How To Make Your Shoes Comfortable
Do your feet start hurting when you just look at your favorite pair of shoes? Are your feet slipping forward in your high heels or do you regularly slip out of your flat shoes? Are you head over heels in love with your sandals, but they are too uncomfortable to wear all day? Don’t give up on your shoes yet, because the following inserts will make your shoes easier to wear.
It’s an undeniable part of the human condition, we’re simply prone to repeating some mistakes. Buyers regret on uncomfortable shoes is one of those mistakes. We’ve put together a list of our best hacks for making your uncomfortable shoes a little easier to bear… so please, don’t hate yourself for that impulse purchase just yet.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they feature alone, or with a supporting cast in most women’s wardrobes. By default, they suck a little, ok, a lot. Never have been that comfortable and maybe in the very near future they might genuinely be so, but until then, use our go-to guide to make them slightly less despicable
Good ole Scotch Tape
Taping the third and fourth toes of each foot (counting from the big toe) helps to alleviate pressure on a particularly sensitive nerve that is found between these toes. Use nude color medical tape if you are wanting to try this strange look with sandals, otherwise, simple washi-tape or Scotch tape will work.
Believe it or not, maxi pads, the thickest, bounciest ones you can find; feel tons better than store-bought gel inserts with certain types of shoes. Booties in particular benefit from the extra padding. Apart from resting your foot on a soft and squishy bed, it has the added benefit of absorbing any foot sweat. Obviously not to be used with sandals or slides.
Wearing heels adjusts your gait and stance automatically- you’ll find your butt sticking out a bit more as your calve muscles are pulled taut, women tend to either hobble or take smaller steps in high heels. Practise adjusting your gait but take longer steps whilst swinging your hips- not unlike a model strutting down the catwalk- there’s a very good reason why models walk that way. You’re welcome.
Grit and bear it
Sanding the surface of your new shoes might seem a tad aggressive, I mean, you bought those shoes because you really really like the shiny red bottoms right? We get it, but sanding the bottoms of slick soles gives you more traction on surfaces like tiles or granite and definitely takes slipping off the list of heel-hazards.
Elevate your toes
Adding a piece of gel or felt metatarsal padding will take pressure of the balls of your feet somewhat. They may make your toes feel a bit squashed to the tops of your shoes, but will allow you spend more time standing in them- you can either DIY this or buy at a drugstore. Stuffing cotton balls under your toes will achieve the same effect.
Get your feet measured and sized
It is important to know the exact size of your feet when purchasing shoes. Once at a shoe store, you can ask a sales associate to assist you in proper foot measurement so that you can find shoes that fit you correctly.
Always try the shoes on prior to purchase
Remember, not all shoes follow the same sizing standards. Two different pairs of shoes in the same size can fit you very differently. Shoes can run big or run small, so it is important that you always try them on in the store before you buy them. Also, the shape of the shoe can play a major factor in how they fit your feet.
Test the shoes around the store
If you are purchasing shoes in a store, try on the shoes and walk around in them for two minutes. This will be enough time for you to feel if they are causing you any discomfort. If they fail the two-minute test, you should probably find a pair of heels that is more comfortable.
Buy quality shoes
It feels great to find inexpensive merchandise, but shoes are not an item you want to skimp on. Do your research before purchasing shoes, especially high heels, and make sure they are a trusted brand. Your feet are the foundation of your body and it is important that they receive great care and stay healthy.
Treat blisters on your feet
Blisters can develop on your feet from your toes sliding forward, too-tight shoes, or sweaty feet that cause too much friction in your shoe. To help soothe your blisters, cover them with moleskin bandages. These types of bandages are softer and will allow your skin to more easily breathe. Your blisters will surely prevent you from walking normally if you leave them untreated.
Invest in shoe inserts designed for high heels
Shoe inserts will help your foot fit more securely in your shoe, allowing you to wear them longer. There are foam and gel inserts available to use. The foam inserts can be cut to your foot size, while gel inserts are transparent and provide discreet comfort. They help keep your foot in place and can support your foot’s natural arches, keeping your feet comfortable.
Plan your shoes for the occasion
You should wear specific types of heels depending on whether you will be inside or outside. If you plan to spend time outside in the grass, or walking long distances on surfaces you are not familiar with, choose shoes that have a wider “contact point” on the bottom so you don’t trip. If you are going to be inside, make sure there is friction, or texture, on the bottoms of your shoes so you do not slip.
