Oh, heels. The struggle, the torment, the absolute horror, of living in a world where it is essential for working women and college tramps alike to wear heels. They are beautiful, no doubt, but at what cost? We are forced to risk our safety and comfort to be perceived as “more feminine.” Tragic, really. And not only that, but every girl knows the pain and heartache of breaking in your heels the first week you buy them. And equally as painful, we all have that friend that can’t walk in them and it literally hurts to watch them try.
Besides paying the price of these shoes with our sore feet and embarrassment after a cork wedge-related fall, you literally pay the price at the checkout counter, because they cost more money than any other kind of shoe on the market as a whole. So if you don’t have someone to rub your sore, aching feet at night after a full day in patent-leather stilettos, how does one cope?
1. Wear slightly lower heels.
Or if that’s really not an option, try to get platforms instead of flat-soles. (Really, it, helps.) In a pinch, instead of ditching your passion for the highest and most vertically glorious shoes, you can always stash a pair of flats in your bag for the Hail Mary at 2 a.m.
2. Buy removable inserts.
We all see them at DSW near the registers and none of us buy them because we are collectively poor. However, it is absolutely pertinent that you invest in these if you are looking to walk down a comfier road. (Buy your shoes half a size larger and double-up on the inserts if you really want to get comfy.)
3. Cotton balls + paper tape = Godsend
There are those “foot cushions” that are supposed to be “cuter” and more “stylish” than a Dr. Scholl’s situation. But if you are a woman of the world (and I know that you are), you are no pansy and will refuse to buy something so ridiculous. Use tape or band-aids and cotton balls before you would go out and buy that, I beg you.
4. Buy some fuzzy socks from Target or Wal-Mart.
Scratch that, definitely go to Wal-Mart, we’re going for cheap here. You can also use some thicker socks lying around your house, but make sure they’re not faded because you don’t want to be that embarrassed if they fall out of your shoe in public. Cut about 2x3in. rectangles that you can fold up and slip into the places that might irritate you. I’ve seen special band aids to prevent blisters, but only spend the money on those if all other options have failed you.
5. “Sock-ing Stuffers”
For some first-day prep to break in your shoes, try stuffing socks into the places that squeeze and leaving them overnight to stretch, or wear your new shoes around the house while wearing gym socks.
6. The bend-and-blow.
It sounds like it could be coined in a bad Reese Witherspoon movie, but it is much more complex than that, I assure you. To make your shoes a little more flexible, try bending them upwards and downwards a few times to loosen them up. Then, use your hair dryer on them for about two minutes, and bend again. This will alleviate a lot of stiffness you have to break through the first week.
7. Invest in pointe shoe pads.
Really, ballerinas have the most intense high heel situation imaginable (especially in that there is no actual heel to support them as they do their thing.) If there’s a dance store you can raid (or if you just want to search Amazon) invest in pads you can swap from shoe to shoe. This only works if your shoes are closed-toed, but they’ll make any heel comfortable.
8. Go to a shoe repair shop.
Really, it’s like tailoring for your heels. You can get the bottom reinforced so you don’t slip, they’ll be able to fit pads in that won’t slip and wear down, and they can stretch out the places that pinch all in a one-stop shop. And replace the heel whenever the plastic cap gets even slightly worn down. Replacing the cap is easy, and usually fixes all of your balance problems in one go; replacing the entire heel is much, much harder.