Finding a great pair of heels is not an easy task. Unless of course you have that perfect foot that can wear any height heels without pain ! Sadly for most women that is not the case. You already know that not everyone can become a ballet dancer don’t you? Not many people have the perfect foot type to become a ballet dancer so it should be no surprise that very few women have absolutely perfect feet for high heels like Barbie does! In fact about 75% of USA women who wear heels suffer from some foot pain. I envy the 25% that don’t have pain but unfortunately that is not me – or the majority.
Every foot is different and has its’ own ‘thing’. Mine is that my feet are a long, narrow size 9 - in a medium width shoe world - they become painful in any heels, even kitten heels, because they slide forward. I also have problems buying shoes that are long enough for my feet, yet narrow enough to stay on my feet and not feel sloppy. My pain in heels comes from the downward pressure on the ball of the foot, plus the forward crush on toes – with some pain from heel gaps too. I love heels and have worn many heel heights over the years. However it has only been the last few years that I have finally, truly enjoyed wearing heels – and enjoyed buying them. This was after I invented my own permanent high heels inserts that deal with both the horizontal and vertical pain sources in high heels. I have my inserts in every pair of heels I own and I buy new shoes with the plan to put inserts into them immediately. Most other high heel inserts and high heel insoles that are currently being sold concentrate only on the horizontal pain point – and if they slip or push your foot up and out of your shoe - then they don’t do that either!
Lower heels are usually easier to wear than higher heels provided that shoes are well designed and fit properly. My favourite height for long term wear such as for six hours of standing and walking are three inch heels because they are lovely high heels, yet low enough so I don’t get ankle pain. I can make them as comfortable as sneakers with shoe inserts. Shoe inserts will work very well to completely prevent foot pain in toes, ball of foot and heels but they cannot do anything for ankle pain caused by the extreme flex position of ankles in high heels. If you get ankle pain in heels over 3” your only choices are to wear lower heels or limit the amount of time you spend walking or standing in your heels to very short periods of time such as 10-20 minutes. (This is about the time it takes for a celebrity that you see in very high 5” heels walk from her car, greet some fans and walk to her restaurant table! Unless this is your lifestyle too don’t wear 5” heels.)
High heels -and high heel pain - have garnered all kinds of high heel quotes. I want to share some of them with you
* Keep your heels, head & standards high. Coco Chanel
* A cause may be inconvenient, but it's magnificent. It's like champagne or high heels, and one must be prepared to suffer for it. Arnold Bennett
* I do everything the man does, only backwards and in high heels. Ginger Rogers
* There is a heel that is too high to walk in, certainly. But who cares? You don't have to walk in high heels. Christian Louboutin
Shoe shopping is a multi faceted task of looks, fit and style/heel height that suits your foot. First there is what looks good, is cute and fashionable - Le Dernier Cri. Then there is what fits you well in size – and don’t be a Cinderella step-sister – heels should fit with at least ¼ “ to ½” clear space in front of the longest toe. Heels should be larger by a half-size or more for pointy toe shoes (like the Steve Madden pumps and the Sam Edelman kitten heels illustrating this article) to allow for enough wiggle room for toes.
In order to find that great pair of heels for you foot type, you have to try on many pairs that may not make you look your best. Take your time to find the right shoes – and remember there is no such thing as stretching a shoe to fit or breaking it in- heels should fit perfectly from the shelf. If in doubt about size always go bigger, your foot today is the smallest it will ever be! The only change you should make to new heels is to add foam inserts to cushion and stabilize them - that’s according to Stuart Weitzman, a man who knows shoes. I have another blog all about buying and fitting shoes called, “ HOW TO MAKE YOUR HIGH HEELS COMFORTABLE- ADVICE FOR HIGH HEEL SHOE BUYERS FROM STUART WEITZMAN”
The three shoes illustrating this post are by Steve Madden (the pumps & the sandals) and Sam Edelman (the sling backs). All the shoes are made from soft leather (the sandals) or suede, which is the best material for shoes. It is a soft, breathable material that hugs your foot yet maintains its’ shape and is best at holding your foot in place inside your shoe. The nude look in heels is very popular and easy to fit into any shoe wardrobe as a staple. Each of the heel styles shown can be worn easily with either jeans, slacks or a skirt. In a kitten heel at 2” the sling back is barely a high heel, yet it works as well as a higher heel with dresses and skirts including formal dresses. Kitten heels were often worn with dresses by the former USA First Lady Michelle Obama. She always looked great.
Heel height and style? Need for high heel inserts? If I was buying a nude heel I would opt for the pump, but rather than a 4.75” heel I would choose a 3 “ heel for the sake of my ankles. I would also kit it out with my Killer Heels Comfort inserts for sneaker type comfort. Three inch heels are not exactly ‘ killer heels’ but they do have a ramp inside that is at a significant angle. The Steve Madden pump is a well designed shoe, as per the reviews, so a 3” version of the same brand is also likely to be good.
