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Breaking in a Pair of Heels

Posted on October 29 2015

In my book, there's always been two types of women. Women who wear heels all day long without so much as a twinge in their little toe and then women, like myself, who can barely be bothered to put on shoes. It's a devastating sort of predicament because I absolutely adore the aesthetic of heels but they've always killed my feet - that was, at least, until I bought my first good quality pair of heels and learned how to break them in correctly.

The rule of thumb is that heels require a week of walking in before they are considered “broken in”. But really, who has time for a week of sore feet?

While we still recommend that you buy your heels well before any event you wish to wear them to, here are some tips for breaking in your new heels a little faster.

TIP#1 BUY GOOD QUALITY HEELS

I, like many other women, would pick up any old pair of $20-$30 vinyl heels, wear them out once or twice and then swear off them. It just was not worth the pain.

One day I decided to give it one more shot but this time I bought a $100 pair that I couldn't back out on. This was an investment that wasn't going to linger in my closet and I don't regret it for a second.

When buying good quality heels, the first thing I noticed is that the fit is completely different. Women's feet have a particular shape and ratio from heel to toe. There's a lot of changes in shoe designs that make them more comfortable based on this ratio and a quality shoe designer will keep this in mind with their heels.

The changes in shoes can be very subtle. Things like adding a slightly chunkier heel, changing the curve near where the heel meets the shoe, or adding a platform near the toes can mean the difference between  pain and perfection.

That isn't to say that even the most expensive of heels won't have a break-in period. The only shoes that don't need to be broken in are house slippers.

Every heel will have its own break-in period depending on the height of the heel, material the shoe is made from and style of the shoe, but a quality shoe will be more comfortable right off the bat and you're more likely to make it through the break-in unscathed. Here's a few of our best brands I recommend for great heels.

COMFORTABLE HIGH HEEL BRANDS

Bettie Page Shoes

BETTIE PAGE SHOES

PRICE RANGE: $40-$120

Some of my favorite heels are from Bettie Page. They offer such a wide selection of styles, heights, materials and colors that you can definitely find the perfect pair of heels for you.

Also, their price range varies from very affordable to a high-end heel. They do a lot of designs with a platform toe which adds height without increasing the heel. This gives shorties, such as myself, an advantage without adding to the heel height and potential foot pain.

Bettie Page also run some of their pin-up styles in a smaller heel height, which is ideal for people that don't always wear heels and don't want to wobble on their way to an event.

Finally, some of their heels come in leather, which is my preferred material for shoes because of their quality and fit.

 

Pin Up Couture

PIN UP COUTURE

PRICE RANGE: $40 - $70

I adore Pinup Couture's designs, which is unfortunate because they are just out of my comfort range in heel height. 

They are for a more dedicated heel wearing, pin-up lady than myself. The cost puts them near a lower range for price but in the upper range for style.

They have faux leather, polyurithane, satin, and leather shoes in both classy as well as wild designs. 

A lot of their heels have a slight lift near the toe which acts to propel the foot forward when walking. It gives you a little rock to your step and makes moving in these ultra high heels a little easier.

TaylorSays Shoes

TAYLOR SAYS

PRICE RANGE: $100 - $200

If you want to go wild with your heels then I recommend anything by the wonderful and wacky designs of TaylorSays. These extreme prints can really be coupled with anything because they are so unique and colorful.

The price is on the higher end for heels but you're getting a great quality, tattoo-inspired heel from a designer that lives in her heels.

Most of TaylorSays shoes are made from real leather or a combination of leather and man-made materials. 

Leather soles absorb impact better than most other soles, meaning a more comfortable shoe in the long run. 

Leather also forms better to your feet, resulting in a shoe that fits like an extension of yourself after break-in.

TIP #2 WEAR THEM AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE

It is crucial to break in your heels before you wear them out otherwise you could develop blisters midway through the night. Ouch!

In order to wear your heels as much as possible, you have to take special care of your feet. Here's a few little tips that are life-savers:

When you are ready to wear your heels out, wear nylon stockings the first several times. Stockings prevent chaffing which will reduce your chances of developing a blister on that oh-so-sensitive spot on the back of your heel or on the edges of your toes.

If you do develop a blister, then keep Moleskins handy to protect the spot. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to preemptively put a patch on areas of "high wear", such as the heel and toes.

Powder your toes if you are prone to sweaty feet which will help keep them dry, reducing friction and your chances of developing a blister.

Get an insert. Having some padding near the toes can make heels miles and away more comfortable even after break in. This is because a lot of the pressure during the step is going toward the toes, so an insole will take some of that impact and redistribute it.

To start with a new pair of heels, the key is to wear them as often as possible without committing to a full day of heel wearing. This means, rock them at home.

Around the house is actually a great time to wear heels because you can slip them off as soon as you feel uncomfortable and the terrain is familiar to you. Also, wearing your shoes at home means that you can follow this next tip without getting any strange looks.

TIP #3 WEAR YOUR HEELS WITH THICK SOCKS

Now, you could probably pull this off wearing your heels with a pair of pants to cover your shame, but otherwise you'll want to do this tip at home.

You want to wear as thick of socks as you can fit on your feet. This will stretch the material and make it more pliable so it isn't as stiff on your actual skin. The best way to get the fastest results from this method is to add some heat to the material which brings me to the next tip.

TIP #4 GET YOUR HEELS HOT

Use a hair dryer to heat the material which will help with stretching it out. This doesn't mean that you want to melt the material. You want to fan a dryer on low heat over the shoe for several minutes to warm the material up and get it supple. Wearing the thick socks while you do this encourages the material to stretch.

Work in 20 minute increments; meaning that you warm the shoe for about 3 minutes then let the shoe rest for 17 minutes before trying it again. Do this until the shoes loosen up enough to wear it comfortably without socks.

Please notice! This is not recommended for satin shoes. Satin should be treated very gently and I do not recommend doing anything that might damage the material. Satin shoes should be worn out gently so just stick with wearing them regularly rather than the heating method.

TIP #5 BUY LEATHER

If you still can't get your feet to feel comfortable in your stretched shoes then maybe you're shoes just don't have enough "give". Feet swell throughout the day and the size you may wear in ultra comfy sneakers may not be the same size you need for heels.

Shoe sizes are pretty standard but that doesn't mean that all shoe designers follow the sizes to the tee. You should expect your shoe size to vary slightly from designer to designer. Some companies will tell you if their shoes run small or large. For example, oftentimes, leather shoes should be very snug when you first buy them so they stretch to the perfect fit. Also, leather shoes offer more "give" as the material is typically stronger than man-made material. This means that they can stretch that little bit to be just the right size. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right shoe company for you.

Don't set aside the heels for someone else to look great in. If you can get past the break-in period with a pair of quality heels then you'll understand how some people can wear theirs all day long. Bad heels can make the break-in last forever and the pain unbearable. That's why it's crucial to buy good quality high heels and break them in properly.

 

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