For many women, nothing makes us feel sexier than slipping our feet into a pair of sleek stilettos. But the potentially dangerous strain of sporting sky-high heels continues to be a controversial topic. (Even Sarah Jessica Parker, arguably the most notable high heel-wearing celebrity, whose stint as Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw brought Manolos mainstream, has stated she has damaged her feet caused by years of wearing heels; Victoria Beckham, who reportedly had to undergo surgery to remove painful bunions due to her high-heel habit, is another.)
So before we reach that point, we’re taking some sound advice from noted Australian podiatrist, Phillip Vasyli, founder of Orthaheel and Dr. Weil Integrative Footwear brands, to protect our tootsies. Here are Vasyli’s tips for high heels:
1. The Right Fit Counts: Like Cinderella, the shoe has to fit to become your fairytale. Out shopping and see a pair of last season’s Christian Louboutins that are on sale and a size 7 1/2—when you wear a size 9? Set them down. Now step away.
“A proper-fitting shoe is of the utmost importance,” Vasyli warns.
2. Commuting Doesn’t Have to Hurt: “If you feel the need to wear higher-heeled shoes to work, it’s beneficial to wear a more comfortable, supportive shoe to get to and from your workplace and wear the higher shoes just at your desk,” he continues.
We’re not saying to bust out sneakers Working Girl-style. A pair of cute, supportive flats works, too.
3. Take a Load Off…Your Feet Will Thank You: It’s not recommended to wear high heels all day, every day. “We take between 5,000-8,000 steps per day so it’s important to space out the days you don your favorite Choos,” Vasyli says. Save them for special nights out on the weekends or when getting dressed up, he advises.
4. Take Time to Stretch: “Whenever possible—whether it’s a break at work or spending five minutes during a night out of dancing—take off your heels, flex your toes back and forth, and give your aching heels a mini-massage,” he advises.
Test your foot function here.
5. Add Wedges to Your Shoe Collection: Still want the height but can’t take the heels? Try a wedge shoe. “Not only are [wedges] on-trend (especially in the warmer months of the year), many styles provide much-needed arch contact, and the larger amount of surface area helps distribute body weight,” Vasyli says. He suggests the Weil Serenity Wedge ($129.95).
And when all else fails, here’s your excuse to embrace the newest trend hitting the spring runways, from Marc Jacobs to Louis Vuitton: low-heeled shoes!
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