How to Make Heels More Comfortable

When it comes to shopping for high-heeled shoes, comfort is key. But what do you do if you're not keen on the brands or styles that offer the best comfort? Or if that perfect pair of heels for your dress isn't exactly built with comfort in mind? These simple tips will help you customize or adjust your favorite pair of high heels so you can wear them without pain.

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Comfort Tip: Fit

Trying on shoes
Getty/JGI/Jamie Grill

No matter how the shoe is designed, fit is always the best way to achieve comfort. When trying on shoes, wear them around the store for a short walk and make sure that each part of the shoe fits your foot. Evaluate the arch, toe, heel, and ball of the foot separately. Each part of the shoe matters when it comes to comfort. Be sure you choose the shape, style, height, and width that fits well. You can also use inserts or pads, such as an arch support, to create a more customized fit. Wear what fits well and feels great — always!

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Inserts and Pads

Dr. Scholl's High Heel Relief
Dr. Scholl's

If you're pounding the pavement and walking a lot in your high heels, try wearing an insert. Dr. Scholl's is well known for their shoe comfort accessories. This brand has a vast array of inserts and pads that you can purchase at almost any drug store, including some for the sole of the shoe, cushion for the ball, and even a barrier between the back of the shoe and your heel. Try the Stylish Step High Heel Relief Insoles in your favorite pair of heels for a dose of comfort.

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Strap In

Strappy sandals
Getty/Ruth Jenkinson/Dorling Kindersley

For some high heel wearers, wearing a shoe with laces, straps, or ties aids in comfort. This is especially true if the laces or straps are adjustable. The thought is that wrapping more of the foot in well fitting support contributes to a better fit, or that the straps will aid in keeping the shoe in place, both of which lead to more comfort.

Try an ankle strap, elastic criss-cross straps, a tie, or even a lace-up shoe for more comfort.

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Wide, Sturdy Heel

Born Heels
Born

It turns out that it's not the length of your heel that's the most important factor in comfort, it's the width. Many high heel lovers turn to a wider heel, like a block heel, to distribute their weight and walk on sturdy support. Try the Motola Heel from comfortable brand, Born. You can walk down the street or stride around the office with comfort and confidence!

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Break Them in

Blow dryer at salon
Getty/Vetta/Alina555

One way to make your heels more comfortable is to wear them in. Wear them around the house, wear them to run an errand, or even for a walk around the block before you wear them all night to a big event. To speed up the process, if your shoes are made from a sturdy leather material, you can even blow dry them! "The heat from the blow dryer can make it easier to break in an uncomfortable pair of heels", says Lexie Nicole, a part time pole fitness instructor. She suggests this to her students: 

1. Warm the shoes with a blowdrier
2. Make sure the temperature is skinsafe and put the shoes on
3. Don’t walk around, that can stretch out the shoe! Just put your feet up and let them cool.
4. Enjoy not getting as many blisters  

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Exercise

Correct Toes
Correct Toes

Sarah DeGrave, a certified Restorative Exercise Specialist, suggests treating high-heeled shoes like a decadent dessert. "Throw them on occasionally as an indulgence (or perhaps a requisite of work), but don't let them be the staple of your footwear 'diet'," she cautions. 

She also suggests some products for pain relief, like foot alignment socksCorrect Toes, or other toe spacers when not wearing your heels. And, regular stretching and exercises can help, too. DeGrave notes a few simple exercises from Katy Bowman, and also suggests: "keep a half foam roller somewhere you might find yourself standing around for a few minutes, say in the bathroom while you brush your teeth, so you can calf stretch while going about your day — I keep one out on my living room floor and do this while watching tv!"

Remember, high heels don't just affect your feet. They can also cause pain in your calves, hips, pelvis, and back. So make sure you're choosing comfortable heels and taking breaks!