Part of what I love about my job is the amount of teaching I get to do. A client will know more after working with me, which is very gratifying. One area of instruction that is de rigueur involves heels, specifically ‘how the hell am I supposed to wear these??’ Below are my 5 talking points on how to wear high heels, whether you’re a total novice or simply out of practice.
Confirm your size- I can’t even guess the number of clients who thought they were one size but were really another. Or who required a wide shoe and had no idea. Have you given birth? Chances are your feet changed size. Take a few minutes to visit a local cobbler and measure both feet!
Platform- The trick to wearing high heels comfortably is to find the ones with a small platform (1/4-1″) built into the base of the shoe (corresponding to the ball of your foot). It not only minimizes the effect of the heel height, it absorbs much of the shock when your feet pound the pavement. The good news is that nearly all the top designers (perhaps save for Manolo Blahnik) feature a few platform styles (Prada specifically does this very well), so you shouldn’t have to sacrifice looks for comfort.*
Heel style- A stiletto heel (pictured above) is the hardest to walk in and wear comfortably. Ditto an ankle-strap. If you know you are inexperienced in the world of heels, I would recommend scrubbing the stiletto completely. Instead, look for a thicker heel (pictured below). If you can find one with a small platform like these from Stuart Weitzman, you’re in good shape.
Practice- We’ve all seen that girl; most of us have been that girl, the one stumbling around, taking clunky, awkward steps where the shoes are wearing us, not the other way around. To successfully walk in heels, it’s simple: you must practice. What does that look like? Walk around your house for an hour doing your work, or laundry or cooking dinner- do this every day/other day until it feels more natural and comfortable. Focus on balance, keeping your leg muscles tight and constricting your core. It’s not rocket science, but don’t expect your shoes to do all the work; your body needs to help.
Expectations- This is simple: high heels will never feel like flats, not even with all the ‘Nike Air technology’ in the world. If you’re wearing them, you’re simply going to have to accept this fact and be ok with walking less, sitting more, driving farther. You’re going to have to pull up your big girl panties, stop complaining, and accept that you’re trading the comfort of your flats for a few short hours and that this trade is worth it!
*A word of caution with the platforms: be discerning! About 3 years ago, platforms trended with an exaggerated style, a look that closely resembled stripper heels. This look is still available among many of the top designers and it’s definitely not one I’d recommend.