For many of us, there’s often fond childhood memories of trying on mum’s shoes and twirling around in front of the mirror, makeup on, pretending to be all grown up. The idea of wearing heels seemed like the ultimate goal and one we were certain was all it took to make our way in the world.
As we got older and we were allowed to explore our own sense of style, buying our own heels was serious business. But that doesn’t mean we always got it right…
As a youngster, it can be easy to let the passion for fashion overrule practicality, but buying heels that are right for you from a young age can actually be extremely beneficial long term. Heels that are too high or don’t offer the right support for the feet whilst still growing can be detrimental when it comes to foot health later down the line.
Here we’re going to take a look how to wear heels comfortably as well as what the best options are for teens and young adults. We’re also going to cover how to choose the right heels for work and what you need to consider when choosing heels for a wedding or prom. So, let’s start at the very beginning…
Heels for Beginners
We all have to start somewhere, right? Whatever it might be, we’ll always be a beginner at some point in our lives, and walking in heels is no exception to that rule. Some may take to walking in heels straight away, but for others, it can be a bit more of a learning curve.
The main thing to consider when choosing which heels to wear for the first time is the heel height. The higher the heel the more your legs and feet will have to adjust to enable you to walk comfortably and safely.
Opting for a heel that is too high straight away (apart from being super uncomfortable), can cause more damage than it’s worth. Not only can it put unnecessary strain on the muscles and ligaments in your feet, ankles and legs, there’s greater potential for tripping and toppling over if you’re not quite as confident on them as you’d like to be.
The best way to work out which heel height is appropriate for you is to sit with your leg horizontally so your foot and ankle can move freely. Relax your foot and you’ll find that your toes will naturally point (to some degree, everyone varies). Working on a right angle, measure from the heel down to where the ball of the foot sits naturally, this will give you the optimum heel height for your feet. Choosing a heel height that is right for you will eliminate the need to over stretch the muscles in your feet and ankles when walking.
The type of heel can also have a big impact on how well you’re able to cope with heels as a beginner. Choosing chunky, block heels or wedge heels will give you more stability, allowing you to walk more steadily. A 6-inch stiletto or tapered heel is not going to be the best option to begin with as they don’t offer a great deal of support. Start small and work your way up.
Practice, practice and more practice… Once you’ve chosen some suitable heels, you need to practice. Wearing heels will alter your walk, where you would normally walk with a generally flat foot where both the heel and toe will hit the floor at the same time. When wearing heels, this isn’t quite so easy. Leading with your heel first when you step will help you move through the motion more fluidly without over stretching.
As your feet will be in a different position to the norm, the pressure points will change meaning that it can be quite easy for sores to appear. The most common areas to be affected are the balls of the foot and the heel. Always bed new shoes in before long term wear too. If after wearing them for a little while you find they cause issues, either consider a different size/fit or use gel inserts to protect against friction.
Heels for Juniors
As children move into their early teens, experimenting with their footwear is very much a thing and wearing heels is often taken as a right of passage. When it comes to heel height, however, we would always recommend the lowest heel possible so as not to cause issues with growing feet.
Girls heeled shoes are often built with a robust block heel rather than a thinner stiletto type heel, this adds more strength to the shoe and stability when walking. It’s important to remember that as children’s feet are generally smaller than adults, a 1-inch heel on a children’s shoe can be the equivalent of a much higher adults shoe in terms of the position the foot needs to be in to walk. The lower the heel the better.
Heeled shoes that are lace up or have an ankle strap will be the best option for younger wearers as they can be adjusted to fit better, are more secure and there’s less chance of them coming off when moving.
Any heels that your young ones choose to wear should be comfortable and easy to wear, following the guide for beginners can really help them get the best out of their footwear choices.
Heels for Work
Wearing heels for work can seem like a great idea but in practical terms, they’re not always the best choice. When you need to wear a pair of shoes for a whole day, it’s imperative you pick the right ones.
If you do a lot of walking around or you’re on your feet for a long period of time, a full, solid mid heel will probably be the best option. Alternatively, a good pair of wedges can be a good choice as they support the whole of the foot in the same way that flat shoes would. A heeled shoe with a platform can create the illusion of higher heels but as the footbed of the shoe is thicker the height of the heel is reduced, putting less pressure on your feet.
When choosing heels for work, you have to think about what’s appropriate too. A really high pair of glittery platform stilettos probably won’t be seen as a professional choice of footwear, where as a simple pair of mid height court shoes will complement the environment that you’re in.
It’s also important to think about the colour of the heels you go for, single colours such as black and navy are formal and also versatile so can be pair with a number of outfits without clashing. Unless you’re in a work environment that embraces it, you’re probably best to avoid multicoloured or bright coloured heels as these can take the attention away from you and what you’re trying to convey.
Heels for a Wedding or Prom
Much like wearing heels to work, choosing the right heels for a wedding or prom can be quite tricky. not only do you need them to be comfortable for long periods of wear, but you also want them to be stylish and glam.
It’s easy to be blinded by the sheer beauty of a glamorous pair of strappy high heeled sandals, but whether they’re actually suitable for you is another question. If you’re not a regular wearer of heeled shoes that are quite minimal with only a strappy upper, you may find they don’t offer the support needed to walk comfortably or steadily. A good choice in this instance would be a pair of heels with a heel support and ankle strap, this will make them more secure and there’s less chance of your feet moving around.
If you’re not entirely comfortable with wearing heels that only have straps supporting your toes, peep toe heeled shoes could be a better option for you. They offer more support across the whole foot but still add a touch of vintage glamour to your outfit.
There’s nothing to say that you have to wear high heels either for a prom or wedding, kitten heels can work extremely well too. Kitten heels and low block heels can be a good choice when you don’t want anything too high but still want to add that feminine touch to your outfit. They can also be a good choice for work, if you wanted a more delicate pair of shoes to go with a tailored suit or skirt, kitten heels are an excellent addition.
Deciding what heels are right for you can be quite confusing. Choosing to go with your heart and the luscious pair of skyscrapers you spotted may not be the most practical option, but then, on the other hand, letting your head rule may leave you underwhelmed when those practical but less fancy heels don’t quite do it for you. The key to success with heels is getting the right size, fit and ensuring they offer the right support without trying to go for those killer heels before you’re ready… oh and practice makes perfect!