6 Tips For Walking Tall in Mooky High Heels
Whatever your style, there is a pair of high heels for you. From the scarlet shockers of vintage glamour to the gothic grandeur of a pair of Victorian boots, the shoes finish the outfit. But what about when the shoes are also finishing you? Fear not, Bambis, for here is the Mookychick Guide to Heels.
1. Never buy shoes that don’t fit
This sounds like it should be obvious, but I think most of us have had a moment when we considered going up or down a size for a pair of pretty shoes. This is especially common in the sales when the size you want probably isn’t available (when you’re a UK size five like me, you will never find shoes that fit six weeks after they come on sale, never mind in the clearance section).
If you want to wear heels without spending the next day in pain, always try them on in the shop and walk up and down (yes, like your mother used to make you). If they aren’t comfortable in the first five seconds you wear them, they won’t be comfortable at the end of a long night.
Shoes that are too big let your feet slip around inside them, which is disastrous for balance. Equally, too small and they will torture your toes and make you totter until you tumble. If the shoe fits, wear it. If not, put it back on the shelf and try not to get emotionally attached.
2. Get your training heels
I’ve never found it much less stressful to wear two or four inch heels, however if you are a complete newbie to walking in those glamour-puss shoes, try something more like a kitten heel than a pair of skyscrapers.
Kitten heels like these vintage ones from Capezio will be very comfortable for all your days.
More important than heel height is the thickness and shape. Thick stack heels are better than stilettos whilst you’re finding your feet. The more surface area there is in your footprint, the better the weight will be distributed. If the shoes have a half centimetre radius of heel and require you to be on your toes, they’re not ideal heels for beginners.
Other things to think about when picking a pair of heels are straps and material. If the whole thing is kept on your foot by a T-bar or ankle strap, you have a lot less to worry about than if they offer the potential of a Cinderella moment. Boots or Oxford heels that keep your feet covered are another good choice. As for material, sweaty heels lead to blister city. If you don’t intend to wear socks with your shoes, pick a pair that are breathable and less likely to rub you red raw.
Explore kitten heels on Amazon.
3. Break them in.
You should think twice before buying a pair of show-stopper heels the day of a big date even if you are an experienced wearer. Like any other pairs of shoes, your new heels will require breaking in. The more you plan to move in them, the more important this is. A pair of shoes that you will be dancing in will behave differently when worn in first and will be much kinder on your feet. To break in a pair of new shoes, put on a pair of socks (even if you don’t intend to wear them with the shoes) and walk around the house as normal for an hour or so. If the shoes are pale in colour and hard to clean, be sure to only wear them on carpet before the big reveal.
This is what you can do after you’ve broken in your heels! But not before. Treasure your feet. They are you.
Breaking in your shoes gently will let the shoes stretch and mould to your individual feet (which is why it’s also important to never wear second hand shoes that have been worn). It will also give you the chance to see if you need to cut some blister pads, add an insole or protect your ankles from the straps rubbing
4. Take good care of your shoes
Try not to wear the same pair day in, day out. They need chance to breathe and relax after the stresses. If they get soaking wet, try not to use direct heat to dry them as it can damage the material. Instead, stuff and wrap them with newspaper and leave them somewhere warm. Replace straps and heels as soon as they start breaking and you won’t have the embarrassment of a shoe giving up the ghost on the dance floor. If the soles are slippery, work out why. Give them a rub with some sandpaper to increase friction on smooth soles, or get rid of sticky substances with a shot of talcum powder and a good buff.
5. Walk properly.
So, you’ve got your perfect pair of shoes, they’re clean and well maintained and you’re ready to boogie? First, try walking in them. Always walk heel to toe (the way you naturally walk when barefoot or in flats) rather than trying to totter forwards on the balls of your feet. It looks more elegant and puts less strain on your ankles. For a supermodel swagger, imagine a line on the floor and try and put both feet on it as you walk. This will help you swing your hips, but try not to overdo it or you’ll look like a high-wire act.
Take breaks as often as you can. Try to avoid standing around whilst wearing heels if there is a seat available, and sit out a few songs if you’re dancing. If you find you have to stand in a queue, or for lack of seats, stand still. Don’t swing your body around or stand on your tip-toes or heels. If you could be standing there a while, no one will think less of you taking your shoes off. No point wasting them.
Ah. Behind nearly every pair of high heels is a bag containing emergency foldable ballet pumps.
6. Have a back-up plan
There are lots of designers who have come up with tiny folding flats that you can stash in your clutch purse for the walk to the taxi rank. They’re invaluable if you break a shoe or you end up staying out longer than expected. And, as much fun as dancing nymph-like and barefoot down a street might seem, the reality is that having a pair of flat shoes handy (ballet pumps fold up small in your bag) will make you seem as much a genius as that emergency fiver you put in your bra when drunk-you is tired and wants to go home to bed.
Main feature photo: Blue open-toe anchor shoes from Love Burlesque