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High Heel Heaven: Banish Pain and Hold Your Head Up High

Many women love to put on a tall pair of heels and enjoy the confidence their extra height gives them. But is it really a matter of ‘no pain, no gain’?

A survey by the College of Podiatry found that one in five wearers of heels said their footwear became painful in just 10 minutes, while more than one in three said their shoes had caused such bad pain on a night out that they had walked home barefoot.

Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of the long legs, gorgeous calves and extra inches you get from heels while keeping your feet pain-free and perfect. Want to know how? Read on!


7 tips to pain-free heel heaven

  1. Start low

If you’re new to heels, don’t go straight for a 5 inch stiletto!

Start with heels of around two or three inches and, when you feel comfortable balancing and walking in those, consider ‘up’grading.

  1. Try different designs and styles

If you find stilettos painful, consider a wider heel, or vice versa.

Some women find that wedge heels can be easier to walk in, while others prefer thinner, more spiky heels. Try a range of shoes on in a shop and walk round for a few minutes in each; which style suits your foot shape and weight distribution best?

With pointed shoes, your feet should still have plenty of room; the point should only start to get thinner at the end of your toes. Many women find open-toe or rounded-toe designs more comfortable, especially if they have wide feet.

  1. Always try before you buy

Online shopping is wonderful but, where high-heeled shoes are concerned, going into a store and trying them on is always best.

Sizes vary from brand to brand and it is important that the shoe doesn’t pinch or rub anywhere on your foot. If you can’t walk in a pair of heels in the shop, you won’t be able to walk in them at home or out on the town either!

If in doubt, get a pair that is slightly too big rather than slightly too small. Insoles and gel cushions can help to fill the space and make a larger pair perfectly snug.

  1. Get the right insoles

Gel or foam inserts such as 9 to 5 insoles and Everyday can work wonders on sore, aching feet.

Designed to fit perfectly into the sole of your shoe, these insoles are shaped to help to prevent blisters, to keep pressure off certain areas of your foot (such as the arch, ball or heel of your foot) and to stop your feet sliding around in your shoe.

  1. Stretch!

If you already own a pair of heels that you love but they are far too tight for comfort, take them to a cobbler who will happily stretch them for you for a minimum outlay. You can also invest in your own shoe stretcher from as little as £7 or £8 – try your local pharmacy.

  1. Stand tall

Posture is important, especially when wearing tall heels.

If nothing else, you are wearing them because you want to feel a bit glam, so dragging your feet with your shoulders slumped forward just isn’t the look you are going for!

Stand up straight and hold your shoulders back. Imagine a cotton thread running up your spine that is pulling up through your head and keeping your neck straight. Don’t tense up; relax and keep your arms, hips and spine flexible.

  1. Recover

If, despite all the advice above, your feet are objecting to your footwear at the end of a long day at work, avoid the temptation to slip them into a steaming hot bath.

For feet that are swollen, sore or red, fill the bottom of your bath or a foot spa with cold water instead and soak them in there. This will help to reduce the swelling and ease the ache.


Finish off with some luxurious foot cream and pamper your toes so that, tomorrow, they will be ready to face another day!


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