Party season means countless occasions on which to wear all those sparkly, impractical, towering heels. Safeguard your look (and your feet) with these expert tips and products, like where to get the best inserts, for getting through the night without winding up as the barefoot girl on the dance floor.
1. Choose your shoes wisely
“When making a footwear purchase, I would urge you to pay extra special attention to the way the shoe feels, not just the way it looks,” says shoe designer Paul Andrew, who includes memory padding to cushion the ball of the foot in all his designs. “You should always feel balanced and centred. If the shoe feels too narrow, too loose or a strap feels like it is positioned in a peculiar place, you will almost certainly regret the purchase.”
2. It’s all in the details
Comfort doesn’t mean you have to resort to orthopaedic shoes (and we know you weren’t planning on it anyway) but you should look for these three details, according to podiatrist Suzanne Levine: extra padding in the insole and an all-over thicker sole, a heel base that isn’t needle thin (the wider the base, the more comfortable the shoe) and a maximum height of three inches. “Only try on and buy shoes at midday,” says Levine. “It’s a compromise as your feet swell during the day.” Any excuse for a lunchtime shopping trip.
3. Plan ahead
Since heels distribute most of your weight onto the ball of your foot, that’s where you’re going to feel pain first. Offset it with a pair of thin gel insoles – these keep your feet from slipping and aren’t visible in even the strappiest of sandals.
Buy: Heels’R US invisible pop-art cushions
4. Rough up the soles
It sounds very strange, but take a cheese grater to your expensive new shoes to prevent you slipping around too easily on the smooth soles, especially if you are going to be walking or dancing on carpet. The A-list swear by the technique.
5. Don’t wear them for too long
Sarah Jessica Parker – who is infamous for her love of high heels – has some very apt words of advice. “It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing the world’s best shoes, being on the ball of your foot all day is going to hurt,” Parker told Instyle. “I say take them off at every available opportunity – under the table at a restaurant, at your desk, in your car.”
Solution: Get a pair of Foldable Flats
6. Take action
A menthol and camphor spray will temporarily relieve any burning and pain, allowing you an extra hour or two of dancing. In case of emergency invest in some plasters in chic, artful prints.
7. Recovery time
Soaking your feet and legs in a cool peppermint bath right after you take off your heels and before you go to bed – and then following it up with a nourishing balm – is like hitting the reset button.