Does the holiday season mean you sacrifice comfort for festive fashion? If so, you’re not alone. In an American Podiatric Medical Association survey, 38% of women said they would wear uncomfortable shoes if they liked the way they looked. But it simply doesn’t have to be that way. These four tips can help keep your feet looking cheerful and feeling that way, too.
1. Add Pads and Insoles to High Heel Shoes
Because high heels can cause feet to slide forward, you place more pressure on the ball of your foot. It’s no surprise that a top choice for comfort aids is ball-of-foot cushions, usually made of foam or gel.
Heel cushions are another option. They help prevent pain by adding support to the heel, shifting your weight back and relieving pressure on the ball of the foot in the first place. They can also help act as a barrier to shoes sliding off your heel, which often creates friction that can lead to blisters on the back of the heel.
2. Choose the Right Heels
Heel height has a strong correlation to foot pain and sprained ankles. Two inches is a general rule of thumb, unless the shoes have technology features that help compensate for the height. Heels that are too high change the way your body weight is distributed and pushes your body weight forward.
This added pressure to the ball of foot and toes can result in aching feet and even accelerate the development of bunions or hammertoes for those who are prone to them. High heel shoes can also lead to Achilles tendonitis because they cause the tendon to tighten and shorten. Another way to ensure you’re keeping your weight distributed correctly is choosing a style with a wide heel, a wedge or a platform .
3. Pick Flexible Styles
The more you’re on your feet, the more they expand. So having a shoe with flexible soles and soft uppers, like leather and stretch material, makes sense. If you’re set on a more rigid material, such as patent leather, opt for a pair that has laces or straps that can be loosened to allow some breathing room as the day or night goes on.
4. Give Your Feet & Legs Some Extra Support
You may think panty hose are just for making your legs look smoother, but they can also help keep your feet and legs energized. Hosiery with even a little bit of support or compression can help improve circulation by squeezing the veins in the legs from the ankle up, which helps move blood toward the heart. This can be especially beneficial if you are dancing on hard surfaces throughout the night. It may also help keep you from coming home with swollen feet or legs.
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American Podiatric Medical Association: “New Study Shows High Heels are Biggest Culprit of Female Foot Pain”
American Podiatric Medical Association: “Sweet Feet Survey”
Prevention: “How Your Shoes Cause You Pain”
Oprah: “O’s Ultimate Shoe Buying Guide”
Women’s Health: “Best Shoe Insoles”