All of the nude heels shown will need high heel inserts to relieve pressure on the ball of the foot, keep the heel of the foot inside the heel of the shoe and to ‘defy’ gravity. The sling backs will need the front of heel insert with a notch in it to keep the heel from moving side to side. The sandal will need the inserts so that the strap does not need to be constantly adjusted - which can be so annoying -and don't get me started with ankle tie shoes! With inserts the strap can be left slightly loose and will not cut into the ankle. ( See customer reviews about the three styles of shoes. The reviews bring out the problems found in each of these shoes. These problems can be fixed with well placed inserts, and of course by first buying the correct size of shoe!)
Here are some of the things that worked for me when shopping for a flattering and well fitting pair of shoes such as the ones here: (a similar shoe that I recently bought was a 3” heel, Cole Haan, silver grey leather pump with a pointed toe and narrow ankle strap)
Unedited customer reviews of the Steve Madden pumps & sandals, & the Sam Edelman sling backs from shoe retailers websites:
Steve Madden pump - 4.75” heel.
LOVE X A MILLION I purchased the suede black pumps- very comfortable and super flattering. The pointy-toe is a classic look and I wear them casual as well as dress them up for work. Considering purchasing one of each color!
Love this shoe!! I am a 7.5 but had to bump it up to an 8.5 for comfort (they recommend sizing up). I don't wear hose, so I always like a little more room to slip in. 8.5 is perfect!! It's a beautiful shoe!!
These shoes are beautiful and I love the material however they do run small. I usually wear an 8 and that was too tight for me, would recommend going up a whole size.
LOVE!!!! I have slightly wider feet (size 6) so my toes hurt at the end of the day but love the way these shoes look and feel. Worth the pain at the end of the day!
I bought these shoes in rose gold, and the color is beautiful and the shoe itself is adorable, but these are the most uncomfortable shoes I have ever purchased. I received many compliments on them, but they are so awfully uncomfortable I don't think I will ever wear them again. They are very flat on the front part of the foot and it felt like they were pushing my entire foot forward. Cute, but not worth the unwalkable pain.
Sam Edelman sling back ‘kitten heel’ - 2” heel
At 5'11" with size 11 feet, it is difficult at best to find a good heel that looks as pretty as it is comfortable. The leather is soft and breaks in even more after wear. My first outing with these was to an event that lasted 8+ hrs and then a social gathering after for another few and I can say it was the first time EVER where the next morning I didn't wake up feeling like I had worn heels (aka dying feet) the day before. These pretty little guys are my secret weapon and give just enough style and formality of a heel without being sky high.
Steve Madden sandal with ankle strap - 4” heel
amazing shoes! These shoes are amazing. I own 4 pairs and they are super comfortable. I could walk on these for a really long time and won't get tired. I'm usually a size 6 but I get a 6 1/2 because I don't like my toes hanging out. I don't know about other ppl but for me it has a great arch support.
Love! These shoes are perfect for everything brunch with the girls to date night. They are super comfy and I always get compliments! I got the taupe color but may get more.
Comfortable & Stylish Bought these in blush/nude for a wedding and they did not disappoint. The block heel allows for hours of comfortable wear. They look chic and stylist with any outfit. I plan to buy in more colors for the the fall/winter season.
Great shoes These shoes are great! So comfortable and true to size. I wore these to a wedding and was dancing the whole time. Highly recommend!
Great shoe. Fit true to size. Comfortable for heels.
Great Sandal I luv these Steve Madden Carrson sandals!! They're perfect...the fit is good, the heel height is good, and they're comfortable!! They can be dressed up or down!! I have them in every color!! Waiting on the burgundy ones in Sep!! I usually wear a 9 in Steve Madden....but I prefer these in 9.5!
Go with everything These shoes are great. They are 4 inches so be prepared they are not the most comfortable. However, the chunky heel makes up for that somewhat. I have the grey and they are sleek and go with everything.
Adorable, but beauty is pain - Adorable shoe! Super flattering, looks amazing, and works with all outfits, both casual and formal but not comfortable! Not a shoe for lots of walking or standing; they need to be taken off after a few hours.
So cute but very uncomfortable. Heel is too high and lacks any foot bed support. I think a bit of a platform would have helped. Had to return
These shoes are so uncomfortable! I could not wear for more than an hour. There is zero padding in the ball of the foot. I do NOT recommend!
They HURT alot. the back constantly rubs on the back of your heel and the strap is either too lose or too tight. Would return if I could.
These shoes look great but are very uncomfortable, and I wear heels ALL the time. The bottom of my feet felt raw after a night in these, and the ankle strap kept moving so the buckle was at the front of my leg. I had to adjust it the entire night. I will never wear them again!
There are many bad hacks for high heels put forward on the internet as 'helpful advice' from bloggers for desperate high heel shoe wearers.who want pain relief. Three common bad hacks are splinting of toes, wearing thick socks inside high heels, and stretching too tight high heels by freezing water inside them. Believing and carrying out the bad hack of taping toes or wearing thick socks to stretch shoe may permanently damage your feet to that you can't wear any shoes at all - flats or high heels - without pain. For the bad hack of freezing water in tight shoes to make them fit well - the harm is in believing that too tight high heel shoes can be made to fit properly and continue to buy too tight high heels !