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How to *successfully* walk in heels

Ever wondered why your friend can run for miles in sky high stilettos and you, well, just can’t? Podiatrist Margaret Dabbs explains all

Ever wondered why your friend can run for miles in sky high stilettos and you, well, just can’t? Learning to walk in heels is a challenge that many a fashionista can (literally) fall down on. But as well as the obvious pointers (walk heel to toe, take slower, smaller steps and buy shoes that, well, actually fit) podiatrist Margaret Dabbs reveals that there is more science to it, and we need to know how to respond to our feet…

Train your arch…

‘Your foot’s arch moulds itself to whatever shape you put it in,’ says Margaret, ‘so if you live in Converse then you’ll have flatter feet than someone who has built up their arch support by wearing heels more often. Likewise someone who wears heels every day may struggle to wear flats again, because the instep is now so high and the Achilles tendon has shortened.’

How wide?

‘Wide feet need room. You’ll put pressure on the bunion joint and crush your toes if you squeeze feet into a style that’s too narrow at the front. Pain can come from the cut of the shoe as much as the heel itself.’

Ball point…

‘Extra high stilettos push all of your weight onto the front of the foot, which is how you get the burning pain under your toes and calluses on the ball. Chunkier heels will help distribute weight more evenly and platforms add cushion.’

Forget the flatforms…

‘You can’t walk anywhere fast in mules, but flatforms are the worst offenders. The inflexibility of the sole means you could go over on your ankle and the stomping movement is terrible for knees too.’

Vary your height…

‘Switch your heel height regularly so that the foot doesn’t get stuck in a certain shape. Change your footwear throughout the day – I’ll wear trainers on the commute, slip heels on for a meeting and then do wedges for after work drinks. 1.5 inches is the optimum, but varying heights will keep your arches supple and the feet fit.’

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