fear of heights?

Women who cherish footwear worship at the altar of Manolo Blahnik. His delicate creations infused with an undeniably sensual essence are what our dreams are made of. But, if you have been walking perched atop impossibly tall stilettos for a while you too must know that the fascination with soaring heights comes at a steep price. High heels cause an array of serious foot problems ranging from painful bunions to unsightly calluses. Since no self-proclaimed fashionista can imagine a world devoid of towering Manolos and strappy Jimmy Choos, it is time we learned to cope with our addiction.

the art of shoe shoppingThough stylish gals know the latest styles sold in the Neiman Marcus shoe salon like the backs of their hands, many cannot seem to buy them in the right size. I certainly have been guilty of investing in several pairs of shoes one size too big. But regardless of how amazing a model looks, a perfect fit is necessary for wearability. No two feet are created equal. So before making a purchase, try on both shoes in several different sizes to determine which selection feels most comfortable. Don’t rush to shoe shop at the early hours of the day. The afternoon is a far better time for your pursuits, as the feet swell to their natural size after several hours of activity.
puss in bootsIf you are intending to buy a pair of boots or closed-toe sandals, make sure that they are made from real leather, as the skin cannot breathe enclosed in synthetic materials. If the pair your heart desires is too tight, do not kid that they will stretch. Ultimately, they will expand, but until then the feet will blister severely. Blisters form when skin, particularly moist skin, rubs against another surface, causing friction. This causes a tear or separation within the upper layers the epidermis. The surface is usually intact. Fluid seeps into the space, causing the top of the blister to pop out from the skin surface. The skin directly under the fluid is tender to the touch because it has been abraded. The most effective shoe shopping trick is to put on the shoes and walk around the store for a while. If discomfort and pain ensue shortly thereafter, just back away from the shoe regardless of how beautiful it is. Remember: uncomfortable shoes deform feet.

Orthopedists recommend wearing platforms as opposed to stilettos. Platforms provide the feet with greater support while affording the wearer a gravity boost. When picking the perfect pair of platforms, pay special attention to the toes. If you can’t wriggle your toes in the shoe, then the front must be excessively rigid or pointy. In either case the toes will sit slightly bent, causing pain and corns. Like calluses, corns are caused by the accumulation of special epidermal cells called keratinocytes. These cells accumulate in response to pressure or friction, usually over a bony prominence, like toe joints. To prevent their formation, refrain from buying footwear based on purely aesthetic considerations.

the world under your feetWe all have unique walks. Some saunter as others race down the street. Regardless of predisposition and habit, it is necessary to slow down when wearing heels. Take smaller steps and don’t lift the feet too far off the ground in strides. Refrain from leaning forward. Keep a straight posture and push the hips forward to balance the body. First press on the heel and subsequently land the sole of the foot gently on the ground. The key word is “gently”. If you are stomping instead of floating, people will be much more inclined to focus on your gait rather than the $800 Louis Vuitton concords you are sporting.
It is a great idea to do some feet exercises before attempting a long day on stilettos. Fashionlines recommends:
  • massage your feetBefore putting on your shoes, spend a few minutes stretching the feet and toes. Rising up on the tippy-toes and landing back on the floor will help stretch out the Achilles tendon.
  • Massage the feet everyday. The steady kneading action will prevent swelling and induce calming relaxation.
  • Don’t hesitate to take off your shoes in the office. In fact, while replying to emails or going over the P&L reports, roll a tennis ball under your feet. This exercise will work the muscles and assuage pains.
  • Don’t rest your body weight on the entire foot at all times. Periodically, rise slightly on the soles of the feet and stay still for a while. Repeat the motion by balancing the body on the heels of the feet next. Changing up the stress points will prolong your heel endurance time.
  • Put your feet to work. Sit up on a chair and put a small face towel on the floor in front of you. Using the toes slowly pull the towel towards you.
Who can blame a girl who has a pair of discerning feet matched with an unquenchable appetite for high fashion foot wear? For a true aficionado on the “heels” of elevation, too much is never enough and abstinence is simply out of the question. Like Imelda Marcos said, “I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes. I had one thousand and sixty.”
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