Here are Lynne’s Fashion Boutique, we strive to give you a completely satisfying experience from start to finish. We know that you will love how you look in the new items you find with us. One thing that we don’t carry in our store, however, is footwear.
The right pair of shoes can make or break your outfit. So even though we don’t sell shoes in our store, we wanted to take the opportunity to talk about a common problem women face with their choices in footwear:
High Heels. Are they in your closet?
Even though you may have given up high heels, maybe you have a daughter or granddaughter that’s about to start wearing them. They could use a little guidance as they start exploring the high heeled shoe. With prom season approaching, we have the power to save them a good amount of pain.
Before we show the tips, let’s first take examine why the high heeled shoe is still being worn.
Why Do Women Wear High Heels?
Thanks to the Spine Health Institute, we know that 34% of women 50 and older wear high heels. The number increases as we look at younger women all the way up to 49% of women 18-24 years old.
If the effects of prolonged use of high heeled shoes is so well known, why are we wearing them? Perhaps for some of the reasons listed below?
To Walk The Walk
Scientists love to do research in all areas. Believe it or not, there are scientists out there who conduct research on things like how high heels affect the perception of attractiveness. This research is less about finding the right formula for turning heads and more about understanding human behavior.
Through controlled experiments where participants could not see anything other than a woman’s gait, high heels were shown to improve attractiveness.
To Appear More Feminine
Is it possible to walk in a way that appears more feminine? According to the research mentioned above, the answer is “yes.” One part of the study had participants attempt to identify the gender of the walkers even though they were all females.
When participants guessed “male,” it was when the subject was wearing flats. Of course this makes us wonder, “How can we wear flats while still maintaining an acceptable level of femininity?”
Because Popular Culture Says So
I have a challenge for you the next time you’re in line at the grocery store. Pick up the fashion magazines. Try to find one that does not include images of women in heels. I would bet that there are even articles related to how heels help you look better.
So many influential celebrities wear high heels that it’s nearly impossible for our young girls to miss them. If you’ve been unhappy with your calves, you’ve probably heard that heels can help (like this article says). Since it does not seem likely that we women aren’t going to stop wearing them anytime soon, it is probably best that we educate ourselves as much as possible.
They Are Dress Code
You wouldn’t think it (even in today’s day and age), but it is perfectly legal and completely permissible for a company to require a woman to wear heels at work. As much as we would like to advocate for a woman’s right to choose her footwear, this sort of dress code is still a reality that we (or our children) will face.
To Level the Playing Field
Once again, those scientists provided us with some very useful information. It turns out that people see taller women differently than us shorter ladies. Unfortunately, the research gave us (those who are on the shorter end of the spectrum) a few jagged pills to swallow.
The determined that the “taller” women were:
- More intelligent
- More successful
Ouch! Of course we know that your height has no impact on most of these things. Our point is this:
Can you blame women for wearing heels to help how they are perceived?
A New Rule to Follow
Now that we’ve seen several reasons why women continue to wear high heels, it’s time to turn our attention to what we can do to help the situation. When you wear heels, you are increasing the amount of strain that is placed on a set of bones in your feet called metatarsals. The higher the lift, the greater the burden these small bones have to bare.
This stress isn’t just painful, it can result in:
- Stress fractures
- Pinched nerves
So besides just never wearing high heels again, is there a simple rule we can follow to minimize these consequences? Well of course there is! I’m glad you asked.
Don’t Go Over 2 (inches that is)
As surprising as this might be, you simply need to have a limit of 2 inches for your heel. This gives you a healthy 2” boost while still keeping the increased stress on your metatarsals at a minimum. Another friendly bonus to following this rule is that your balance will be improved, and we all know what happens if we lose our balance.
Following this simple rule will do wonders for us as we seek to find a balance between doing what’s best for our bodies and what helps us feel and look our best.
So if you or someone you love will be wearing heels someday, consider using some of the tips we’ve put together for you that can help make your high heels comfortable (no matter how high they are).
8 Tips to Make Your High Heels Comfortable
- Relax When You Walk - The pressure to look like you know what you’re doing in heels can make us try too hard. This results in a very rigid (read “stiff”) walk. To avoid this look, let go of that tension. Your body will thank you.
- Break Your Heels in Before a Big Night - It can be tempting to keep your new shoes in perfect condition right up until the big day. Of course, we know the price that we will have to pay. So if you want to stop paying, be sure to take the time (ahead of time) to gradually break them in by wearing them in several short bursts.
- Protect Your Feet from Chaffing with Deodorant - Maybe one of your favorite pair of shoes wreaks havoc on a particular part of your foot. You might be able to combat this evil strap with a little bit of clear deodorant. The deodorant will help reduce the friction on that part of your foot. You’re welcome!
- Buy Your Heels in the Evening - Here’s a fact we’d rather believe is not true. Our feet swell as the day goes on. If you shop earlier in the day, you may find that a shoe that fits “perfectly” becomes very uncomfortable as the day goes on. If your event is in the evening, the resulting discomfort could be even worse.
- Rough up the Soles of New Heels - A new pair of shoes might feel like a work of art. The act of purposely scuffing up your soles could appear sacrilegious to some. The reason you should do this is to improve your traction. You don’t want to end up on the blooper reel or worse yet, on social media as worst wipeouts.
- Use Tape on Your Toes - For some increased strength and stability consider using some tape on your 3rd and 4th toes together. Locking these two toes together can help reduce stress on nerves that cause pain. Of course, you can only really do this on close toed shoes.
- Use Gel Inserts - One of the best products you can buy to help you with your high heels are gel inserts. These little treats will increase the amount of time you have before the fatigue sets in.
- Take Smaller Steps - Even if you’re in a hurry, don’t run and keep your stride small. Remember the bit above about looking feminine while you walk? Well big strides isn’t a part of that.
Did You Find Any of This Surprising?
If you’re inspired to find some shoes that help you follow the “new rules,” head over here to see the latest fashions:
We hope you found something here that can help you or someone you know get a little more comfortable in their favorite footwear. If you found anything we talked about to be a bit of a shock, please let us know in the comments down below.