Fashion Fiascos: Is Your Footwear Killing Your Feet?

Nadja Auermann, Helmut Newton, Vogue

When it comes to shoes, practical, comfortable and stylish seem to rarely go hand in hand. Skyscraper heels, pointy boots and ballet flats might all look great but they’re examples of some of the worst offenders. From lack of support to pressure on the feet and squeezing of the toes, you can end up with some serious foot and body issues from wearing the wrong shoes. Blisters, bunions, calluses, fallen arches and more, it’s worth considering what you’re putting on your feet and finding the balance between comfort and style.

Add insoles
Not every pair of shoes you’ll ever buy are going to be ideal for your feet. Whether it’s a pair of flats you need for a particular outfit or heels for nights out, sometimes cheaper or less practical shoes are always going to win. When that happens, you can balance things out by adding cushioned insoles to give you more support. Companies like can actually address the underlying causes of foot pain while making your shoes more comfortable. At the very least, adding a pair of gel insoles that sit under the ball of the feet when you’re wearing heels will prevent that awful aching, burning feeling that we all know so well.

Go with a lower heel
High heels can look fantastic. They provide added height and can make your legs look longer and slimmer. They instantly glam up an outfit and there are some occasions where only heels will do. However, they’re not good for you because of how they put excessive pressure onto the ball of the foot. They’re bad for posture and can hurt the knees and back. You don’t need to throw out all of your gorgeous high heels and instead choose them for certain occasions. If you’re going out to a nice dinner or an occasion where there will be a lot of sitting then go for it. If you’re planning on dancing the night away, a lower heel can make more sense. If you choose a heel which has a platform at the front, it gives the impression that the heel is higher than it is. Perfect if you want some height without hurting your feet more than necessary.  Ideally the heel will be sturdy instead of a stiletto heel. While this can sound clumpy and frumpy, there are styles out there that incorporate this nicely.

Take care of your feet
If you’ve been on your feet all day, spend some time that evening soaking them. Apply lotion and use a pumice stone on any hard skin that appears from your shoes. You might not be able to wear practical shoes all the time, so when your feet are tired and sore, be sure to look after them. That way you’re not doing lots of damage over the long term, and if you limit beautiful yet unsupportive shoes to occasional use you get to enjoy fashion without hurting your feet.

I've never really been much of the type to suffer for fashion so I don't care care much for heels. I had to give up heels after a particularly bad ankle injury that still vexes me. Honestly I don't miss them at all since there are plenty of stylish footwear options out there that aren't high heels. I realize I might be singing a different tune if I weren't 167.64 cm.

What were the most uncomfortable shoes you’ve ever owned? Were they worth the pain?

This is a contributed post and may contain affiliate links.

Photo: Nadja Auermann by Helmut Newton for Vogue


Ivana Split said...

The most uncomfortable heels I own are definitely not worth the pain. I have one pair that I only wear for photographs. High heels are bad for our back and feet, and if they happen to be uncomfortable, then it is really a red flag. Generally, I do find most of my stiletto collection comfortable mostly because my feet have adjusted to it, but I try not to buy new stilettos. Low heels are definitely the way to go. In future, I plan to buy more low heeled shoes.

Platform heels are great, as they are not as hard on our joints and back, but they are not as stable as regular heels. If a stone gets under your feet, or you walk on uneven terrain, you can easily slip and twist your ankle. So maybe platform heels are best for special ocassions?

P.S. I couldn't imagine my life without insoles!

Emmylou said...

Considering how much we're on our feet the whole day, I think foot care is something we all should really focus on. I'm guilty of not taking care of my feet unfortunately, and as I get older, I am really noticing now how neglectful I was. I don't wear heels anymore aside from special occasions so that helps a lot.
PS Those biopods sound great!

Valerie said...

These are such great tips! I seriously can't handle wearing high heels, so I definitely agree that a lower heel is a better choice. Also the BioPods sound great...I'm definitely going to be checking them out! Thanks for sharing!

Beauty Unearthly said...

Great tips and a very helpful post! x

Pilar said...

I remember when I was in college I used wear flip flops quite often and then I noticed my feet would start to hurt. Every since I stopped wearing them years ago the foot pain went away. I try not to wear heels and wedges over 4inches high. These are very good tips Rowena! Thanks for sharing!

Shireen L. Platt said...

I have a pair of ankle boots with a 5 inch chopstick slim heels in the past. It was stunning but I can only wear it for a most an hour before my ankles feel like they are going to die. Off to the nation bin they went....

Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity