The potential pain and misery heels can inflict on your feet often make people second guess whether or not that stunning pair of heels in the store window is worth it.
If you are wondering how to make high heels more comfortable, take a look at the following guide. We’ll cover 16 simple ways to help you wear your favorite pair of heels anytime, anywhere, and for as long as you like.
1. Wear Your Heels in
The perfect pair of high heels is a work of art for some. In addition to being a fun piece of clothing, they are a great way to add personality, sass, and confidence to any outfit and any occasion.
Despite this, high heels are not exactly known for being comfortable footwear. The shape of most high heels increases the amount of pressure on the ball of the feet and the toes. Depending on the material and the style, high heels can also rub painfully on the skin of the foot and the back of the heel, causing painful blisters.
The first step in learning how to make new high heels more comfortable is by wearing them in. As tempting as it may be to strap on that shiny new pair of heels the second you get them home, this isn’t the best idea. You may find yourself experiencing pinched toes and throbbing blisters before you’ve reached your final destination.
There are several tricks you can try to wear your heels in. The most common way to stretch out heels is to put on a pair or two of thick socks and wear the heels around the house. Another common trick is to stuff your stockinged feet into the heels and apply medium heat to the shoes with a hairdryer.
It is also advisable to slip the heels on in the evening after being on your feet all day. Your feet naturally expand as you stand and walk throughout the course of a day and will help gently stretch out the shoes before you wear them for an extended period.
Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time or number of wears recommended to try these tricks out. Every foot and every shoe is different, meaning you may have to experiment a little bit as you break your high heels in.
2. Buy Adjustable Shoe Trees or a Shoe Stretcher
You can speed up the wearing process by stretching out your new high heels with an adjustable shoe tree.
Shoe trees are foot-shaped devices typically made of plastic, wood, or aluminum. Depending on the style, you can adjust the shoe tree in various ways, which can help to stretch out shoes in width and length. Once you insert these into a shoe, they should be initially adjusted every 12 hours to help them stretch out.
Once you’ve achieved the perfect fit, you can reinsert the foot tree to help shoes maintain their original shape. Shoe trees are also helpful for drying out shoes, particularly ones made of cedarwood, and avoiding unsightly creases and cracks. It can prolong the look and life of your favorite heels.
Adjustable shoe trees vary in price and quality, although a standard one costs less than $30.
3. Wear Padded Inserts
Padded inserts are another inexpensive way to avoid discomfort, particularly if you plan to be on your feet all day long. Generally speaking, these inserts offer additional support throughout the foot and provide a cushioned sole. Some even claim to be able to reduce lower back and leg pain from excessive wear.
Gel or padded inserts come in various shapes and materials, but all are designed with practicality and long-term comfort in mind.
Padded inserts are also great for individuals who suffer from conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, poor posture, or shin splints, all of which can worsen by wearing high-heeled shoes.
The best-padded inserts contour the foot and are easy to apply. They will alleviate the common pains associated with wearing high heels, including blisters, aching joints, and arch or heel pain.
When selecting padded inserts, consider the type of material and whether or not they are antimicrobial to avoid smelly shoes. It is also important to think about the kind of shoe you plan to wear the insert in, as some inserts work best with lower heel heights.
Find one that can be permanently attached to the shoe’s sole to avoid slippage or to keep it from being visible when you walk.
4. Opt for Shorter Heels
High heels don’t have to be 8-inch tall stilettos to be attractive pieces of footwear. Although shorter heels will still shift your balance and affect the biomechanics of your stride, shorter and chunkier heels provide a more extensive base for support.
Generally speaking, the most comfortable heel height ranges from 1.2 to 3.5 inches. If you want to wear heels without experiencing extreme or lingering pain, aim for a heel of no more than 3-inches.
5. Wear Heel Grips or Cushion Pads
Fit is an essential part of ensuring a comfortable fit in any shoe, but especially with high heels. Heel grips are a simple insert made of foam and a piece of soft outer fabric with an ergonomic design that replicates the shape of the heel. They are perfect for preventing rubbing and blisters and provide an extra layer of cushion for a generally comfier feel.
Furthermore, if you can’t find the heels of your dreams in a half size, heel grips are a great way to help you get the fit you’re looking for. They combine anti-slip, sweat-wicking technology, and padding with extra comfort to provide a more comfortable high heel suitable for your actual foot size.
6. Focus on Your Stride
Walking in heels may initially require more focus and thought if you want to be able to move about in them comfortably.
Focus on keeping your stride shorter and smaller than you would in a pair of flats. If you do this correctly, you will likely find yourself moving slower or with an increased number of steps. Each step should shift from the heel-toe to the toe-heel as well.
Additionally, you will want to make sure that you adjust your posture so that you are leaning back slightly as you walk. Due to the way high heels fit and feel, you may find yourself leaning forward to compensate for walking faster than the shoes will allow. Focusing on adjusting your posture in the opposite direction will help keep you balanced and your stride more comfortable.
7. Utilize Heel Protectors for Extra Stability
If you’re a high-heel novice, you may need a little extra stability to walk comfortably in high heels. Thankfully, high-heel protectors exist. These narrow stoppers are typically made of clear, durable plastic and slide easily over the bottom portion of the shoe’s heel.
Heel protectors have a broader base that helps give your foot more surface area to stand on. This feature keeps you from rolling your ankles or feeling wobbly and works best with stilettos or narrow heels. These protectors are handy when you have to wear high heels on soft surfaces like grass as they keep the heel from sinking into the dirt.
Heel protectors come in different shapes and colors as well, so you can be sure to find a fit that works best for your specific color and type of heel.
