Heels That Don't Hurt: The Ultimate Guide
There comes a time in every lady’s life when the desire for comfort simply outweighs how nice her calves may look in the latest Louboutins (or H&M knock offs, depending on her budget). Blisters, sore foot balls…ain’t nobody got time for that. Seriously, you’ve probably got to walk at land-speed-record-pace to get everything done, and shoes that delay the process are not happening.
But is it possible to combine heels with comfort? Depending upon the style and brand, I posit that it is. Give these examples below a try.
Although they sound seriously unglamorous, midi heels are a great option for extra height whilst maintaining the ability to walk and also not looking like a stripper (so many high heels look cheap to me, sorry). Bonus comfort points if they have cushioning under the big toe joint like these babies from Clarks. I realize that last sentence made me sound 90 years old and I don’t care. When you get on-trend strappy black heels that you can walk and dance in for several hours, who cares if they’ve been orthopedically adapted and came from a seriously uncool store? Another benefit of being in your 40s!
Some of you may challenge me on this, and rightfully so. Wedges are the number 1 cause of broken ankles in the world. I made that up, but it could be true. We’re always advised to wear them as “safe” heel options and are therefore lulled into a false sense of security. But they can be a great option if you pick the right style and don’t go for insane platform soles (leave those to the natural high heel experts, we all know one). This version is by Loeffler Randall and is not cheap. Check out ASOS for cheaper safe wedge options.
These babies are super on trend at the moment, which is good news. They can be a stealth way of getting plenty of support, all in the name of fashion. Plus, like the ultimate distraction technique, you can get away with a lower heel when it’s super on trend and looks like Frank Gehry designed it. Fact. I love these guys from Zara.
If you’re one of those people who hate your ankles and think they’re too thick, bordering on “cankles”, you might want to skip this option. I still believe you can find a flattering option if you shop around, but I know you won’t believe me.
The ankle strap gives us extra support and avoids the shin splint feeling which heels can give if they feel like they’re falling off all the time and you’re doing weird things with your toes to avoid this. You know what I mean.
These elegant versions are from my newest discovery, LA-based Chinese Laundry. Sam Edelman has some nice versions too.
For me, it’s a fine line between style and sleaze when it comes to the platform, but it’s one worth navigating. You know the science: having a raised footbed lowers the height of the heel in comparison, thereby reducing the pressure on the balls of the feet. In other words, your feet will scream at you less the next day.
There are myriad options here so knock yourself out, but these are my favorites…
The second cousin of the platform, the flatform is another sneaky way to gain height without losing sensation in your feet. These guys are basically like walking on a flat platform (hence the name), and their comfort level will definitely depend on the flexibility of the sole and what they’re made of, so try a few out. Just a warning though, if you’re looking for sexy high heels as defined by a dude, these probably aren’t it. They are super cool though, so who cares? Maybe you do….
Cube Heels/Day Heels
Although they look a bit like old lady shoes from the 70s, these heels are actually super on-trend and very easy to wear. I make the same disclaimer about the dude definition I made above - these are unlikely to turn any man wild with lust, but you’ll probably have a load of women asking you where you got them. Priorities.
These are from Everlane, the ethical fashion brand, but frankly they’re everywhere at the moment. All those women can’t be wrong....
Having started my working life in the very early naughties, kitten heels bring on a little PTSD in me. But they’re very much back and offer a slinkier alternative to the chunky monkeys above. They still work with a suit, but can look cute with 7/8 (slightly cropped) jeans or a little black or summer dress. So pretty versatile. Purrrrfect. Sorry.
If none of these appeal to you, there are quite a few sneaky gizmos on the market that will take the pain away from your favorite but hurty heels (I don’t mean Advil, though I did see that suggested in one article about high heels, seriously!). Old favorite Dr Scholl has numerous options, but Foot Petals look less medical. These Tip Toes ball of foot inserts have an adhesive patch on the back so they won’t slip, and should be hidden from view in all of the heels above.
What are your favorite comfortable heel styles? Do you have a pair of old faithfuls you always turn to? Send testimonials and pics - you’ll be doing a public service. And check out the myriad other choices on our Pinterest board.