In the late ‘90s, Cosmopolitan Magazine came out with a feature on the hazards of wearing “killer heels.” This came out right around the time when strappy stiletto heels were rising to great popularity.
The woman who wrote the article shared how she’d always loved wearing heels because they made her feel confident and sexy, but when she’d started experiencing shooting pains that started from her ankles and traveled all the way to her rump, she knew that the designer heels she loved were the culprit.
Similar to this story is celebrity Sarah Jessica Parker’s, who in many interviews claimed that her character Carrie Bradshaw’s obsessive relationship with Manolo Blahnik high heels caused her “pump bump” deformity and Achilles tendinitis.
Nowadays, the actress prefers comfortable flats and sneakers, and avoids wearing heels as much as she can so as not to aggravate the conditions.
A Towson, MD podiatrist claims that women should take a cue from the “Sex and the City” actress and make comfort the top consideration in buying shoes. With the right pair, unnecessary foot problems can surely be prevented.
However, if situations call for fancy high heels, it’s okay to wear them occasionally. If the pains start developing, just get your feet out of them to ease the pain. Alternate the heels with flats or soft flip flops that have a good supportive arch.
Now, in choosing sensible shoes, women do not always have to go for flats, podiatrists say, because flats are not consistently comfortable for everybody (although they certainly do not put much pressure on the ankles like high heels do). The key is to go for shoes that were really designed for comfort, like “walking pumps” which a lot of professional women use these days. These shoes have a bit of height for style, but what makes them really sensible and comfy is the way they were designed following the principles of athletic shoe construction — they have supported heels, and enough space for the toes.
Likewise, it helps to mix up your shoes – go for flats one day, and wedge sandals another (wedges are more comfortable than typical high heels; they add height but provide better support), kitten heels (shoes with heels no higher than three inches) on Wednesday, and sneakers on Thursday, for example. Mixing it up and using the appropriate shoes for certain activities will keep you from putting pressure on the same muscles where pain normally develops.
And lastly, podiatrists’ shoe choices for walking are those with laces – sneakers, rubber shoes (with padded heels and shock absorber features), and even boots. Laced shoes, especially high tops, deliver the weight and control of the footwear to the legs, therefore decreasing pressure on the feet.
With these lessons in footwear selection and use, women no longer need to compromise comfort for style; by knowing smart footwear and the right instances to wear them in, women can stay stylish while preventing common foot, ankle and leg pains at the same time.