Shoes remain one of the most important aspects of fashion. The perfect shoe can create an image of professionalism, affluence, the personality within, or just plain height. And women in particular are more willing to pay for ‟the right look” not only with their credit cards but with the comfort of their feet.
This, however, can cause long-term pain in the feet, knees, and back which then leads to discomfort when standing and walking. Heels challenge the body’s ability to balance and all of the muscles of the legs must work to stabilize the ankle. Walking is split into two phases. The swinging phase and stance phase. Any shoe that inhibits the weight from falling where it should can lead to pain. High heels are a major culprit of this because both ‟push-off” and ‟heel-strike” happen mainly on the ball of the foot with little or no support at the ankle. Even those cute little flats, mules, or sandals that don’t offer support to the ligaments of the arch, toe joints, or ankle will throw off the rhythm of your natural gait.
Bunions, hammer toes, and pump-bump (that bony enlargement at the back of the heel bone) can make even the prettiest of shoes lose their luster and let’s face it, when your feet hurt the whole body hurts. So what can we do because we know Manolo Blahnik is not going out of business any time soon?!
First off, buy shoes that are the right size. There is no shame in a size 11 except when it is crammed into a size 8 and there are toes falling over the front edge. Trying on shoes after a full day is best because your feet are already hot and swollen. This will give you a much more realistic idea of how those shoes will feel long-term. (The only ‟breaking-in” will be happening inside of your foot, not the shoe.) And try to look for 2 to 2 1\2 inch heels. This is about the difference of when we stand on our toes therefore our body can still find it’s center of balance. Wearing those spiky, pointy numbers for as little time as possible with down time in between is best.
If you know a pair of shoes becomes uncomfortable after a few hours, have back-up. It seems quite customary now for flatter shoes to be worn at weddings after the main ceremony is over and the eating and dancing has started. I think this is a great idea. And to make dressy heels more comfortable, invest in foot accessories that cushion body weight inside the shoe.
When you get home and can finally give your tired feet some attention, sit down, take off your shoes and swing your ankles in slow circles. Gently massage your arches and Achilles tendons on both feet.
A foot soak is a great idea. (See recipes below.) Start with cool water for about 10 minutes. This will diminish any swelling and discomfort. Then add hot for another ten. Follow that with more circular stretches. Then reward yourself with a light layer of any foot cream with Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Bayberry, or Juniper. Aaaaah!
A full hour of reflexology will directly access the ligaments and tendons in the foot and will help to send a message of healing to other parts of the body, like the lower back. Regular pedicures are also essential. Keeping the nails short makes a big difference to how a shoe fits.
Foot soak recipes:
Fill a bowl with enough hot water to cover both feet to ankle height. Add ½ cup Epsom salts and 1 cup of Baking soda then select one of these three recipes according to your needs. Add about 10 drops of oil collectively to each soak.
For Aching feet:
4x drops of chamomile
4x drops of lavender and 2x drops of peppermint.
For Foot warming:
5x drops of rosemary
3x drops of clove bud and 2x drops of ginger.
For Cooling swollen feet:
6x drops of peppermint
Ix drop of rosemary and 3x drops eucalyptus.
So, yes, wear those gold lamé sling backs with the singular sequined strap around the big toe and the lime-green fur along the insole. But also remember to take care of yourself before and after. That way when you say that your dogs are barking, you’ll be talking about the one’s in your backyard!