas. You can also indulge in a last splurge for the holiday season- a foot spa treatment at any local spa or salon. Contrary to popular belief, all spa treatments are not exorbitant.