Take off your heels during long stretches
If you are wearing your shoes to work, or for more than four hours a day, find a places to take them off for a few moments. This will allow you a chance to stretch out your foot muscles and prevent your feet from injury.
Learn how to walk properly in heels
When you wear heels, your body has to take a different approach to walking because of the new angle at which it places your legs and feet. Try following a simple approach to help you more easily walk in high heels. First, take a step forward, starting with your heel, and rock all the way forward to the tip of the toe. Repeat these two words with every step as a reminder, “heel – toe; heel – toe; heel – toe…”, and before you know it, you will feel sturdy, stable, confident, and comfortable walking in heels.
Practice good posture
You should walk as if you are being pulled up by a string. As you walk, use your hips to shift and lift your legs to the center with each step you take. Condition your body to deal with the changes in posture, which will engage different muscles than when you are walking barefoot or in flats. Your feet, ankles, knees, and back will thank you!
Work your way up to longer wearing time
You wouldn’t go from couch potato to marathon runner in one day. Similarly, you can’t go from ballet flats to four-inch stilettos in one day. If you are planning to wear heels for a special occasion, begin by wearing them for increasing intervals of time every day prior to your event. First, wear them for thirty minutes, then an hour the next day, and then two hours. This will help prepare you for an extended time in your heels.
Practice essential movements in your heels
Start slow by walking back and forth on a non-slippery surface. Then, try to walk up and down stairs. Make sure you can bend over to pick things up. Try wearing a pair while vacuuming, getting ready in the morning or before bed, and running small and routine errands.
Some people feel silly putting on a pair of heels… don’t! Envision yourself becoming a fashion hero when you put them on, and people will envy your confidence. You probably look great wearing them, so don’t let uncertainty trip you up.
Where to start? Sandals are supposed to be the most comfortable option for everyone, but every now and again, a rather pretty pair will prove to have a vicious bite. Flip flops, in particular, can almost always be blamed for calluses and painful calves and crampy toes. sandals are different in that they support your arch and prevent you from slapping your feet on the ground-which is the main contributor to sore calves- when walking, as most other flip flops do. The ergonomic strap slides comfortably between your toes and won’t chafe. Rule of thumb when buying sandals is to always remember it should support the back of your foot, also, a good footbed goes a whole lot further in support than an insert ever will.
Guard those toes
Silicone toe guard posts will be your NBF if you have sensitive skin between your toes that chafe easily. These can be found on Amazon or at the drugstore and are relatively cheap.
Skip the slip
Pain and tension in calves and arches can also be caused by your foot slipping in a sandal that has no back strap, keep things slightly steadier by wearing grippy pad inserts on the insole. Gel inserts add a little more bounce to your step.
For straps that cause blisters and general unpleasantness, silicone straps, which look a lot like double sided tape are a blessing when the sensitive skin of your feet are yelling profanities at you. In a bind, double sided tape will work too but are a literal pain to pull off.
Protect the Pinky
This type of sandal is quite notorious for trying to force you to amputate your pinky toe- the overall structure of the sandal squeezes your toes to a point and the pinky comes off worse than the other toes. Save the pinky by either wrapping with medical tape or buying the super comfortable- albeit strange-looking- rubber toe caps. These are not suitable for styles that show off all your tootsies.
Make like a Dancer
Wedge sandals with broad straps can be helped along by wearing a ballet dancers ‘toekini’, an elasticated strap with holes for the toes have some padding right underneath the balls of the feet- the very same balls that take all the strain when you’re wearing wedges.
For gladiators or similar strappy styles, you have an option of moulding them to fit- provided it is real leather and nothing glittery or embossed. Wear the shoes, adjust to optimal fit and then spray a good amount of warm water on the tops of your sandals until it is pretty soaked. Now leave it to dry naturally on your foot and treat it with a high-quality leather cream and sealer after this exercise.
The most common complaint with this style of shoe is that the top that stretches over the arch of the foot can pinch- the best way to deal with tight shoes is to have them stretched professionally.
The simplest method of stretching out your shoes at home is to fill two plastic bags with water halfway, pop these into your shoes where they need stretching and store it in the freezer. As the water freezes, it will expand and thereby stretch out the offending bits with it.
