Step by step walking in high heels – Part 1: The heels

Yo Visitor!

More and more people ask me lately how I can walk in high heels when I’m out and about. I have no clue how it looks. I’m too busy keep me from falling flat on my face in front of many people. Okay I’m exaggerating, but in some circumstances it is still true. For instance walking on sidewalks with paving bricks and wide joints. Anyway, obviously it looks pretty convincing.

So in my post multi-colored-snake I gave you some tips as a warming up without the heels. So how are you doing so far? Ready for the next step? And the logical next step would be: buy some proper heeIs. In this post I share with you my experiences regarding this subject. I have more than 40 pair of heels (not only to look at) in height varying from 8 cm and up till about 12 cm. And most of them from different brands. Sometimes I refer to what other bloggers posted on the internet.

1. The test

If you are about to buy or order your first pair of high heels, do this test to make sure photo1you don’t start too high. Put on the pair of heels you laid your eyes on and stand tall and free in a room with a hard surface, like tiles or a wooden floor. Now you should be able to raise the heel at least 1 cm off the floor without losing your balance (photo 1). If not, I would suggest you try a lower heel. In a few months time, after a lot of practice, you could try these pair again.

2. The type of heel to begin with

Choose a pair of high heels with proper straps (photo 2) or boots/booties (photo 1) on a photo2platform. Then you don’t have to worry about losing a shoe while walking the streets (yes happened to me once) and on platforms you are more stable and it’s a kind of shock absorber. One blogger suggested to try your first miles on wedges. I have never had these type of shoes under my feet, so I can’t really say, if it does the trick.

3. The best heels for your body

Here are some tips on which heels work the best with different body types, in case you are already more confident walking in heels.

  • If you have large ankles, don’t buy anything with an ankle strap as it will make your ankles look wider and draw attention. Go for a pump or slingback instead. This will draw attention away from your ankles and make your legs look longer.
  • If your legs are short, avoid t-strap shoes because they shorten your legs and can make your feet look wider than normal. Similarly, ankle strap shoes aren’t the most flattering. Go for open toed shoes or nude high heels – they make your legs look long and lean.
  • If you want your legs to look longer, pointy-toed shoes will give you the illusion of extra height. A warning, though: pointy-toed shoes may be uncomfortable if you have wide feet, so if that’s the case, save ’em for the special occasions only! No point in being miserable all night just to look good.
  • If you have wide feet, round-toed shoes have a cute vintage look, and can be the most comfortable option for those of us with wider feet. As a bonus, they can make your feet look smaller too.
  • It’s worth spending more on Classic pumps and basics. A great quality pair of basic black heels can be worn with anything and will last forever. Similarly, a pair of nude high heels will never steer you wrong. Both of these styles can be worn for years and will still be “in fashion.”
  • Don’t spend a lot on Espadrilles. There’s really no difference in quality between the brands when it comes to espadrilles – linen is linen, and rope is rope. Cheap ones are just as good as expensive Christian Louboutins in this case!

4. The material matters

I choose leather shoes over any other material. Leather absorbs moisture and allow your foot to breathe. Synthetics like vinyl won’t absorb moisture and will be much less comfortable. Another reason for me to buy leather shoes is because the leather adapts, within a reasonable amount of time, to your foot. So it fits even better! One blogger suggested vegan shoes for the real animal lover. She had an ancient link to a site. I found you another one. You could try for instance Beyond Skin. Or search The Internet for vegan shoes. It’s your call.

5. The sizing

Choose a fitted size. It must feel like the shoe fits like a glove, without ANY (growing) pain (within 10 to 15 minutes after you’ve put them on). After a few days of walking in them you’ll notice that the shoe fits even better (if you have choosen for leather heels that is).

I take it that you know your feet by now. My left foot is half a size smaller than the right one. I tried pumps/court shoes once. Wearing them at home was no problem, but once outside I lost the left one. I know now there are tricks to prevent that from happening, but I save that for another time. Therefore notice pointer number 2.

I know it’s a hell of a job to order the right size. For instance it depends on the cut of the shoe. The sizes can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer AND from land to land. Italian sizing (IT) is much smaller than European (EU) sizing. And to make the confusion complete: there are many conversion charts. But hey, that goes for the flat shoes aswell!

6. The insole lining

Pay attention to the lining. In high-quality shoes, the insole lining is usually made of leather, not a synthetic material, and goes all the way around the inside of the shoe. If the shoe only has lining on the bottom but not the sides, it won’t be as comfortable. Natural materials like leather absorb moisture and allow your foot to breathe – synthetics like vinyl won’t absorb moisture and will be much less comfortable.

7. The sole

Look for shoes with a layer of rubber on the sole. This will help prevent slippage and make it easier to walk in the shoes. When heels don’t have rubber or any kind of grip,  these shoes will be difficult to walk in and possibly even dangerous! Therefore I sometimes go to a shoe repair shop to let them glue an extra rubber sole unto the existing sole.

8. Removable insole

Wherever I can I use extra removable leather insoles. As a shock absorber and to absorb moisture from your feet. Before you go to the shop or order a pair in from a webshop, ask yourself if you want to use insoles. So you can order the right size.

9. Best time to try on new shoes

Try on shoes at the end of the day. Believe it or not, your feet can change sizes throughout the day, and they swell a little bit by the end of the day. It hasn’t bothered me, but maybe you do.

10. Take your time!

Walk around in the shoes before you buy them. Okay, a no brainer, but worth mentioning. You should do some laps around the shoe area (in a store) in the shoes before you even think about buying! Every shoe should be comfortable at first, but maybe already after 10 minutes it doesn’t anymore! If you are not sure, ask about their return policy and take them home.

11. Return policy

Buy shoes at (web) stores with a decent return policy so you can wear them for a while at home and see they stay (relatively) comfy before committing. Wear them for a week, whenever you can, at home. Wear them on a soft surface, like a carpet, so you can return them when a pair don’t meet one or more of the requirements above.

Your Thoughts?

Now that you’ve read my tips for high heel shopping, do you have any tips of your own to add? Do you believe in investing in quality high heels, or would you rather have lots of cheaper pairs? I want to hear what you all think, so leave a comment!

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6 thoughts on “Step by step walking in high heels – Part 1: The heels

  1. Pingback: Spring 2015 | contessa francesca di parma

  2. Definitely invest in your footwear, a bad pair of shoes can mess your feet up for life! Great post your tips are so helpful, I wish I’d known all these pointers when I first started wearing heels, it would have made my learning period a whole lot easier

    • Thanks a million Ana, for your input and complement! I’ve learned it the hard way too, because I didn’t want my sister to ask (afraid of what ze might think of me. And now she knows for so years and is okay with it). Didn’t you have girlfriends to share it with?

        • It sure looks easy when you look how experieced people walk in high heels, but indeed it’s all a matter of getting the hang of it yourself. And it helps when you practice a lot! I will cover that in part two. I hope you could comment on that post too, when it’s finished.

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