It will sound exaggerated, but we suspect that within a generation or two they will be laughing at the evils that many women suffer today from wearing high heels. This is not new, for hundreds of years we have been subjected to unusual torture in the name of fashion, from extremely tight corsets that disfigured the body and left more than one breathless, to absurdly voluminous crinolines, which in pre-electric times were on in fire with the rubbing of any candle or gas lamp. This is how Oscar Wilde’s sisters tragically died at a Dublin Halloween party in 1871, and sadly many more women.
And while it may seem that subjecting our bodies to such dangers in the name of fashion is a thing of the past, for many women it can be torturous to ride on a dizzying pair of heels, and they do not stop doing it. The heels in addition to adding inches of height and a lot of sex appeal, affect posture.
A study at the University of Minho in Portugal explains how increasing the height of the heel modifies the distribution of body weight on the feet, putting more pressure on the metatarsal bones, impairing the balance of the body, safety when walking, and altering the posture of the spine. “The human foot naturally exhibits a slight imbalance in the distribution of the body.
When walking barefoot, 43% of the weight is projected to the front of the feet, while the remaining 57% is directed to the heel portion. Orthopedic specialists generally recommend the daily use of 2 cm high heels as it helps balance the distribution of body weight along the foot, “the study states.
This suggestion is easy to come up with from a lab, difficult to put into practice if you’ve spent your whole life going to work in high heels because you’re short – or because you adore them. According to a 2014 survey by the American Podiatric Association, the average woman owns nine pairs of heels. 71 percent of those surveyed admitted that wearing high shoes is painful, and we suspect that this does not mean they would change them by about 2 cm.
For all of them who feel that shoes are killing them, but still love those little sculptures they collect in their closet, the American Podiatric Association created a series of recommendations to improve the relationship that women have with their heels:
Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes for long periods of time
Take advantage of the trend of wearing sneakers with all kinds of outfits, including silky dresses and work clothes, to give a break from high heels while sitting at the desk or when you go out to lunch on the street. New Yorkers have been doing it for years.
Stretches the muscles before and after using them
Stretching your muscles before and after wearing heels will help reduce pain after a long day in high heels. If you don’t have time to visit the yoga or Pilates studio when you leave the office, a few low-key stretching exercises in the middle of the day could change how you approach the rest of the afternoon.
Try not to exceed 5 cm per heel
Reap the benefits of the return of the low-top mules of the 90s and medium block heels. There is no shoe that looks more office-appropriate today than a moderate-height one, and that’s good news for your metatarsals.
Buy shoes in the afternoon, when your feet are more swollen or …
To avoid suffering at the end of a day walking in the street because of tight shoes, in the middle of an intercontinental flight, or in the third trimester of your pregnancy, buy shoes half a size larger and use cushioned insoles when you need to fill in the extra space.
Warning: These should not be placed on pointed heels because they will force your toes into an even narrower area, and that’s another pain we don’t wish on anyone.
Avoid sharp-tipped ones
Pointe shoes are among the most painful models in the entire closet, subjecting the toes to an unnatural and consequently painful posture. Take advantage of the return of the square toe this season, both in boots and sandals. Your feet will thank you.
Look for shoes with leather inner soles to prevent your foot from slipping
Inner soles, both in animal and vegetable leather, will help the foot not slip forward, even in the most vertiginous heels, like these from Salvatore Ferragamo.
Try to vary the models and shapes of the shoe you wear every day
Wearing comfortable shoes is, without a doubt, the best favor we can do to our back, our hips, and our feet. And for more than two years it has become a common practice to opt for the comfort of a pair of sneakers or flats over high-heeled shoes in the daily lives of the most elegant women on the planet.
Don’t you want to let go of your high heels? Okay, at least try to rest from them intermittently during the week, to avoid permanent damage that in a hundred years will sound as absurd as a corset or crinoline on fire.