Walking in high heels is like walking down a steep ramp with your foot pushed by gravity forward in your shoes and most of your weight borne by the balls of your feet. The longer you walk the wobblier your shoes get as your foot is displaced from its’ optimal position.
The steepness of the ramp - which is making walking difficult- is determined by the heel-toe drop, which is the difference in height between the underside of the heel of the foot and the underside of the ball of the foot. The heel-toe drop alters the orientation of your feet. You have two options, which are to stop walking in high heels or use high heel shoe inserts to help counter the negative impact of a steep ramp.
1. There are three common styles of high heel inserts that are functional:The simplest design is a Ball of Foot Cushion made from gel or foam with a porous surface or a textured surface that creates friction to stop forward foot slide. The ball of foot cushion also cushions the foot;
2. Another design is a patented Three Quarter Gel Insole that extends the flat surface area at the heel end of the shoe to include the arch. The wearers’ weight is borne by both the heel and by the arch. (Some gel insole designs also have a ball of foot cushion at the toe end of the insole);
3. A third design is a patented Two Part PORON Insert for Heels that keeps the heel of the foot at the heel end of the shoe, keeps the forefoot from sliding forward in the shoe and cushions the ball of the foot. The two parts work together to stabilize the foot in high heels making for a more natural gait.
To be effective all high heel inserts have to perform two functions well.
A. Provide cushioning to the ball of the foot
B. Stop the foot from moving out its’ optimal position inside the shoe.
The two functions are reinforced by each other because if the foot does not shift inside the shoe more of the weight of the wearer is borne by the heel area of the shoe, and less by the ball of the foot – this in turn makes the cushion under the ball of the foot feel more effective.
THE PROS & CONS OF ‘BALL OF FOOT’ INSERTS TO ADD COMFORT IN HEELS:
THE PROS & CONS OF ‘THREE QUARTER GEL INSOLES TO ADD COMFORT IN HEELS:
. The one piece insole is placed against the back of the shoe heel, so it is easy to put it into shoes.
. The glue does not adhere strongly so the inserts can be repositioned
THE PROS & CONS OF TWO PART ‘PORON’ INSERTS TO ADD COMFORT IN HEELS:
PODIATRISTS & SHOE MANUFACTURERS AGREE ON PROPER FIT & INSERTS
Although podiatrists and high heel shoe manufacturers are at theoretically opposite ends of the spectrum in promoting the wearing of high heels, they both agree that high heels should always fit properly and that adding foam inserts can help with shoe comfort.
Podiatrists agree that most high heel pain issues (suffered by 71% of heel wearers) are exacerbated by ill fitting or too tight shoes. Pain from high heels may lead to chronic problems that do not disappear after heels are kicked off and aching feet soaked in cold water! These are serious issues.
Aside from not wearing heels at all, there are some healthier ways to wear high heels. High on this list are high heels that fit properly and inserts. Podiatrist Dr. Mercola says to, “Avoid shoes that cause your foot to slide forward, which puts extra pressure on your toes, and choose those with a toe box wide enough to wiggle your toes. Also, consider adding a…insert to heels you already own, which may act as a shock absorber and help to reduce some of the strain on your knees” …provide extra cushioning for the ball of your foot if you need it.
Stuart Weitzman, owner of Stuart Weitzman shoes, advises about buying shoes, “...if it is not comfortable when tried on, it should be put back in the box and returned to the shelf." He adds that shoes should never be altered to fit by stretching, “The only reliable alteration to a shoe that does not hold the foot properly is to add a foam pad filler.
The best compliment I got from a customer is that my inserts "do what they are supposed to do". This sounds like it would be the least of what should be expected of a product, but many products fail this elementary test! I claim that my shoe inserts "stop your feet from slipping forward in heels", and they do.
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!
Can slides be your perfect alternative to wear instead of high heels with holiday dresses? Pretty party slides seem like the perfect solution to wear for the holidays, esp if you can't wear heels or have high heel pain. They look so comfortable! But their dainty, pretty looks can be deceiving. It will not be the heel height that will cause trouble - it's their instability. Slides are shoes you can slide into and also slide out of backwards or slide off at the sides - even when you didn't intend to.
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.