Save Our Soles

My lovely friend Abby commented on my first shoe-porn post to ask if I had any tips for wearing heels. Here they are, in all their glory.

I don’t remember when my obsession with shoes began because it was before the memory part of my brain developed. Ok, I’m exaggerating (A LITTLE). As a kid, I could not get enough of my mom’s or her friends’ high heels. I was constantly sneaking into their closets to steal them, even into my pre-teen years.

That’s right. I ride bareback, b*tches. 

Now I’m 32 and my stamina just ain’t what it used to be. I’m not ready to give them up just yet, so I do what I can to make them as comfortable as possible. Here are my tips, in no particular order…

Shoe Structure
If you like ’em high, look for something with a platform to give the illusion of height without the discomfort. I have several pairs like this that are far more comfortable than they look. For example, the shoe pictured here might look like a medieval torture device, but it is shockingly kind to my feet. I also recommend shoes with straps when possible. Your foot doesn’t have to work as hard to stay in the shoe. And yes, I am fully aware of how stupid that sentence is. Just go with it.

This is a no-brainer, but the kind of pads you buy might be a little tricky. I highly recommend the grippy rubber kind over the clear gel pads. Foot Petals are great for the ball of your foot because they add padding and grip. Buyer beware: the Target knockoffs fell apart under my feet. I mean, I know I’m a fatty but COME ON.

I also swear by heel liners, which help prevent blisters and keep your heel from slipping out of the shoe. I’ve put them in pretty much every pair of heels I own. You can find the Dr. Scholl’s version of these in drugstores. for ~$5.

Friction Reduction
A lot of brands make what you’d basically call chapstick for your feet. The Dr. Scholl’s version is called Rub Relief. You can find it in any drugstore. It reduces discomfort from friction and helps prevent blisters and other irritations. The only rub (HA!) is that it sorta, um, lubes up your feet? So depending on the shoe, you could find yourself sliding right out of them.

Backup Flats
Dr. Scholl’s makes Fast Flats, which you can also find in drugstores. I don’t own these, but a few of my friends do. They’re nice because they can roll up into a compact little ball in your purse. Wearing flats to commute is smart because it spares your feet and prevents unnecessary wear and tear on your pumps. When I have a gig, I often try to wear flats until the very last second before we go on.

Sitting Pretty
Have a seat. No, seriously, sit the f*ck down. This might seem stupid and/or obvious, but if you’re in killer heels and you know you might be on your feet a lot for an event, sit down anytime you get the chance. Even if just for a minute or two. At the bar, at the bus stop, WHEREVER. And while you’re down there? Streeeeeeeeetch those f*ckers.

The best remedy I’ve found for relieving my feet post-heels is soaking them in a hot bath and massaging/stretching them. Or, you know, get your husband to do it…

In my experience, there is nothing you can do to eliminate discomfort 100%. No pain, no gain. Right ladies? For now, the pain is worth it to me. If you prefer, you could always opt for total comfort:

Personally, I think the mental anguish of
wearing these would make plantar fasciitis
look like a friggin’ picnic. 

What tips do you have for pampering your piggies?

10 thoughts on “Save Our Soles

  1. These: are obscenely expensive (sometimes “OPRAH” gets you 30% off at checkout if you enter in the gift cart spot) but I love them so much I end up wearing flats way more than I normally would.

  2. high heels as a concept don’t bug me as much as they used to, but i still can’t stand the ones with the ridiculous extra inches of pointy front that extends beyond the toe. those just look weird and wrong to me. oh well, i’m no fashionista (fashionisto?)
    i’m weird tho, i like tall girls who wear flats *shrug*

    • I sort of subconsciously retired all my pointy-toed shoes in the last couple years. Most of them are open-toed now, which seems weird for winter but wearing them with tights makes them all-season. And of course I wear boots when the weather gets fugly. But yeah, I think the pointy-toed thing is no longer the rage. People still wear them, but not as much.

  3. Fast Flats – never heard of them, but what a great idea! Can’t tell you how many times I end up with mega blisters on the back of my heel after wearing new shoes and would do anything to tear the shoes off and put on something else – even those orthopedic velcro shoes you pictured. (Very hot, by the way.) When I wear high shoes, my lower back always hurts the next day. I’m just getting old. But luckily, stores like Naturalizer are coming around and are making shoes that are more stylish and less orthopedic looking.

    • I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a heel blister! Seriously, those heel liners WORK. You’re right, though. Retailers are catching on. And flats are in too, so that’s a plus!

  4. Foot petals huh! Do they sell those in drug stores? I’ve never seen *petals* before, but I’ve tried lots of different kinds, non-flower looking (both clear gel and also uh, beige padded?) …maybe that brand really does the trick. Definitely want to give a try.

    Never heard of that Rub Relief stuff! That’s obviously for sandal wearing right, not heels and tights? Hmmm. Yeah, I imagine that’s a really fine line between helping with friction and making it slippery and THAT is hard on your feet. When you are constantly slipping out.

    This was helpful! I feel like there should be a weekly forum, like a town meeting, so we can all look fabulous and stay away from those hideous I’ve-given-up shoes.

    Not just THOSE shoes, but (backup flats aside) …it sucks being short. I know you feel me. Like, I honestly can’t tell you HOW many times I’ve looked at pictures from FNI, or other performing gigs, or even parties where I’ve opted to wear my comfortable and super-cute flats and been like, WOW. I look like a child. And I look…squat. This isn’t a body image thing, it’s like, I look so SQUAT next to the other normal-human-sized people in the room. You know what I mean? When I have made an effort to wear 2 or 3 inch heels, it makes all the difference. I’ve been on the look-out more and more lately for solid 2 inch heels that are cute and wearable with different outfits. I haven’t been super lucky so far: right now, the style is FLAT or HIGH. We’ll see though. I will try to make the high heels comfy too.

    • I’ve not seen them in drug stores, but I know Lane Bryant has them in store. I’m not sure where else. And the Rub Relief is not for with tights, you’re correct. Def for bare feet and helps the most with painful straps.

      I would definitely attend a weekly forum. 🙂 And YES to the shortness, holy moly! Joe still makes fun of me when I’m not in heels (“you’re short!” accompanied by a stupid grin). I think you are a little shorter than I am, and your small stature doesn’t help. At least I’m chubby, which I think at lease helps a little to make me look somewhat taller! Have you checked zappos for 2-3 inch heels? I think you’re right that the trend right now is flat or super high. Seems like the shoes just keep getting higher and laughably higher. Especially now with the platform trend.

      But as I get older, I will have no choice but to relent and start wearing the shorter heel or no heel at all! I suppose the trends aren’t for old people, huh.

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