How to Wear High Heels

23 February 2017

Marilyn Monroe said: “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world”. The known heel-aficionado was probably meaning the confidence that a fabulous pair can inspire, but if you find walking in them tricky, all you’ll be conquering, is a wobbly walk to the end of the block.

Women have long had a love hate relationship with heels. It’s hard to dispute the upsides: they elongate your legs, and accentuate the shape of them, improve your posture and make your entire body appear slimmer. But the downsides are compelling enough to limit many of us to a flats-only policy: They can be painful to wear, tricky to walk in, and even cause long-term damage to your feet if poorly designed or ill-fitting.

With summer comes a host of sundresses, shift frocks and event-dressing, and so if ever there was a time you were tempted by your own Cinderella moment it might be now.

Your best bet? Modern styles include court shoes, platforms, heeled sandals and wedges. If you want a versatile pair, you only have to look to the Duchess of Cambridge’s beloved nude court shoes for inspiration. Their leg-lengthening colour works work with almost any outfit, particularly summer brights, although classic black will transcend seasons and a hint of metallic shine is a statement-making alternative.

How to wear them comfortably

  • Make sure you’re wearing the right size. Have an expert fit them correctly for width and length. Your foot shouldn’t slide around and your heel should stay firmly inside the back of the shoe. Don't be tempted to pick up a pair that aren't the right size, just because they’re on sale! They'll never fit comfortably and could cost you more in the long run if you do some serious damage to your legs or feet.

  • Buy a good quality pair that are more likely to have been created with a balanced pitch, or inner arch, so you’re not off-set to begin with. The thicker the heel, the more stability you’ll have. If you choose a style with a slight platform at the front will feel more balanced.

  • Look for a pair with padding under the ball of the foot or try inserts designed to help with this. Try a shoe with more coverage on top of the foot, or a strap, that will hug the shoe to your foot.

  • Choose a rounded, or almond toe, rather than a very pointy one that will pinch toes together.

How to walk confidently:

While it comes naturally to some, others struggle with shoes with added height but did you know there is actually a correct technique when it comes to walking in high heels?

  1. Put your heel down first, followed by your to toe, rather than walking with flat feet. Lean back ever so slightly rather than giving in to the tendency to want to balance on your toes.
  2. Take small steps. Wearing heels makes your stride shorter than normal, so adjust your gait accordingly.
  3. Walk with your head up, shoulders back and your destination in sight. It will help you walk confidently and avoid any obstacles.
  4. If you feel your shoe slipping as you step, arch your foot slightly to put pressure on the inside of your shoe. This will make it fit closer to your foot, making it easier to manoeuvre.
  5. Relax, let go of tension caused by worrying about balance and let your hips swing slightly as you walk.
  6. Don't rush. If you're unaccustomed to heels it's unwise to hurry or risk a tumble.
  7. Hold (but don’t clutch!) a handrail or companion’s arm if one is available to you, particularly when navigating stairs.