Duchess Meghan Markle has been in the news for wearing her shoes loose with heel gaps. I have no insider information about her shoes, however this photo may have been taken in the morning, a time of day when feet are naturally skinny and shoes fit loose. Her shoes may be a perfect fit later in the day when her feet are more ‘chubby’. Her shoes could be a perfect fit all day long from morning until night if she put foam inserts into them that hold the heel of the foot inside the heel end of the shoe to prevent heel gaps.
The fit of high heels is a dilemma. Buy them with a snug fit so they stay on your feet – and suffer the consequences when you stay late to a party and your feet are so painful you can’t even walk, let alone dance!
Or buy them with a loose fit so you can easily wiggle your toes - and suffer the consequences when you wear them to a morning wedding – and just as you are leaving the church you lose a shoe on the stairs nearly twisting your ankle!
In 2014 BUSTLE wrote “ If heels are loose, the muscles in your toes will have to overcompensate to keep your shoes on, and this is bad for your feet. Heels should neither be too loose nor too tight. Play Goldilocks when shoe shopping — they should be juuuust right.” This is good advice. However in the same BUSTLE article there is bad advice that you can “ train your ankles to provide better support”. It is bad advice to tell women that they can somehow train their ankle bones to be able to wear 5” heels. That cannot be done, either you can wear heels over 3” or you can’t - just like some people have feet that can ballet dance and some can’t.
Is there a middle ground, and if so what is it? The holy grail of fitting is to have high heel shoes that fit perfectly from morning ‘til night on feet that are ‘skinny’ in the morning and ‘chubby’ by evening. These eight tips will help you choose shoes and wear them so they fit right:
Even the most experienced high heel wearers - women who wear the most stylish coveted brands of heels fitted exclusively for them - can have problems with their shoes. Superstar Mariah Carey on an evening outing in Los Angeles can be seen with her feet slipping out of her high heel sandals. High heel wearers' everywhere can empathize with her. Problems with walking naturally in heels, feet slipping forwards and pain in various parts of the feet are common issues with high heel shoes. If you have these problems they will spoil the way you and your outfits look - nobody looks good hobbling in heels or grimacing in pain or with their toes hanging out - but worse is that improperly fitted high heels can cause injuries from falls or lead to chronic foot pain. There are rational steps you can take, and precautions you should follow, to make your high heel heels comfortable to walk in and your feet pain free and protected from injury.
Five tips for perfect fitting, no pain, high heels:
1. Buy shoes that fit. Buy high heels by matching the LENGTH of your foot in inches with a size chart, and then try on only those shoes and larger ones.
2. Outfit your high heels with contoured foam high heel inserts.
3. Try out your high heels for at least ten minutes of walking about in the shoe store to make sure you can walk easily in them.
4. If you are buying spike heeled shoes make sure the heel end of the shoe does not wobble about when you walk and the shoes feel balanced.
5. Avoid buying high heel shoes with heels over 3.5” unless you intend to mostly sit while wearing them, and you will not be walking or standing for longer than 20 minutes without a rest period.
The 'secret' to making sure you have the best chance of getting high heel shoe inserts that will work for you and give your foot maximum comfort is put them in heels that fit - never too tight - and choose inserts by the criteria of what is the softest and what you can customize as much as possible to fit according to your unique foot to cushion and stop forward slide. Bonus if the inserts stabilize your high heels to stop wobbles.
Review the ranking of the Best and the Worst in high heel shoe cushioning. See if you can find the one you wear most often, and compare it to the other six.
Four high heel footwear styles from the “12 of the Craziest Shoes at Paris Fashion Week Spring ’19 ”, demonstrate common problems in high heels in these ‘uncommon’ new styles from Vivienne Westwood and Balmain. Also read the “The Real Reasons Women Wear Heels!”
Issues: How to stop foot from sliding forward in open toe stiletto sandals with ankle ties; How to stabilize feet in rocker-sole high heel platform boots with chunky heels; How to keep straps comfortable & stabilize sandals with thigh high straps; and How to stop ball of foot pain /toes crush in pointy-toe clear plastic high heeled boots with triangle plastic heels.