TLC For Your Feet This Holiday Season

high-heels-lover-02By Laura Braden

Prepare for a First World “Problem” … I can’t wear high heels anymore.

Maybe it’s because I’m 32, or maybe it’s because I’ve been spoiled by wearing riding boots and flats practically every day for the past few years – all I know is that EVERY pair of heels make my feet ache after approximately 20 minutes. Worse, my first steps the next morning feel like Gollum hobbling around my apartment.

Rather than suffer through another (otherwise fantastic) holiday season filled with fancy receptions and parties, I’ve decided to take action … and share any gained wisdom with you.

First step: Google the problem. And “shockingly” enough – there’s a fair amount of research pointing to the damaging impacts of heels. Exhibit A …

“Using revolutionary 3D scanning technology, researchers at North London’s Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital have created an image of a contorted, misshapen female foot in a high-heeled shoe. For the first time ever, the animation, which was compiled from hundreds of 2D scans of patients’ feet, allows doctors to see the effects of wearing high heels “in real time,” providing irrefutable evidence of the long-term damage caused by wearing such shoes.” (Source: Salon.com)

See also this infographic from LiveScience.com (that calculates the height you should wear based on sobriety!).

Well, at least I’m not crazy or alone in my pain, but is it realistic to give up high heels forever? Depends I guess on the level of pain you’re willing to endure. I’m not quite ready to hang them up because, frankly, they look great and enhance most outfits.

So here are some tips and products to help you survive the holiday season.

IF FLATS LOOK GOOD – WEAR THEM.

Dr. Orly Avitzur has written about the danger of heels for years, and (anecdotally) she’s heard from many women that they simply can’t wear high heels in their 40s because their feet are too damaged. YIKES. So if flats look great with your outfit – go with it. Here are some fancier options for the holiday season:

flats

INVEST IN THE PROPER EQUIPMENT

I realized that half of my problem could probably be solved if I just enhanced the heels I already had – and made wiser consumer choices.

kushyfoot-microfiber-tights-3436-mdn
Kushy Foot

For example, KushyFoot.com offers tights (and other hosiery) that have padded feet. Brilliant, right? They have multiple styles – including fleece and shapers – that run $26.97 for 3 pairs. UK-based Marks and Spencer offers Hi Heel tights that have cushioning on the ball of your foot (where most of my pain resides) – and they’re shipping to the US for a limited time so I just purchased the leopard and thick tights.

Cole Haan
Cole Haan

Several brands have incorporated good ‘ole technology to make their heels a bit more bearable. One of my favorites is Cole Haan, which uses Nike AIR cushioning in the ball and heel. I purchased a pair of heels and wedge booties – both are remarkably comfortable, even at the end of a long day.

tory_burch_grey_suede_milan_wedge_bootie_MMM20028601
Tory Burch

Another way to “cheat” is by wearing wedges because they distribute your weight more evenly. Hands down, my favorite is Tory Burch’s Alaina or Milan bootie, which is ironic because their iconic flats are beyond uncomfortable (even after years of wear). Search for your perfect wedge at Polyvore.com.

Have specific pain in your ball or heel? Blogger Alternations Needed has put together a great list of products for every inch of your feet.

STRETCH, PAMPER AND MOISTURIZE

Regular pedicures and massages can go a long way – and so can yoga. My favorite day spa is Mellow Me Out (555 Capitol Mall) because it’s super affordable and centrally located. $20 gets you 20 minutes of reflexology, and they offer pedicures for $20-49.

My favorite yoga studios in Midtown are Asha and Zuda, but just doing Downward Facing Dog in your living can work wonders in stretching your calves, ankles and toes.

Product-wise, I love Burt Bees’ Coconut Foot Cream. It’s super thick and smells like Cabo. Apply it before you go to bed (giving yourself a mini foot massage in the process), and you’ll wake up in the morning with soft-as-a-baby’s-butt feet.

So there you have it – a few tips and products to (hopefully) help you survive the holiday season. What’d I miss? What are your faves?

And happy holidays!

 

You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.