The Perfect High Heels
We have searched far and wide for heels that minimise their harsh effects on the feet. Effects such as those from increased ground forces, improper fitting shoes and poorly designed or created foot wear. Blisters, instability, and pain in the ball of the foot are some of the most commonly complained about foot problems in heel wearers. Whilst we all know there are no such thing as healthy high heels, we have come to realise that there is a huge difference between good heels and bad heels but they are hard to spot unless you know what you are looking for.
Here are a few basic tips:
Height: As a general rule, we at Podantics believe that first rule of High heels is that "The height of your heels should be inversely proportional to the amount of walking done". In other words: the higher the heel, the less walking you should do in them!
In a perfect world all heels, especially those worn daily, should be kept below 4cm with a maximum of 4.5 cm. For those of us who do wear heels, it just seems common sense that anything higher than that should be worn only as “sometimes shoes." The reason for this is that the higher the heel, the more damage that can potentially occur to the foot. With long term use, high heels can affect the feet and ultimately the entire body.
Why is this? As height increases, stability decreases, and there is an increase in load and force placed on the ball of the foot causing the body’s centre of gravity to shift forward. With time, calf muscles can shorten, and muscles and ligaments fatigue as they are forced to work over time to keep you balanced. There are also different forces placed on the body that can lead to an increase in stress on areas such as the knees, hips and lower back over time.
Ok, ok, so what does this mean to us girls, especial those who are on the shorter side of life..........?? Well,it means that the less you wear heels, the better your feet will be, and that heels above a certain height should only be worn on special occasions and only by those without foot problems such as bunions or ball of the foot pain. It also means that when wearing these heels, they are better left for posing and low impact activities such as going out to dinner and never used for activities such as running- the drastic results of running in heels can be seen Great High Heel Race in New York each November in Central Park.
Straps: If possible try and go for heels that are supportive and have a strapping that holds your heel onto the shoe. The reason for this is that it increases the stability and support of the shoe and stops your toes from having to claw to keep your shoe on. It also helps from stopping your feet from jamming too far forwards in the shoes.
Heel Backings:In a good pair of work shoes or walking shoes backings are a must, but for high heels or "sometimes shoes" they can often cause more problems then they are worth. Unless you have a cushioned backing in your heels, your are more likely to blister in high heel shoes with a solid backing. In many cases heel straps are a far better option than those shoes that have a solid heel backings due to the angle your heel is placed at when it is elevated.
A Great Upper: It generally doesn't matter what its made of as long as its supportive and comfortable. Try and go for shoes that breath and are less likely to irritate.
Heel base: There is little evidence that a supportive shoe with a smaller heel base will cause more falls in people. However it is simple physics that a smaller heel base will cause the shoe tip over at a smaller angle. It is generally suggested that heels be a little broader at the base than stilettos, for example, and that your heels flare out at the base where possible. If you are going to wear stilettos the important thing is to make sure your shoes are firm and aren’t too flimsy i.e. you don't want to be able to “wring them out.” Twisting of the sole can lead to a swaying effect that will most likely result in a fall or pain from instability. Oh and dont walk over grates where the base of your heel can get lodged and stuck in!
Shock Absorbing sole: Not too many of our shoes possess these but if they get it right, its walking on clouds. There are a number of insoles and gel paddings now available designed to help with this, however be aware that if your shoe is already tight they will only make it worse, and that some insoles are are better than others. If you’ve tried some of the commercially available ones from your local shoe shop with no success, don’t be afraid to give others a go!
Toe Area: As simple as it seems broader is generally better! Don't be fooled into thinking this means it has to mean ugly. It doesn’t! and don't be afraid to have a good walk around the shop when buying shoes, as similar styles can feel completely different to others.
Whilst no high heels are exactly good for your feet; Blister, pain, corns and other problems can generally be avoided if you pick the right shoes.