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 - and apparently will believe anything. 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.
BAD HACK # 1. Splinting the 2nd and 3rd toes (or the 3rd and 4th) toes together by wrapping tape around them is supposed to make wearing high heels more comfortable by cutting off pain sensing nerves from parts of the foot. The hack is bad because splinting may damage the nerves of the forefoot especially if the toes are kept splinted for many hours or walked on. Splinted together toes may seem to help a foot in high heels to be more comfortable in a pointy toe shoe for a little while because the bigger object of two toes splinted together will not slide forwards into the pointed end of the toe box as easily as a smaller object such as individual toes. Toes that are tightly splinted together may also not crowd under each other and may stay flatter and not bend to chafe against the roof of the toe box. Although splinted toes won't be able to fit as far forwards in pointy shoes they will still press into the sides of the toe box crushing the forefoot from side to side. Taping toes together does not relieve any pain from the ball of the foot. ( Only additional cushioning under the ball of the foot will help the ball of the foot be more comfortable.) According to.podiatrists there seems to be no evidence or science to back up toes taping, and ultimately it doesn’t stop the toes from being crammed and the metatarsals will still pinch which can lead to neuroma (chronic pain from permanently pinched nerves of the foot.)
BAD HACK # 2. Wearing thick socks inside high heeled shoes that are too tight to stretch the shoes. Wearing thick socks inside high heeled shoes will squeeze the foot. The squeezing of the fore foot may cause nerve damage which can become chronic and bending and crushing of the toes will cause pain in the toes. The thicker the socks and the tighter the shoe the more damage is being done to the foot. The damage is similar to damage from wearing high heels where the foot is sliding forwards crushing the forefoot and toes - but is accelerated. Most of the pain from high heels - assuming the shoes are correctly designed- is from high heels that are too small by being too short, the insole is too hard or the foot slides forwards crushing the forefoot and toes. It will not help make the shoes more comfortable on these dimensions no matter how many thick socks you wear inside your high heels because they will never stretch in length, the insole will never become more cushioned or the foot will not be stopped from sliding forwards.
Much pain in high heels is from the ball of the foot pressing down onto a hard insole without enough cushioning or the insole has cheap cushioning such as memory foam that flattens very quickly after a few wearings. Pain in high heels is also from the foot sliding forwards crushing the forefoot and the toes, and when the foot moves forwards it moves out of proper position at the heel end of the shoe causing blisters at the heel and an unstable shoe that doesn't fit properly,
BAD HACK # 3. Freezing shoes with a bag of water in the toe box to stretch the toe box of the shoes as the water freezes. If the toes of the shoes are pointed downwards and the shoes are propped up into that position the freezing ice will expand upwards into the open arch area of the shoe, not downwards towards the toe end of the shoe. The shoe will not stretch at all in this position and the hack will be a failure. The ice will have taken the shape of the toe box but there will be no difference in the dimension of the shoe.
For the hack to work the shoes have to be placed in the freezer with the toe pointed upwards and the entire shoe filled with water bags with no air pockets in the toe end of the shoes. After the entire shoe is filled with water bags the entry to the shoe must be blocked so the expanding ice has no empty spaces to expand into and must expand against the inside of the shoe and thus in theory stretch the shoe.
Even if the shoe and the water bags are arranged so the ice expands the shoes, the shoes are unlikely to stretch in the desired areas or stretch evenly. Instead of stretching the shoe the expanding ice is more likely to break the shoe apart at the seams or where the upper is attached to the insole. Water freezes from the outside towards the inside of a container, therefore the bags of ice would begin to freeze at the tip of the toe of the shoe expanding the shoe in the opposite direction as is desired. This hack as presented in blogs appears to not be informed on how water freezes or expands or how the shoe must be prepared to ensure that the expanding ice is contained. Furthermore most materials shrink, not stretch when they are frozen and material such as patent leather is more likely to break or crack in cold than stretch. Water damage to the shoes may be caused because if there is no air space inside the water bags, which there cannot be or the hack won't work, the bags will break and when they thaw water will be in the shoes.
Hack # 3 is bad because it may encourage women to buy high heeled shoes that are too small in the misguided belief that the shoes can be properly 'stretched' to fit. They are likely to waste their money on shoes they cannot wear comfortably , or damage the shoes so badly that they can't even donate them to someone who wears a smaller size and could wear them comfortably. It's best to buy shoes that are the correct size, or even a tad big. For any high heel shoe put in specialized inserts made for high heels made from rebounding foam. Every high heel needs cushioning under the ball of the foot even if your foot never slides forward. Gel inserts or insoles are not as good as rebounding foam inserts. Gel inserts are too hard, too bulky, slip out of place and compromise toe function and fit making toes hurt and high heels more wobbly. Resin insoles have the same drawbacks.
Thus the 'harm' to the foot from any of the hacks 1, 2, or 3 is that by believing the hacks women may harm their feet in trying to alleviate pain, or buy high heels in too small sizes in the belief that they can be 'stretched' by this hack or that hack or some other method to fit perfectly. No high heels can ever be successfully stretched to fit - with the one tiny exception of soft leather shoes that can be successfully stretched in a small area such as over a bunion or a hammer toe to give that foot bump-out a little bit more space. Overall stretching of a shoes width will just distort it, rip it or tear the top away from the bottom. And of course the length of a shoe can never be changed by stretching it.
It is far, far better to buy high heel shoes that fit properly or if you have to err because you don't know your size or you are halfway between sizes, then, err by going bigger and put in a contoured PORON foam cushion with a toe grip. That's a WIN, WIN, WIN. Your foot will be comfortable on length with enough toe room, plus your foot is stopped from sliding forward by the toe grip, and your foot is provided with rebounding cushioning under the ball of the foot that never flattens. Your entire high heel shoe will be stabilized too so you will be unlikely to lose your Louboutins.
When a customer wrote in an Amazon review that the ball of foot inserts I sold were "like magic" I was inspired to write a scientific explanation about the impact on foot comfort from using rebounding PORON foam shoe inserts. I answer the question of how do the inserts work? How can tiny 2.5" x 1/4 " pieces of foam hold back the full weight of a grown woman when her feet are on steep slanted ramps, AKA high heel shoes? And in addition to holding back the feet from sliding forwards the shoe inserts cushion the foot, make walking with a natural gait in heels possible, make legs less tired, keep slides on feet and stabilize high heels so they don't wobble!