I love what high heels can do for your legs – and for the height challenged among us (I’m 5ft 3″ and a bit) what they can do for your stature.
But, and it’s a big but, I hate how hard they make it to get from A to B. Or maybe that’s just me because I don’t wear them often enough.
Anyway when I saw a book called “How to Walk in High Heels” I had to pick up a copy.
Just to explain, there are two kinds of shoes in my wardrobe – the kind that I wear day in day out, that actually wear out. They have maximum two and a half inch heels.
And then there are the kind I call “taxi shoes” that I wear only if I know I’m not going to have to walk far – like the distance from the taxi to the party or restaurant and no more! These shoes never wear out (my taxi budget would need to be a lot bigger for that!) but I love them and I would so love to be able to wear high heels more often.
So could a book teach me how to walk in them?
According to the book, high heels hurt less the more you wear them, so I was right on one count – I just have to persevere. Here are the tips I picked up from the book that I’ll be following to make me walk elegantly in my heels.
Make Sure the Shoes Fit
If your shoes are too tight or slip off when you walk, you’re making life more difficult for yourself than it needs to be.
Try a Wedge or Platform
Wedges and platforms are less wobbly for beginners as there’s a bigger surface area hitting the ground. Get used to the height, then go for the spike heels later. Also, as a beginner, choose a style with straps to help the shoe stay on your foot. Save sling backs and mules for when you are a pro at this. High heeled boots are great for beginners too.
Get Used to Higher Heels Gradually
If you always wear two inch heels and you move to six inch killers, you are going to have more problems than if you get used to three inches then three and a half then four inches first.
Vary Your Heel Height For the Conditions
Stick to lower heels if you’ll be walking on grass, cobblestones, or stairs with no handrail. High heels plus copious amounts of alcohol don’t mix as many celebrities have found to their cost. Falling into or out of the taxi is not a good look no matter how elegant, expensive and high your heel even if the paparazzi won’t be following you home.
|Where Not to Wear High Heels
Driving – you risk snapping your heels or worse, an accident if your feet are not properly engaged with the pedals
Beaches – high heels and sand do not fix. Try bejeweled flip flops
Wooden Floors – Dent your friends prized new oak flooring with your stilettos and it’s the end of a beautiful friendship. Take them off at the entrance.
Kids’ Parties – You won’t be able to move fast enough to catch the kid getting into a scrape and you risk treading on little toes and causing tears
Country Walks – high heels and mud don’t mix
Give Your Feet A Break
Don’t wear very high heels every day. Give your feet a rest so that they are able to function properly (i.e. let you walk) day after day in the future.
Leave Feet Bare
You will have more traction if your feet are in direct contact with the shoes.
Wearing hosiery can cause your foot to slide around in the shoe a little and leave you less steady – obviously not a tip for mid winter but good in summer.
Find Your Center
Once you put on your shoes, take time to center yourself. Gently sway side to side in your shoes to find the most stable point (your center of gravity) when you stand.
If you are not stable when you stand, there’s no chance when you are moving!
How to Walk
Use small steps. Lift one foot, clenching your toes slightly, land on the ball of the foot and lower the foot spreading the weight to the heel. Make sure you have your balance momentarily before pushing your weight to the ball of the foot in preparation for the next step.
It’s a delicate balance distributing the weight between the ball of the foot and the back of the shoe and this varies depending on the height of the heel so you need to get used to walking in different heights.
As you walk, keep toes very slightly turned out, which gives a good line to the leg. Stay straight and tall leading from the hip and allowing your hips to sway slightly.
Wear your heels at home until you are completely comfortable before you venture out. “How to Walk in High Heels” suggests you then go to your local supermarket for a smooth surface and walk until you get your natural rhythm.
“….up to twenty-four aisles’ worth of runway-smooth surface to practise on, while being supported by a trolley, the ultimate stabiliser for the novice stiletto wearer….”
Even if you avoid the non-no places to wear stilettos, you are bound to encounter different surfaces when you go out. Here’s how to cope with the most common ones you are likely to come across
carpet : dig your heel in to make sure you are balanced on this wobbly surface
pavements : avoid cracks, grating and cobblestones
marble : this surface is particularly smooth and treacherous. Make sure that you have good gripping soles or stick to the edges where there are walls to grab or hold onto a friend.
grids and wooden slats : walk on the balls of your feet to avoid heels getting stuck