5 Ways to Make Wearing Heels Totally Bearable

Let’s be honest—we all have that favorite pair of heels we love to wear, but can’t stand the pain they eventually amount to. Instead of throwing them out, there are so many ways to actually make them your feet’s best friends. From easy DIYs to shopping tips, here are five ways to ensure your heels never hurt you again.

1. Break them in beforehand

This one is an obvious, yet simple solution that most people forget about. When you first get your heels, take them on a test run to break them in a few days before you actually wear them out. There are so many ways to break them in, some simple, some wacky, and some just plain DIY.

If you have time to stretch your heels out, you can do it over the course of a week or so just by wearing them around the house for a small period of time each day. But if you don’t have time do to that, you can also loosen the shoes up by bending them a few times and then blowing hot air from a blowdryer on them for a few minutes. Then repeat this process again until they are loose enough for your foot.

Another solution is to peel a large potato and stick it in the front of your shoe. Make sure it is big enough to create a small stretch in the shoe, leave it in overnight, and your shoe should fit a little better!

2. Buy padding or liners

If you don’t have the time to break your shoes in, try using some extra padding to prevent blisters or pain altogether. There are several brands and types of paddings or liners you can buy to put inside your shoes to help with the pain. Dr. Richard T. Braver, an expert podiatrist, recommends Dr. Scholl’s Tri-Comfort Orthotics ($11.49) which helps with pain in all areas of the foot including the heel, arch and ball. If you are experiencing pain specifically in the ball of the foot, Dr. Braver recommends metatarsal pads, such as Dr. Scholl’s P.R.O. Pain Relief Orthotics for the ball of the foot ($10.79).

3. Buy a bigger size

Sounds silly not to buy your proper size in a shoe that is already uncomfortable to begin with, but sizing up just a teeny bit can help you avoid the pain altogether; especially when it comes to pointy-toed pumps. Dr. Braver explains that if your shoes pinch your toes, you may blister or lose feeling in the toes. To help solve this issue, Dr. Braver recommends sizing up your shoes, so that the widest part of the shoe fits the widest part of your foot (which is usually the distance between the big and small toes). When you size up, you want to make sure that the shoe still fits overall and your foot doesn’t fall out of the shoe. If necessary, you can invest in a pair of heel liners, such as Dr. Scholl’s Heel Liners ($6.99), to help prevent the rubbing and slipping of your shoe.

Related: 6 Pairs of Heels that Add Height in a Comfortable Way

4. Try a smaller heel

While it may seem like the only way to avoid uncomfortable high heels is to opt for kitten heels or to avoid them altogether, there may be a different solution to your pain: platform shoes! We don’t mean the incredibly fabulous ones the Spice Girls used to wear in the '90s; we're talking a more stylish version. With platform shoes, you are still getting the height high heels give you, but are leaving out the pressure the heels put on your feet.

Dr. Braver says that the higher the heel, the more weight that is transferred forward onto the ball of your foot. Platform shoes are designed so that the ball of your foot is raised higher off the ground, which actually decreases the amount of pressure and height the heel is actually compared to your foot.

5. Give your feet a break!

Sometimes the only solution to high heel pain is just to take them off. Dr. Braver says it's better just not to wear heels when you don't need to. So if you want to wear heels to a party, when you arrive and sit down for a few minutes, take off your shoes and wiggle your toes around to let your feet breathe. Or when you’re going to work, wear athletic shoes for ultimate comfort and bring your heels with you to change into. This way you still get to look put together, but your feet will also thank you.

There are so many styles of heels to experiment with if you haven't found a comfortable pair yet. Between these tips and trying out styles such as stilettos, kitten heels, wedges, and even platforms, your feet may never suffer again.