Five exercises that’ll make walking in heels much easier

You can totally do these at home

walk in heels, sex and the city
(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

You can totally do these at home

You know that moment when you suddenly go way over your pain threshold after a day in heels (unless of course you're the Queen and you have someone to break your shoes in for you)? Wouldn't it be nice if you could avoid it?

Sure, there's the element of the shoes themselves not being comfortable, but what if there were exercises you could do to strengthen your calves and ankles that meant you didn't experience pain as much? We asked Luke Grahame at Roar Fitness (@roarfitnessldn) for some tips.

'What is important to understand is that walking regularly in high heels actually changes the way in which the foot functions and moves which can subsequently lead to chronic postural issues such as lower back pain,' Luke explains.

'Therefore, as well as strengthening the foot, we need to look at incorporating a number of corrective exercises and stretches in order to restore and maintain normal foot mobility and function, as well as walking pain free.'

Here he shares five simple exercises you can easily do in front of your favourite Netflix TV shows - and if you need pointers on your technique, here are our tips to successfully walk in heels.

1. Single leg squat matrix

Balancing on the right leg, squat as deep as you can whilst extending your raised left foot to tap the ground in front of you. Straighten up as you bring the extended foot back to centre. Repeat the action but this time extending the foot out to the side as you squat. Try to imagine that you are standing at the centre of a clock face and your foot is tapping a number each time you squat. Go through the numbers on the clock face from 12-6 and back again before changing legs. As well as strengthening and stabilising the foot and ankle through a wide range of angles, this exercise will also mobilise and release any tight tissue from spending too much time in your favourite heels. Repeat 3 times each leg.

2. Calf raises

As well as strengthening the calf muscles, a properly performed calf raise can help stretch out tight muscles and relieve ankle pain. Stand with toes on a step and heels off the edge. Lower the heels towards the floor and hold a deep stretch for 2 seconds before pushing through the toes to lift yourself up into a calf raise. Repeat 15 times for 3 sets. Note that in order to make the movement harder but more effective, perform these in bare feet and try to come right up on your toes on every rep.

3. Go barefoot

As mentioned before, heels have a negative effect on how your foot moves, so what better way to restore natural function and strengthen the foot than to walk as nature intended and go barefoot. Parks, gardens and beaches offer ample opportunity to stretch your toes out and get in a foot workout. For the more modest out there, there are barefoot trainers that offer the same benefit with less pinkies on show.

4. Ankle rotations

A very simple fix that can be performed virtually anywhere. Rotate the foot through its entire range of motion being sure to flex and extend the toes as well as the ankle. A very basic but effective trick that restores mobility and creates strength within tight ankles and feet. Perform 10 rotations each way before swapping feet. Repeat for a total of 3 sets.

5. Calf stretch

Heels cause the calf muscles to become short, tight, and irritated. Stretch them out by standing facing a wall with one foot forward. Keeping the foot flat and the heel down, push the front knee forward to try and touch the wall. If it touches easily then you're too close. If it doesn't touch then you're too far away. Find a spot at which the knee just reaches the wall with a little effort and hold the stretch for 2 minutes each side.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.