The best high heel shoes for Court are ones you can stand and walk in for up to four hours at a time on hard stone floors. You have to be always be prepared for Court days when you may not get a chance to do much sitting, plus you can't take off your shoes in Court even if your feet hurt! Court shoes' rules are that you must have a closed toe and closed heel which is why I chose to demonstrate comfortable court shoes with the Cole Haan platform pump and the Payless high heel wedges. Low heels such as kitten heels are another good option.
Lawyers and other professional women who wear heels for work for long periods of time need to find a solution that works for them. About 70% of women who wear heels have pain from wearing heels. I was not within the lucky 30% who don't have pain from heels. In becoming a lawyer who would be in Court a lot representing clients as a Barrister I realized that I needed to put together a professional work wardrobe that included comfortable high heels. This is what inspired me to find a solution that worked for me - which was to invent a product into existence. This product is Killer Heels Comfort PORON foam customizable high heel shoe inserts. They can be used as either permanent high heel shoe inserts or temporary high heel shoe inserts.
All the high heel shoe comfort products I had tried, whether foam or gel, or inserts or insoles were problematic. None of these products worked consistently -or at all - to keep my foot from sliding forward in high heels. Foam, except for PORON foam, flattens, and gel gets slippery. Every gel ball of foot insert that I tried painfully crowded my forefoot at the toe end of the shoe, and gel insoles pushed my foot upward under the heel causing more instability in already unstable heels. Gel insoles are not customizable for length so the cushioning part of the gel insoles rarely fitted under the ball of my foot at the point of greatest pressure. Gel insoles are not customizable for arch height. In my experience they either pressed into the underside of my arch resulting in a dull pain or cleared it entirely doing nothing. For some women 3/4 gel insoles fit correctly snug to the arch and work as designed, but this was not my experience.
The high heel shoes shown here are inherently comfortable fit by design and by features. Cole Haan shoes are the number one choice of New York city female lawyers - according to a blog on Corporette.com, "Guide to Comfortable Heels". The Payless shoe, a relatively inexpensive shoe, happens to be made from a shoe last design that also makes a well fitting shoe. (The wedge heels shown are a very well fitting size 12 wide. The inserts make them fit and wear even better. )
All high heel shoes can easily be made much more comfortable with the addition of customizable PORON foam inserts - even Stuart Weitzman recommends foam inserts be added as a way to customize shoes. Generally higher priced shoes such as the Cole Haan have more cushioning but nearly all shoes can do with more 'soft stuff' under the ball of the foot, especially if they are heels that will be worn for many hours. More cushioning can be added to any shoe, provided that the chosen cushioning material does not crowd the foot. Killer Heels Comfort is ergonomically designed to fit small hollows under the foot so it never crowds the shoe.
What is a crucial issue in shoes of any kind is that they fit properly and you can walk in them easily right away as soon as you put them on. In heels there should not be any awkward feel or wobbliness. High heel shoe soles should bend or in platform heels the soles should be 'rockered' for an easier walk. There should not be ANY crowding of the toes, whatever the shape of the toe box -pointed, almond or rounded. If there is any crowding of the forefoot or toes while standing or slowly walking about in the shoe store you are practically guaranteed to be in a lot of pain very quickly in those shoes in normal wear.
Always try on shoes to ensure you can walk easily in them. Shoes should fit so that the shoe hugs your foot along the sides, is long enough with at least 1/4 inch in front of your longest toes and in stilettos the heel of the shoe is directly under the middle of the heel of the foot.
N.B. There is no such thing as 'learning to walk in heels'. If you feel that you must do this with a new pair of high heels it is usually an instance of you having to learn how to cope with a bad design! And don't EVER expect to stretch a shoe to a larger size. Stretching will never ever add length to the shoe, and you may just end up with a distorted shoe. The only exception to stretching a high heel to fit some part of your foot is stretching a very small spot to fit it over a bunion or some other protrusion such as one bent or hammer toe. The spot stretching only works in a leather shoe where it can be done with a wooden spoon pressing the spot. Plastic and patent leather will spring back and will not stay stretched.
The design features that make the stiletto Cole Haan shoe comfortable is that it has a platform sole and a rounded toe box. The platform sole makes this stiletto shoe a dramatically high 4" high heel shoe but the secret to it's comfort is that the 'net' heel height is only about 3" which is a comfortable height for most women to wear in an all day high heel shoe. The rounded toe box provides all day comfort to the toes because they have plenty of 'wiggle room' whether you are standing or walking vigorously. The wiggle room will disappear and do you no good if your foot slides forward in your heels, therefore you have to put inserts into your heels if you are subject to gravity. Note: women not subject to earth's gravity can ignore this recommendation. The Payless shoes also have a rounded toe. These shoes also have a wedge heel which has a greater surface touching the floor making for a more stable feel during walking. The shoes are high heel wedges with about 3" heels therefore they need inserts to stop the foot from sliding forward and down the inclined ramp, plus cushion the ball of the foot from pressure.
Celebrities who wear heels often choose to wear platforms. If you follow instagram @mariahcarey you will see that Mariah Carey nearly always wears platforms both for performing and for going out. They give her a dramatic 4" high heel shoe look without the pain of 4" heels. The downside of platforms is that they can be very wobbly, and stairs can be difficult to navigate. I wish I could provide Ms Carey with my high heel shoe inserts to stop the wobble of her platforms, however luckily for her she usually has an attending man - often her charming boyfriend Bryan @bryantanaka - at her elbow to help her whenever she walks about outside. For those women who do not have a charming attending man at their elbow they should outfit their high heel shoes with customizable inserts that prevent the foot from moving about and doesn't crowd the toes.
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!
Corporette is one of the best fashion, lifestyle and career advice columns. It is hosted by a woman with a wonderful eye for fashion who used to be a lawyer in New York. The fashions, including the shoes, reviewed on Corporette are very well researched and analyzed by the brightest women anywhere, who also need to go to work looking great. A wonderfully useful column on "Corporette is their Guide to Comfortable Heels" It was initially drafted in 2011, although many of the shoes mentioned are from well established excellent shoe manufacturers , there are some notable shoe brands such as Aquazurra who make stunningly fashionable (and comfortable) shoes that are not on the list. Also Killer Heels Comfort shoe inserts for high heels were patented after the Corporette.com "Guide to Comfortable Heels" was printed. These inserts are much better than the ones mentioned in the guide, which are variations of inserts for high heels that have been around for 20 years or more and continue to have problems in function and fit.