Dress: Old (I couldn’t find a similar striped version, but I do love this plaid shift dress which is perfect for layering, for under $40!) // Shoes: Sam Edelman ‘Dora’ via Nordstrom // Shirt: Old, but similar here and here // Scarf: c/o Vera Bradley (old) similar here and here // Bag: c/o Coach
I wouldn’t trade being a woman for anything. As much as we complain, I think it has more advantages than disadvantages. But I won’t get into those here.
There’s a big, double edged sword though, that comes with being female: and that’s how to walk in heels. On one side, there’s a unique, empowering feeling that comes with stepping into a gorgeous set of heels. (If only we can learn to walk in them.) On the other side–there’s blisters, pinched toes, FALLING DOWN STAIRS (more on that below) and you know, the list goes on.
My journey learning how to walk in heels started off a bit rocky. It’s an experience that I’m confident will be seared into my brain for a lifetime:
It was 2002, and freshman year orientation at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. I knew not one soul going into a 2,000 student public school, but it was off to a good start: I had the cutest, most popular senior boy for as my orientation group’s designated school tour guide.
To set the scene: Legally Blonde had just come out and I, for whatever reason, felt compelled to dress like Elle Woods and stuff my Jack Russell Terrier into a tote bag whenever possible.
(Just to give you a visual.)
That being said, I chose the highest pair of wedges (they were probably about 6.5 inches, platform, with ties around the ankle) a stylish, girly, flared denim skirt and a shimmery Michael Kors tank top for the occasion. I thought this would surely make my 5 foot, shrimpy, flat-chested frame look older and more sophisticated.
I was walking through the halls of the English and Foreign language building, shyly flirting with this boy and the next thing I knew, I took a tumble down the front steps outside of the building. In front of EVERYONE.
I FLEW down several stairs, and skinned my knees. Like a child and so far from Elle Woods it wasn’t even funny. Those damn shoes.
This is still one of the more embarrassing moments of my life. In fact, I’m really shocked I even told you about it on the internet. I went home and immediately got on AIM (that’s AOL Instant Messenger for you young people out there) to tell my best friend, Tasha, what god awful thing had just happened to me.
From then on, it was really imperative that I learn how to walk in heels. (A skill that later came in really handy in college, where wearing a coat to the bars in the winter was social suicide, and the fastest way to get home to Tri Delt was to sprint several blocks down Third Street in nothing but 5 inch stilettos and a skimpy American Apparel spandex dress.) I had skills, you guys.
So, next time you’re waddling down the street, keep these tips in mind.
How to walk in heels:
Buy the right size
I have a chronic problem of purchasing shoes that are too big for me. I hate the feeling of my toes being pinched, so I err on the side of too big. This is actually worse than buying shoes too small, because then I fall out of them each time I try to walk. Learn from my mistakes, and get your feet measured, and pay attention to sizing charts to ensure you’re buying the correct size every time.
Fun fact: Did you know you’re typically supposed to go half a size down when purchasing heels vs. flats? If you’re having recurring trouble walking in heels, chances are, they might be too big.
Don’t be a Velociraptor
Learning how to walk in heels is all about the heel-to-toe action. Ever wondered why you can walk just fine in flats, only to find that you instantly transform into velociraptor when donning a pair of stilettos?
It’s because you’re trying to walk flat-footed. But you’re not, in fact, a giant lizard! Walk like a normal human being! Don’t overthink it–move as you normally would if you were wearing gym shoes, or walking barefoot. Keep that standard heel to toe motion, and you should be in good shape!
Start with Ankle Straps and Wedges
Think of ankle straps as the training wheels of heels. As stated above, one of the trickiest parts of walking in heels is the possibility of stepping out of them. The less they move around, the easier it is to walk–and also lessens the chance of falling down stairs or rolling your ankle.
Additionally, the more you wear your shoes, the more they tend to stretch. (This can also be caused by roommates with bigger feet than you. Or so I’ve heard…) An ankle strap will come in handy for keeping them glued to your foot, even if they do become slightly bigger.
Another type of heel that is easier to begin with is the wedge. Wedge heels provide a lot more stability than a tall, thin heel. You might decide you love wedges so much, that you never want to move onto taller and thinner heels, and that’s totally okay too. Because, well, wedges are adorable.
Shop Ankle Strap & Wedge Heels:
Wear them around the house
You’ve never mastered any art without a little practice, right? When you get a pair of new heels, wear them around the house before you have to step out in public for the first time. The same concept can apply when trying on a pair of shoes in a department store. Keep them on for longer than just 30 seconds. If you can, make a few laps around the shoe department so you really know if they’re realistic walking material.
Befriend a cobbler
Heels can be uncomfortable. We all know this.
They can also be verrryyy slippery (this is often the case with leather soles). If you run into this problem often, then I suggest you befriend a local cobbler, who can add a thin rubber pad to the bottom of your leather-soled heels. This adds to the comfort factor, protects the soles, and also keeps them from being slippery!
Curate a tool kit
There are a few items you can pick up at the local drug store that make walking in heels much easier. I love these gel pads for the bottoms of your feet, which make heels WAY more comfortable. Rub relief strips are also a popular option. Also, try Sole Serum–it’s basically a numbing agent for the bottoms of your feet, so they don’t hurt as much if you’re wearing your heels for a long period of time. I always have a bottle of this in my purse for weddings! Stocking up on these essentials makes it much easier to combat high heel issues.
If all else fails…kitten heels!
Shop Kitten Heels:
What are your tips for learning how to walk in heels?