As we got older and found our own sense of style, buying our own heels was serious business. And we didn’t always get it right.
Here, we look at the best ways to wear heels comfortably, as well as the preferred styles for teens and young adults. We’ll also cover how to choose the right heels for work and what you need to consider when selecting heels for a wedding or prom.
We all have to start somewhere, right? Whatever it might be, we’ll always be a beginner at some point in our lives – walking in heels is no exception to that rule. Some of us take to walking in heels straight away, but for others it’s more of a learning curve. If you’re a beginner to the world of heels, follow these three golden rules
- Don’t go too high straight away
The main thing to consider when deciding the best type of heels to wear is heel height. The higher the heel, the more you’ll have to adjust your legs and feet to walk comfortably and safely.
Opting for a heel that is too high straight away can cause several issues, including:
- Being super uncomfortable
- Causing damage to the ligaments in your feet, ankles and legs
- Increasing your risk of tripping or falling over
- Choose the right heel height
The best way to work out which heel height is appropriate for you is to follow this simple process:
- Sit with your leg horizontally, so your foot and ankle can move freely.
- Relax your foot and your toes will naturally point (to some degree – everyone varies).
- Working on a right angle, measure from the heel down to where the ball of your foot sits naturally. This will give you the optimum heel height for your feet.
Here are some of our top tips to picking the best heels for beginners:
- Choose chunky, block heels or wedge heels to give yourself more stability and allow yourself to walk more steadily.
- A six-inch stiletto or tapered heel is not going to be the best option to begin with, as they don’t offer a great deal of support.
- Start with a smaller heel and work your way up.
- Practise, practise and practise again
Once you’ve chosen some suitable heels, practise walking in them. You’re probably used to walking with a flat foot, where both the heel and toe hit the floor at the same time. However, this isn’t so easy when you’re wearing heels. Leading with your heel when you step will help you move through the motion more fluidly, without overstretching.
Always break new shoes in before long-term wear. If, after wearing them for a little while, you find they’re still causing issues, either consider a different size or use gel inserts to protect against friction.
Girls’ heeled shoes are often built with a robust block heel, rather than a thinner stiletto heel. This adds more strength and stability to the shoe. Even just a one-inch heel on a child’s shoe can be the equivalent of a much higher-heeled adults’ shoe in terms of the position their foot needs to be in to walk.
Heeled shoes that are lace-up or have an ankle strap will be the best option for younger wearers as they:
- Can be adjusted to fit better
- Are more secure
- Have less chance of slipping off when moving
Wearing heels to work might seem like a great idea, but in practical terms, they’re not always the best choice. When you need to wear a pair of shoes for a whole day, it’s important you pick the right ones.
- If you do a lot of walking around, or you’re on your feet for an extended period, a full, stable mid-heel will most likely be the best type of heel to wear.
- A pair of wedges can be a good choice as they support the whole of your foot in the same way flat shoes would.
- A heeled shoe with a platform can create the illusion of higher heels, without the potential discomfort. As the footbed of the shoe is thicker, the height of the heel is reduced – putting less pressure on your feet.
- When choosing heels for work, you should think about what’s appropriate. A high pair of glittery platform stilettos isn’t the most professional footwear. In contrast, a simple pair of mid-height court shoes may suit a work environment better.
- If you want a more delicate pair of shoes to go with a tailored suit or skirt, kitten heels are an excellent addition.
It’s also essential to think about the colour of your heels. Single colours such as black and navy are formal and versatile, so can be paired with several outfits. You’re probably best to avoid multicoloured or bright-coloured heels, unless you’re in a work environment that embraces it.
Check out our guide to what shoes to wear for work.
Much like wearing heels to work, choosing the right heels for a wedding or prom can be tricky. You need them to feel comfortable for long periods, but you also want them to be stylish.
It’s easy to be blinded by the sheer beauty of a glamorous pair of strappy high-heeled sandals, but whether they’re suitable for you is another question. If you don’t wear heeled shoes regularly, you may find that they don’t offer the support you need to walk comfortably or steadily.
In this case, an excellent choice would be a pair of heels with supports and ankle straps. These will make your shoes more secure, meaning there’s less chance of your feet moving around.
There’s nothing to say that you must wear high heels at a prom or wedding. Kitten heels and low block heels can be a good choice when you don’t want anything too high but still want to add a feminine touch to your outfit.
Deciding which heels are right for you can be confusing. Choosing the most striking pair of skyscrapers you spotted may not be the most practical option. But on the other hand, letting your head rule may leave you underwhelmed when those functional-but-less-fancy heels don’t quite do it for you.
The key to success with heels is getting the right size and fit – ensuring they offer the proper support without trying to go for those killer heels before you’re ready.