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.
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.