The right way to wear high heels
18 May 2012, 12:37
Believe it or not, walking in heels is a learned skill – and you actually need to train your foot in order to avoid pain.
Hollywood stars and supermodels make walking in high heels look easy.
They float along gracefully looking tall and elegant. But high heels can
actually make any flat-footed woman look like royalty if she knows how
to walk in them. It's a learned skill and that's why woman worldwide
attend courses to find out how to do it right.
elegant is also healthy," said Edeltraud Breitenberger, a high heel
trainer in Munich. She works with women who wish to "emphasize their
femininity, feel comfortable walking in high heels and want to avoid
How to choose your heels
We're not talking about the colour or pattern of the shoe here. Take a good look at the structure of your heels.
women's shoes, the base of the high heel should curve gently downwards
from the sole so that it is directly under the middle of the heel. If
the heel is too far back, it's almost impossible to walk with a rolling
motion, and it is bad for posture.
By definition any heel more
than 10 centimetres is a high heel. Shoes with 14-centimetre heels or
higher are considered a fetish. That's why all shoes on sale in regular
shoe stores stop at 13.5-centimetres heels, said Breitenberger, who
warns women against heels higher than 10 centimetres.
need height to be elegant," said the expert. "In my opinion no woman
should walk on heels more than 10 centimetres on a sustained basis."
One rule of thumb is that the smaller the woman's foot, the smaller the heel should be.
Training your toes
The course begins with a foot massage and toe training.
big toe is the boss of the high heels," said Breitenberger, who is also
an adviser to tango dancers. If the toe is strong, it holds the weight.
advises women who are already good at walking in high heels not to wear
them daily. It's better to alternate wearing different shoes.
Orthopedic doctors warn against regularly wearing shoes with more than a 3-centimetre heel.
How often should you wear high heels?
woman who regularly wears high heels – more than three times in a week
for the entire day – will have problems," says Renee Andrea Fuhrmann,
head doctor at a podiatry clinic in Germany. Heels that high and higher
change the way a woman walks, she adds.
Ten per cent of
Fuhrmann's patients come to her with problems resulting from years of
walking in high heels. Many complain about splayed feet, bunions or
hammer toes. High heels only make these deformities worse in feet that
already are predisposed to them.
High heels can also cause
problems in a woman's calves, knees and back. The knee stays slightly
bent when a woman walks in high heels and the pressure on the knee cap
increases. The wear and tear can even require treatment from a
"Wearing high heels over a long period of time can lead to back pain," said Fuhrmann.
Can you still walk in flats?
Achilles tendon and the calf muscles get shorter when a woman wears
high heels over a long period and this causes something called
Cinderella syndrome, in which it hurts to walk in shoes that don't have
"I have many patients who say they can no longer walk
in a flat shoe," said Fuhrmann. Therefore, exercises to stretch the
Achilles tendon and calf are very important.
A typical patient in
the clinic is a 40- to 50-year-old woman who has worn high heels for
years. They usually don't want to stop wearing them. There could be
fewer cases in the future because younger women are being more sensible
about the footwear they select. Fuhrmann said the tendency is towards
more comfortable shoes.
However, the trade industry association
that represents shoemakers and leather workers in Germany says the trend
is actually the opposite.
"The high heel trend is currently very
pronounced among young women," said Claudia Schultz, a spokeswoman for
the association. "They again have the desire to dress femininely."
How often do you wear heels? Do they hurt your foot? If not, share your stiletto secrets with us.