Friday, October 3, 2014

BEAUTY FIX: The Girly Medic's (almost) Definitive Guide to Walking in High Heels

I love high heeled shoes. Sure, it makes you look like a fashionista wannabe, but there's more to the stilettos than being a fashion upgrade tool. It slims the calves and it improves your posture - I suffer from low back ache when I am in flats more than when I am in heels (weird, isn't it?). But girly as I am, what I like the most is the way it makes its wearer decidedly feminine by altering the way she walks.

But everyone thinks that it ain't easy. It is true that there is a certain amount of period wherein you would wobble and possibly tumble. And as with any new shoe, you are bound to get blisters. But walking on high heels is not tough all the time! I walk on high heels to school thrice a week, across possibly all the tough surfaces known to the stiletto-wearer. Here are some tips to make your stiletto voyage a successful one.

Know Your Heel

Before starting to strut in heels, know two things: 1) the strength of your feet, particularly the balls of the feet and the front of the ankles and then, 2) the appropriate heel to wear.

When wearing heels, majority of your weight will be shifted back and forth the balls of your feet and your heel. When standing, the weight naturally shifts to the balls of the feet. The ankles are the ones that would relay the weight of your body to the foot so naturally, these have to be strong.  Weakness in these parts would result to wobbling of the feet, and we know that wobbling in heels don't look pretty.

"Balls of the Feet" is a vague term, so I encircled it for easy reference. ;)

If you are a beginner, it's best to choose heels that slants the feet at a less steep angle, so that there is less weight to be shifted at the balls of the feet, hence your ankles will have a lesser work to do. I recommend platform heels since they have a thicker sole, so there is less slanting of the feet without sacrificing the height of the heel.

Look at the shoe below: let's say that this has a heel height of 3.5 inches. However, the thickness of the sole is at approx. 1 inch. Subtract this from the heel height and you'll find that you are actually walking on a 2.5 - inch stilleto, which will probably explain the ease in walking in these types of shoes.
An example of a platform shoe. The blue broken lines show you where the foot will land when wearing this. Note that despite the height of the heel, your foot is slanted at a less steep angle due to the thick sole.

When you get used to it, you can advance to heels that have thinner soles that slants your feet at a steeper angle.
 Thin soles + high heel = longer legs + sexy feet.  

An example of a high-heeled shoe with a thin sole.
The steeper arch adds to the illusion of longer legs.

Know The Terrain

If you plan to wear heels, you might want to avoid walking on different surfaces, hence you avoid walking outdoors and just hail a cab (or your car) as soon as you're out of the building. Mere mortals like me however, are faced with a harrowing task of maintaining poise as we walk on different surfaces from point A to point B.

The walk from my condo to the classroom lasts for 15 minutes when in flats, and around 20 minutes when in heels. So if you're like me, do the necessary adjustments in your departure time. And in that walk, I had to walk in at most, 5 different and tricky terrains! Here's how I survive them:

1. Cobblestones

They are pretty to look at, but are very tricky to walk on because of unevenness of the surface. If there is a patch of even surface in sight, walk on it instead. If you cannot avoid it, you must bear in mind that balance is important while navigating here.
  • Step on a relatively even surface (choose a big cobblestone), and land on the balls of your feet. Make sure that it can balance your weight for a split-second and quickly, shift a part of your weight to your heel as you make another step. 
  • Do not put too much pressure on the heel - the surface is uneven so it might slip and you might wobble or worse, tumble.
  • Walking on cobblestones will definitely hurt the balls of your feet if you're sporting thin-soled shoes. For comfort, get some gel insoles targeted at the balls of the feet. Platform shoes would be a more comfortable choice if you are expecting a lot of this type of terrain.
Image courtesy of

2. Bricks

Not as tricky as cobblestones, that's for sure. The safety level of this terrain depends on how wide and deep the gaps between each brick is. The wider and the deeper the gap, the trickier. In most cases (as in my school, thank God), you will not have to tiptoe through this. Just bear in mind that you must not put too much weight on the heel to avoid it getting jammed in between the gaps.

3. Gravel

When I have to swerve past students sometimes I have to resort to walking through these little rocks. But still, this is easier to navigate than cobblestones in my opinion. Tiptoe through and try not to bury your heel into these (sayang naman 'pag nagasgas). Look for a safer landing for your shoes' sake, stat. 

4. Metal Grills

Avoid if you can.  If the gaps in between are wide enough for your heel to get jammed, you're in for a big trouble. If the gaps are too wide/too narrow there will be less chances of you getting stuck. In any case, tiptoe through and look for a safer landing.

5. Stairs

When going up, ensure that both the sole and the heel has landed in every step of the stair. You may choose to just land on the balls of your feet every step and not wait for your heel to touch the ground as you go up, but I'm a safety yeah. Just land the damn heel.

When going down - which is the trickier part, it is important that the balls of your feet are stable. Gravity is pulling your weight down so it will be harder for the ball of your foot to balance the weight of your body. For starters, stay close to the wall or to the handrails. When you've gained enough mileage, you will naturally learn how to balance yourself on one foot and you won't need grab them.

Know How To Exude Confidence

The one thing that's worse than the pain that you have to endure as you learn (as you learn, not all the time) walking in these shoes is the fact that you are about to tower everyone else, including the men (yes, that's plural) of your dreams.

I stand a bit more than 5 feet, 3 inches, which is short in the standards of Caucasian countries such as in US or in Europe, so wearing heels may be just fine. But here in PH it's an entirely different thing. If I am to wear stilettos that is 4 inches high, that would make me 5'7". The average Filipino height, according to the Department of Health, is 5'3.5" for males, and 4'11.5" for females. I stand to tower the average height of almost everybody! I'm not one who wishes to standout, so that fact did made me uncomfortable and made me feel timid.

Lack of self confidence shows in the way you walk, and even more so if you're in heels! I had the tendency to hunch my back when I was just starting with heels, especially when I'm surrounded with my classmates. While a change of attitude is the obvious solution to this, here's a more practical tip: make a playlist!

I find that I feel more confident and more comfortable with the looks that people sometimes give at me when I just plug my ears and listen to music that makes me feel pretty. Music's a great confidence booster, and takes away the consciousness you feel on balancing yourself. Hence, your walk becomes more natural and more effortless. ;)

Here are my suggestions for a good tune to play as you sashay:

  • Speedy strut? Listen to upbeat tunes like  Bruno Mars' Treasure. Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy is a classic runway anthem and therefore you must have this on your playlist.
  • Suave sashay? Listen to groovy tunes that will calm your nerves and make you feel pretty. Glenn Frey's Sexy Girl and Fra Lippo Lippi's Angel are on constant repeat whenever I'm not much in a hurry to school.

Know When To Rest

Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. I love heels a bit more than flats, but I alternate them throughout the school week to give my feet the time to enjoy its individual benefits which is comfort with flats, posture and glam with heels. If you come home after a long day with your feet wobbling in your heels, you know its time to rest. ;)

And that's it! It's been a very lengthy post but I hope you all learned through this! I had a long week and now's the time for me to catch up on sleep. TGIF!

So how do you work your heels? Let's hear (read) it after my cat nap time! 

Stay girly! 



  1. I did not know that they were called, "balls" hihi. The balls of my feet are my major problem, I am flat-footed. huhuhu.

  2. I know right? Even in my anatomy class I never heard that it can be called as such. :))

    How about putting a gel insole/padding in that area to make it a bit higher compared to your instep? Padding it as such will help you be more stable in standing and walking. :)


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