New Year’s Eve calls for getting dressed to the nines and, for a lot of us, that means slipping into those incredibly uncomfortable shoes because they just look so good.
But it’s the same story every time: you get halfway through the night and the heels come off – so you can regain the feeling in your toes.
And let’s face it – once they’re off, it’s game over. Those heels aren’t going back on your feet.
So what can you do to make sure those shoes stay on all night and, more importantly, give your feet a break?
Emma McConnachie, a podiatrist at The Royal College of Podiatry, has teamed up with Next to reveal top tips to avoid painful feet when wearing heels.
Avoid exposing your feet in colder temperatures
Cold temperatures won’t stop us getting dressed up for a night on the town – especially with the festive season to consider. In fact, us Brits are known for braving the cold in favour of a night out.
But when it comes to choosing sensible footwear for these occasions, it’s best to consider closed-toe heels, or even a heeled boot.
Emma says: ‘It is best to avoid exposing your feet to the elements in colder weather, we see countless cases of chilblains in winter where feet haven’t been kept warm.
‘Placing increased pressure on the ball of your foot by wearing thin soled, heeled shoes can result in painful soft tissue bruising on the balls of your feet too, which is far worse when they are cold.’
The ideal heel height is around 2cm
Mules and block heels are not only on trend, but apparently a recommended style of heel for healthy feet.
Emma adds: ‘Long-term, we would recommend not wearing a heel higher than 2cm as a higher heel can cause problems for your feet.
‘Avoid thin, stiletto type heels as this increases instability and your foot will wobble about more.
‘If you are wearing a heel, aim for a block or wedge style and ideally one that has a way of staying on your foot such as a strap around the ankle or across the middle of the foot.’
When selecting an outfit, always start by choosing the heels
While it might sound unusual to build an outfit around your shoes, Emma advises opting for a pair of heels that you know you can be comfortable in for a long period of time.
And if you’ve got the right pair that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your style.
‘If you are picking a pair of shoes for an event, try to choose a pair that you know you can wear for long periods of time and chose the outfit based on that,’ says Emma.
‘This should stop you from going barefoot halfway through your party – or doing that dreaded barefoot walk to the taxi rank, that can result in an emergency podiatry visit the next day.’
Look for heels with a cushioning sole to prevent aching feet
While it’s easy to treat painful feet after time spent in heels, preventing the pain is the preferred choice.
Emma said: ‘Trying to prevent pain when wearing heels will come down to the style you choose and what is right for your foot type and activities.
‘Avoid shoes that have thin soles at the front as these will increase the pressure on your forefoot. Look for ones that have some cushioning in the sole.’
So for long-term comfort, which style of heel should we be opting for?
‘A low block or wedge heel will be more comfortable to wear for a longer period of time too as the higher the heel, the more pressure you are putting on your forefoot,’ says Emma.
Soak your feet in warm water
We’ve all dealt with the blisters and aching sensation that comes with spending time in an uncomfortable pair of shoes, which is why it’s important to find a pair that are kind to your feet.
But if your feet are still in agony at the end of the night, or indeed the next morning, then there is a way to soothe the pain.
When it comes to simple treatments you can try at home to relieve immediate pain, Emma advises a quick Epsom Salt foot bath.
‘You could try soaking your feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes to help soothe them too. Adding in some Epson salts can also help,’ she explains.
If you have to put heeled shoes back on, Emma says: ‘If you find the ball of your foot painful after wearing your heels, switch to a pair of thicker soled shoes with a lower heel height for the rest of your day.’
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