Sometimes a little extra goes a long way. If you find your feet fishtailing in your shoes even with an insert (Pro-tip: you need to get remeasured), try adding another, thinner insert on top of that, one with no pre-moulding.
Sometimes, poor design means the eyelets of your shoe might be directly on your skin, easily smooth over the problem by sticking a strip of silicone that’s specific for sandal straps under the eyelet row
This has to be the most common women’s footwear item ever made/sold/bought. Whilst they’ve saved many a party girl from ‘death by high heel-wearing’, they aren’t the best type of shoe to wear for a few reasons. There’s no arch support, it’s too flat, they often start smelling really foul if you wear them too often etc etc. However, we reckon they’re here to stay so let’s help you make the most of them.
Since these shoes are usually completely flat and offer no arch support, invest in a really good customized insole, a full shoe or just the arch bit will do- especially if you find that your lower back is achy after a day spent in your flats.
Wearing in a pair of ballet flats can be onerous and painful- the common pain points when wearing in a pair of these is usually the pinky toe area and the back of the foot. Protect both by using either thick plasters or medical tape in these areas. Prevent the dreaded pump-bump by always using a gel pad in the back of the shoe.
Rubbing the entire surface of your foot with drystick underarm deodorant will prevent your foot from slipping and chafing too much and can definitely help in reducing the blister factor.
Workboots/ Hiking Boots
Many a brave human has succumbed to the feeling of throwing away these expensive but sometimes oh-so-necessary functional footwear. Buying a great quality brand cannot be overstressed… no matter how many good insoles you buy, how much leather conditioner you use, it’s still going to be a bad quality buy.
As with every other shoe, a good quality insole will literally add miles to your shoes. A customized one is the best choice.
Fit Fit Fit
You’ll obviously be spending a lot of time standing and walking in these so make sure you buy a pair that fits well from the get-go. Buy your boots in the afternoon when your feet have swollen to its’ full size.
Wearing thick socks or even double socks can provide extra comfort. Always wear contoured socks, the looser the sock, the more chafing and blistering possibilities there are.
According to most runners, it’s never about the distance or the speed of the run- it’s about how comfortable you make the run. We couldn’t agree more. Spend time in choosing the perfect running shoe and most importantly, change your running shoes as often as you need to.
Running is a high-impact sport and will take its toll on your joints- soften the blow by investing in shock absorbing running shoes and further padding it with a customized shock absorbing insole.
If you’re happy with the fit and quality of your shoe, pay attention to how your arches feel after your run. If you’re feeling any tenderness there, use an arch support in the shoe.
Back it up
Heel support is primary to not causing the dreaded Achilles running blisters- a good heel grip will provide extra comfort and prevent your foot from moving too much as you strike up and down and can prevent chafing.
Consider using an antiperspirant stick to reduce sweating
The sweat and moisture created by chafing can cause or worsen blisters. An antiperspirant reduces the moisture, which may reduce blistering.
Fixing Other Problems
Know how to treat painfully-smelly shoes
You can use micro-suede insoles to absorb odor-causing sweat, or you can stick some tea bags into the shoes while you are not wearing them. The tea bags will absorb the odor. Discard the tea bags the next day.
Break in stiff shoes by wearing them for short periods
If your new shoes are painful because they are stiff, you can help soften them up by wearing them around your home. Be sure to take breaks often and take the shoes off when they become too painful. Over time, the shoes may loosen up and become more comfortable to wear.
Use a hairdryer to stretch and break in stiff shoes
Turn a hairdryer on to the lowest setting and point the nozzle into the shoe. Warm the shoe up from the inside for a few minutes, then turn the hairdryer off. Put on two pairs of socks and slip the shoe on. As the shoe cools back down, it will conform to the shape of your foot. This method is best used for shoes made from natural materials; it is not recommended for plastics and other synthetic materials as it may damage them.
Consider taping your third and fourth toe together using skin-colored medical tape
This helps lessen pain in the ball of your foot. The reason this works is because there is a nerve between those two toes. That nerve splits when you wear heels and put pressure on it. Taping those toes together pulls some of the strain away.
Buy some specialized socks
Sometimes, wearing the right type of sock with your shoe is all that you need to fix painful shoes. These types of socks offer support to your feet, wick away moisture, and help prevent chafing and blisters.