8. Invest in an Anti-Blister Stick
Anti-blister sticks are an inexpensive way to bypass the repetitive friction caused by your high heels rubbing against your skin. While most blisters result from ill-fitting shoes, feet swelling due to high heat can occasionally cause blisters.
To avoid this, simply apply the cool balm to the areas of your foot that will come into contact with the heel and are likely to rub. The balm acts as a lubricant and creates a moisturizing barrier between the skin and the shoe, forcing the shoe’s material to simply glide over the skin.
Anti-blister sticks are inexpensive and portable enough to be transported in a purse, backpack, or stored in the glove box of your car.
If you’re desperate, slapping gel deodorant on the areas where the shoes are rubbing will also prevent uncomfortable chaffing.
9. Tape Your Toes Together
If you need to figure out how to make high heels more comfortable, a strange but helpful trick is to tape your third and fourth toes together. Taping your toes together with 1-inch wide medical tape is believed to relieve nerve pressure that causes heel pain.
Although this isn’t a miracle cure to high heel pain, it will extend the amount of time you can stand and walk around in your favorite pair of high heels pain-free. Plus, you likely already have the tape in your home’s first aid kit.
10. Try Shoe Stretch Spray
If you want to know how to make high heels more comfortable when made of leather, canvas, or suede, you could try spritzing them with transparent shoe stretch spray.
Shoe stretch spray works to soften the fabric without staining it. Simply spray your shoes down generously with your chosen spray and then put them on immediately afterward to wear until they dry.
Some manufacturers recommend wearing thick socks inside of the shoes after spraying, although a foot tree would also work in this instance. You can repeat this process as many times as you want until you get the exact fit that you’re looking for.
11. Use Moleskin Adhesives
Moleskin adhesives are a multi-purpose device that can help you if you’re wondering how to make high heels more comfortable. Use Moleskin to cover existing blisters and to prevent future chafing or sores.
These are pieces of heavy, durable cotton fabric with an adhesive backing. They can be applied anywhere on the foot or inside of the shoe. However, people usually stick them to the back of the shoe’s heel. They are stickier and sturdier than bandaids and also give feet an additional layer of cushioning.
Moleskin adhesives are easy to apply. Simply clean the area around the blister or tender spot and apply a Moleskin adhesive that is about 1-inch larger than the area you’d like to cover. Cut the adhesive so that it is the right shape and apply it using the sticky backing.
If you know where your feet tend to get blisters when you wear high heels, you can also apply pieces of Moleskin directly to those areas of your feet as a preventative measure.
12. Insert Heel Pads
If you find yourself wearing a pair of heels that are just a smidge too large, you can help adjust the fit by inserting heel pads. Heel pads are made of a sponge-like material and come in black and other nude colors. They have a cylinder design and adhesive backs, which you can stick directly to the back of the shoe.
Despite their thickness, heel pads are generally discreet, and you can use them in a variety of shoe types. As a bonus, heel pads are soft and cushioned enough to help prevent heel blisters from friction.
13. Purchase Foot Spray
If you don’t want to mess around with Moleskin adhesives in your quest to establish how to make high heels more comfortable, you could try a foot spray designed to block friction. The spray essentially creates an invisible bandage-like barrier on your foot, preventing blisters and irritation from persistent rubbing.
Other foot sprays usually contain ingredients like menthol and aloe, which help reduce swelling and limit the amount of pain you experience when wearing heels.
However, it is never a good idea to use actual numbing spray on your feet, especially if you have a medical condition like diabetes. The numbing spray will successfully block pain receptors, but this can lead to you accidentally ignoring injuries like stress fractures or severe skin damage.
14. Wear Toe Protectors
Toe protectors are gel or silicone cushions that slip over the top of the foot, with a separate sleeve for the big toe. In addition to providing extra cushion, toe protectors alleviate some of the pressure that high heels can put on the ball of the foot. They also create a barrier to prevent blisters and metatarsal joint pain.
15. Consider Wedges or Platform High Heels
As cute as a pair of sky-high stilettos might be, they aren’t exactly known for their long-term comfortability. Consider a more comfortable shoe style like a wedge or platform heel if you’re looking for a pair of heels that can withstand the strain of long walks, commutes, or hours on your feet.
The thick, chunky heel on wedges and similar styles give you a broader base to walk on and arch support, helping keep you more balanced and steady. They also usually come in strappy styles that tie or buckle at the ankle. The additional support these elements provide also helps take the pressure off of the balls of your feet.
16. Ensure the Best Fit
It may sound obvious, but one of the essential elements to ensuring a pain-free heel experience is to start by buying the correct size. Although you may wear one size in flats and sneakers, you may require a different size to accommodate the differences in a high heel. Furthermore, shoe sizing can differ slightly from one manufacturer to another.
The best way to ensure proper fit is by having your feet measured. You can have it done professionally by a podiatrist or by using a Brannock device at a shoe store.
You can also measure your feet at home using a tape measure. Simply wrap the tape measure around the widest part of your foot to get your foot width. Next, place the tape measure at the back central part of your heel to your longest toe for your exact foot length.
Keep an eye out for signs that the pair of shoes you’re trying on doesn’t fit. If your toes feel cramped or are overlapping within the toe box, you may be trying on shoes that are too tight. Shoes that fit will allow for space between each of your toes and enable them to face forward.
Shoes with round or square toe boxes will typically be more comfortable and easier to find a good fit.
How To Make High Heels More Comfortable, Closing Thoughts
It can be challenging to brave a stylish pair of heels after years of blisters and aching joints. However, wearing fashionable footwear doesn’t have to mean extreme discomfort or outright pain. There are numerous tips and tricks which you can try to help circumvent the pain. From liquid bandages and breaking in your heels before wearing them to taking the time for accurate foot measurements, learning how to make high heels more comfortable is simple