Treat your feet to heels

Do you feel more Liz Lemon than Carrie Bradshaw when it comes to high heels? With the possibility of holiday parties on the horizon, or that job interview, or a night out with your husband, or whatever other scenario we haven’t imagined, now is the time to make sure your tootsies are ready for glam. Here’s how:

Shop after work or in the evening
If you’re in the market for a new pair of pumps (or any shoe, for that matter), save your shopping for the evening. As the day progresses, your feet swell minimally with use—therefore, trying on shoes when your feet are at their biggest ensure you’ll have a comfortable fit at all times. If you shop in the morning, when your feet are still slim from under-use, a snug fit then may be agonizing by the end of the day. Stick to shopping in the evening and you’ll always have a great fit. Make sure you take a few strides up and down the aisle to avoid buying shoes that pinch, detach from your foot, dig into the tendons above your heel, or otherwise aren’t right.

Balancing Act
Before wearing brand-new shoes to a big event, take them for a test drive. Test all types of surfaces while wearing your shoes—carpet, pavement, wood floors—to minimize the wipe-out factor. If it’s a higher heel than you’re used to, try starting at the grocery store. Use your cart for balance to get used to the heel height as you grocery shop.

Adjust your stride
Your normal lengthy stride may not work in heels—if one foot gets too far away from the other, it will unbalance you. Take shorter steps, but keep them controlled, calm, and deliberate—not quick. Try practicing this walk when you’re testing different floor surfaces.

Support System
If you’ve spent your life in flip-flops, don’t bust out a 4-inch stiletto on your first heel attempt. Start with only a one or two inch heel, or a wedge. Wedges—especially the bright, colorful, strappy types with cork heel—are more appropriate for spring and summer, but there are many cork-less business or date-appropriate wedges for colder weather. If you’re not sure, ask a shoe store employee for an opinion.

Cushion Comfort
To ease the pressure (especially on the dance floor) on your feet, invest in ball-of-foot cushions for your heels. And if you’re worried about getting blisters, prep your feet with baby powder to minimize friction. For added protection, bring a small container of petroleum jelly in your purse—if you feel a blister forming, rub a bit of this clear stuff on the trouble spot to ease the burn.

Take care of your feet
Unless you’re wearing $800 shoes (I wish!), your feet may still ache after a long day or evening of rocking your pumps or peep-toes. Simply kicking them off shouldn’t be the only thing you do to make them feel better. To help soothe your feet:
  • Place a tennis ball under one foot, pressing down gently while flaring your toes out and back together. Roll the tennis ball around under your foot. Repeat five times and switch feet.
  • Try some massage therapy by rubbing a glob of body or foot lotion into your feet, working your fingers between toes and tendons to ease out the stiffness.
  • If you’ve walked or stood on the heels for more than a few hours, make sure you stretch your calf muscles as well—do a few toe touches, or sans shoes, climb one stair, hang onto the rail, and let the heels of your feet hang off the edge. Ahhh. . .
If heels just don’t work
If you already have foot or leg issues that prevent you from wearing heels (or make them particularly painful), you don’t have to give up the glam! Search stores for a glitzy pair of flats in a cool color instead. Classic black with a floral ruffle, deep turquoise with multicolored stones, or even satiny red with a bow—search your favorite stores online first to see if they have the type you’re looking for, then call your closest store to see if they stock it.

Have fun looking fabulous!

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