Looking to improve the feel of your dress shoes? Here are five steps to get your high heel shoe to feel more comfortable.
1. My feet feel cramped: If you’re suffering from bunions, tailor’s bunions or morton’s neuroma, make sure there are no excessive pressure points on the foot. If there are, consider using a ball and ring stretcher to reduce pressure across the instep, on a bunion or a haglund’s deformity (also known as a pump bump). Here’s how it works: find the spot that needs to be stretched, take a piece of leather, cloth or other material and cover the ring. Then stretch the shoe at the point of discomfort.
2. Poor heel fit (i.e. foot slides forward causing a space at the back of the shoe): Most often this occurs when the shoes are either not available in your size or you intentionally buy a larger shoe to help the forefoot feel more comfortable. Unfortunately pumps always need to feel a little tight across the ball of your foot or the shoe won’t stay on your feet. To remedy this problem you can either use insoles, ball of foot pads or any other filler material to help reduce the space across the vamp (the upper part o a shoe). This will hold your foot back in the shoe better and keep the heel from slipping out. Or, narrow your heel counters with stretching liquid and a heat gun.
3. Excessive pressure on the ball of the foot: To remedy this problem it is best to add metatarsal pads or metatarsal bars to your shoes. These devices will help distribute your weight back onto the arch of your foot, thus reducing the pressures borne on the front of your foot. There are also ready-made and custom insoles available (i.e. Pedag Siesta) that can offer both arch and metatarsal support to help redistribute pressures.
4. Knee pain? Choose lower heeled shoes, no higher than 1”, with a wider base, preferably with an outflare (sole extends outward as opposed to inward) to improve stability. Not only will this help prevent excessive pressure on the medial (inner) compartment of the knee, it will also help reduce pressure on the ball of the foot.
5. Ouch, my back: Help reduce stress on your back by adding gel heel pads in the back of the heel for increased shock absorption, or replace the firm plastic heel tip with a rubberized one (see your local shoe maker). And, don’t forget to stretch your leg muscles (especially calf muscles and hamstrings) to prevent shortening.
How do you get your heels to feel like slippers? Share your thoughts below.