How to Wear Killer Heels Without Killing Yourself

Killer Heels

Bryony Gordon explains how to walk in seven-inch heels.

It is one of life’s cruelest blows: the crushing moment when you discover that you cannot walk in the heels you’ve lusted after – and saved up for – for months. My downfall was a pair of £230 Biba platforms.

They had seven-inch heels and I should have known better, but I told myself I would get used to them. One humiliating tumble and a sprained ankle later, they now sit like museum pieces in my bedroom.

High heels might make you look taller, slimmer and sexier, but they can also cause bunions, a bad back and, according to some, infertility. Apparently, heels over 5in make your pelvis tilt forwards and squash your reproductive organs – which is truly suffering for fashion.

But it doesn’t have to be this way: killer heels don’t have to result in killer tumbles. “I love high heels as much as any woman,” says Margaret Dabbs, a podiatrist and chiropodist at Harrods Urban Retreat, who has treated some of the most glamorous feet in the country. “They’re not the best shoes for your feet, but there are steps you can take to make sure they don’t ruin them.”

In fact, Dabbs believes that heels can actually be good for your feet. “They provide far more support for your arches than styles like Ugg boots,” she says.

Now, where are those Bibas?

TIPS FOR CHOOSING FOOT-FRIENDLY SHOES

  • Make sure you have the right fit. Stand on a piece of paper and draw around your shoe, then draw an outline around your bare foot. You will probably find that there are bits of your foot that are wider than the shoe. Shop assistants often say that a shoe that is a bit tight will give with wear, but if they don’t fit in the shop, don’t buy them. Ensure that the shoes’ arches fit yours.
  • Look out for shoes with straps, which provide support.
  • Choose your heels wisely. A half-inch heel will obviously be more comfortable, but then you might as well be wearing flats. I think platforms and wedges are great because they look higher than they actually are; the thicker the heel the better, because it gives more balance.
  • Avoid pointy pairs: the pressure they put on your toes can cause ingrown toenails and irreversible nail-bed damage that can lead to unsightly discoloring.
  • Padding under the balls of the feet is crucial to avoid that nasty burning pain. If necessary, create your own by inserting Scholl Party Feet; £4.99 from chemists.
  • Wear your heels all day or all evening, but never both. The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists advises that feet should be stretched as much as possible.

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