You Can Wear High Heels With Less Pain When You Follow This Advice

High heels are bad for your feet, right? Yes, probably, but if you insist on wearing high-heeled shoes, you can do a number of things to make them hurt less and to prevent them from doing as much long-term damage.

If high heels are simply part of your life, follow this advice to stay as comfortable as possible while showing off those great legs and that fashionable footwear.

First, find out what size you really wear. Walking around in heels that are even half a size too small can do you a lot of harm. Instead, get a professional measurement — and adjust to only buying shoes that really fit you. Nothing else is more important to healthy and pain-free feet than wearing properly sized shoes.

Second, don’t go too high. How high you can go depends on the style of the shoe and the shape of your foot, but if your heels are uncomfortable, they’re too high. Try this: Put on your heels and then stretch up on tiptoes. If your shoes are so high that you can’t stretch any taller than you already are when wearing them, you need to drop down in height a bit.

Third, consider the width of the heel itself. Standing on blocks is easier than standing on sticks. That is, pumps are easier to stand in than stilettos. You really need to choose heels with enough width to support your feet as well as possible — whether that’s in style this year or not.

Fourth, use shoe insoles. Gel inserts and other women’s insoles — designed with the specific shoe choices and foot shapes of women in mind — can make a real difference. And in many cases, you can move the insoles from one pair of shoes to another, saving money and allowing you to always be comfortable.

Fifth, don’t wear the same shoes all the time. You probably have lots of heels and flats, so switch things up a bit. That’s best for your feet and best for the shoes since the fabric needs to rest and dry.

Sixth, wear socks or stocking. The material inside shoes isn’t designed for comfort or hygiene, so wear socks or stocking to protect your feet and the insides of your precious shoes. You’ll be very glad you did if you decide to take your shoes off for a while during your workday or during that meaningful event.

Seventh, listen to your body. If wearing certain shoes hurts, take them off. Always carry a backup pair if you’re trying out new shoes. And if you insist on wearing uncomfortable shoes for a certain look, take them off as soon as you can. Comfort should always come first — because you won’t make a good worker, party guest, wife or girlfriend if you’re in pain.

Ideally, every pair of shoes should be chosen for comfort. And you need to do everything you can to support your feet if you want them to support you for a lifetime.