Head Over HeelsMany women are probably in the process of planning the perfect Valentine’s Day outfit, complete with high heels, for a night out with their sweetie. You know the perfect shoes to complement your carefully selected date night attire and can’t wait to show them off. You try them on and instantly feel good. In fact, few things make a woman feel better than a fun and sexy pair of high heeled shoes. And feeling good about yourself makes you look even better! It’s exciting to think about, and that’s partially what makes it so easy to fall in love with high heels. But as Nazareth put it, “Love hurts / Love scars / Love wounds and marks.” Sure, those heels will make you feel and look good… for about an hour if you’re lucky. We’ve all been there. About an hour into the night, the soreness begins to creep in. You find yourself shifting your weight from one foot to the other, or even slipping off one shoe at a time to temporarily relieve the pain. The shoes that made you feel and look so good are now making you look just shy of ridiculous. And the sad part is that you knew – deep down, but you didn’t want to admit it – that this would happen when you decided to wear these “perfect” high heeled shoes. Was the brief time wearing them worth this pain and discomfort? The individual answers to that question are as varied as the shoes we are discussing.
The Lowdown on High HeelsWe’re not crazy high heel haters. We know they aren’t going anywhere. We do, however, believe that you should know the facts about what these precious shoes are doing to your feet. As with any relationship, it’s important to know what you’re getting in to. You already know the good, so here’s the bad. Statistics show that wearing high heels is one of the leading causes in foot problems with women. Even if you love the way you look in heels, it’s best for your health to limit them to special occasions only and to make ankle strengthening a part of your fitness routine. “It is clinically important for wearers of high heels to regularly perform ankle strengthening exercises, such as heel walking, toe tappers, and heel raises, and to limit the frequency of wearing high-heeled shoes as preventative measures,” said Dr. Yong-Seok Jee, co-author of the International Journal of Clinical Practice article. Your feet are naturally designed to act as cushions that evenly distribute your weight and keep the daily pounding of walking from damaging your skeleton. When you shift the majority of your weight onto the balls of your feet and toe bones, this weight distribution gets out of sync and can cause serious damage. Higher heels make even more of an impact. According to a recent BuzzFeed video, heels of only a 3 inch height can add 76% more pressure to the front of the foot! When your weight shifts in this drastic of a manner, it throws off your natural alignment and the way you walk. This can lead to bone and nerve damage.
5 Ways to Love Your Feet this Valentine’s DayYou don't have to lose that loving feeling for your high heels! Just be smart about it when you do wear them. Here are some tips to help keep your feet feeling and looking great:
- Time: Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time.
- Smart Shopping: Try to keep heel height to a 2-inch maximum and avoid pointed toes when possible. Also, purchase shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest size. Shoes with leather insoles will keep your feet from sliding forward.
- Variety: Vary your footwear selection from day to day. Changing them up several times a day is even better!
- Stretch: Stretching your calves and feet before wearing high heels will help prepare your body for its impending trauma (yes, trauma). Doing so again after will also help your body recover properly.
- Heal Your Sole: Investing in a recovery shoe, like The Healing Sole Flip Flop, will help your feet bounce back from hours of torture. Among other things, the shoe is specially designed to stretch tendons, support your arch, and keep your toes from clenching up. Worn at the end of the day and first thing in the morning, this therapeutic flip flop can help alleviate foot pain.