Hell in High Heels

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A friend said to me recently that she was so used to her feet hurting [from wearing heels] she hardly noticed the pain any more.

I didn't know how to answer her. I wanted to say 'that's bloody ridiculous'. And then the ridiculousness of wearing heels knowing that they'll be uncomfortable made me feel a little foolish. I've done it so many times.

That said, I have noticed a move towards flatter, more comfortable shoes over the past few years. I have a lovely selection of pretty ballet flats and a rather super pair of metallic brogues that I now often wear in place of heels. But I also have a love of heels that will never wane.

My days of grin and bear it are (almost) over when it comes to shoes. I've walked home in bare feet countless times because it's more comfortable than keeping my shoes on. On a few occasions this happened in winter, in near freezing temperatures, the ground was so cold, and yet it was still preferable to walking in my heels.

I recall a few nights out that were rather spoilt by shoes pinching my feet, giving me blisters or making the balls of my feet ache so much I wanted to throw them into the nearest bin. And yet I still wore those shoes again.

Why do we do it?

I have a few pairs of high heels that are comfortable, but these are the exception rather than the rule. I'll be hanging on to these like my life depended on it.

Sadly, you have to purchase the shoes and wear them for longer than just the customary 'walk up and down a bit' in the shop, to know if they are truly comfortable.

Even when you order something online and you spend some time wandering around the carpeted parts of your house, it's never a true test of how a shoe will perform in real life.

I look at heels now and instead of thinking 'ooh pretty', in the way a younger me would, I now think 'they look like they'd hurt' (mostly).

I once read that spending more on heels guaranteed a more comfortable shoe but in my experience this just isn't true. My most expensive pair of shoes cost me £105 (and they were half price in the sale) and they are by far the most uncomfortable of all the shoes I've owned. I mean own, I can't part with them, they're too pretty, even though I won't ever wear them again.

So what to do? My love of heels remains, some outfits and occasions call for a lovely pair of heels.

I've been reading up on ways to make heels more comfortable. This is what I have learnt...
1. there are a lot of pins dedicated to this
2. it seems a lot of people are resigned to feeling pain when wearing heels
3. there is no way to tell if shoes will be comfortable or not (so I'd go with the assumption that they won't be)
4. I've spent too much of my life reading articles on the subject
5. The general consensus is that the way they look is worth the pain
6. I do not agree with no.5

*decides to backtrack slightly*

6. I do not agree with no.5 most days of the year.
I'd rather not wear heels that are going to hurt, but if they're new then you're never going to be absolutely certain that they'll be OK until you've worn them for a decent amount if time. Sure, there are some that you know as soon as you put them on that they'll hurt like hell, but there are those sneaky ones that seem OK, until they aren't.

I think from here on in if they are uncomfortable, they won't be staying in my wardrobe to be worn again.

7. For me Irregular Choice, New Look, and Zara have a pretty good track record.

Do you have any tips? Do you feel the pain and wear heels anyway?

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  1. I used to live in heels despite the pain, then I broke my foot. Then I slipped two discs in my back. These days it's flats 99% of the time! Comfort wins for me every time!

    1. I'm definitely more for comfort these days, I think of my days (normally nights actually) spent in uncomfortable shoes and I can't believe I put myself through it. What annoys me these days is that you can never tell if a pair will still be comfortable after you've been wearing them for an hour. I've never been on to carry a pair of flats in my bag, so I can sometimes get caught out.

  2. I HATE shoe pain!!! I'm definitely one for comfy shoes. I just can't be bothered with pain any more. It really annoys me that you can't predict shoe pain.

  3. I have what I call "difficult feet", so I'm all for comfortable shoes. But it still happens that I leave for work in a supposedly comfortable pair, and then have to limp home in the evening. I've noticed too that expensive shoes do not guarantee painless feet. Apart from Clarks, which my feet definitely agree with, I've found New Look to be painless, as well as shoes from a cheap village shop here called Lovely Shoes. xxx

    1. New Look really are good for shoes, and they're so affordable too.

  4. My feet are fine, it's the osteoarthritis that troubles me.
    In the Summer (or India) I'm either barefoot or in Birkis and in the winter I live in boots which I wear with Gel Activ inserts. I rarely wear shoes, they're wasted under a maxi dress!
    From my days as a chiropractic clinic manager I know that flat shoes - in particular Converse and ballet slippers are just as bad for your spine as killer heels. I love a chunky heel with a platform to balance the height out. x

    1. I love going barefoot, and I like flip flops but I've heard they're bad for you too. I knew that ballet slippers weren't ideal (but at least they're comfortable) but I thought converse would be OK.
      I like a little bit of a platform and chunky heels are definitely more comfortable but I am always drawn to a pretty heel, though I have less and less call to wear them these days, which can only be good for me.

  5. I'm terrible when it comes to shoes, nearly every pair I've ever bought have been uncomfortable, rubbed and caused blisters to begin with so I don't add heels to the mix, that's a step too far. I'm all for comfort so I wear flat shoes or ones with very low heels and always wear plasters until they're properly worn in. I tend to keep shoes until they're worn out, I just hate going through the rigmarole of breaking a new pair in.

    1. I become so attached to my shoes and boots, actually I'm the same with all my favourite clothes, when something wears out I try to find an exact replica. I never do of course but that doesn't stop me trying! You can't beat comfortable shoes, and I have found some comfortable heels but it's definitely more difficult to find a comfy pair compared to flats.

  6. I agree with New Look, their heels are generally a lot more comfortable than they look. In my old age I've started to really love Clarks heels, too! They're not always the most flashy, but I've got my wedding shoes from there (well, off eBay but they're from Clarks) and I love knowing that I'll be super comfortable in them all day.

    1. Clarks do some lovely shoes, I especially like their brogues.
      Yes! being comfy on your wedding day is an absolute must! I wore a pair I'd worn once before (they were my 'old'), because I knew I'd be able to wear them all day without issue.


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