Discover the "healthy" way to wear heels. Plus, our favorite pairs for the holiday season.
That pain that you feel at the end of a long night—no, it's not a hangover and it's not exhaustion. We're talking about something worse—the pain that's caused by a seemingly evil and malicious pair of high heels. But, believe it or not, not all high heels are created equal. In some cases, they can actually be healthier for your feet than flats. "Excess pronation is a condition that affects 75 percent of the population and has been related to many conditions, such as heel pain (otherwise known as plantar fasciitis), knee pain, and even lower-back pain," says podiatrist Phillip Vasyli.
In this case, doctors actually recommend wearing shoes with a slight heel, as opposed to our trusty flats. "The popular trend of ballet flats has caused us to see an increase in many of the aforementioned conditions due to a lack of overall support and flimsy shoe construction," Vasyli says.
Generally, there are a few things to look for when you're shopping for stilettos. First, make sure the heels are of moderate proportions, not the towering Lady GaGa variety. Save those for dinners out, where you'll be sitting for most of the evening.
Vasyli recommends opting for well-constructed "quality" shoes, especially those that have shock absorbing materials in the ball of the foot, and using an insert like Orthaheel, which he invented. He also suggests wearing your highest heels for only short periods at a time and giving them a little bit of closet time now and then."If you feel the need to wear higher-heeled shoes daily, then take a more comfortable shoe to get to and from work and wear the higher shoes while you're sitting at your desk," he adds.
Also, while you're having a ball, be conscious of the weight that's being distributed onto the ball of your foot. "The higher the heel, the more the shoe increases the arch height and also changes the 'arch position'," Vasyli says. He suggests looking for shoes that "contour" to your arch and distribute your weight over the entire foot, not just the ball of the foot.
Click here for a rundown of our favorite "healthy" heels for holidays and why you should be wearing them.