Thursday, August 12, 2010

How DO you walk in stilettos?

Those of you who follow my twitter feed will know that  few months ago I bought a pair of stiletto boots. They're the only pair of stilettos I have ever owned; I'm very comfortable in my normal boots, which have maybe 3-4inch wide heel. Needless to say a 5inch stiletto heel was something I was not used to. I knew that it was going to take a bit of exercise and practice, I also figured out early on that if I didn't do this right I was going to do it very very wrong, and, with my ankles, that would be a really bad idea.

I sprained my left ankle quite badly when I was 11 and despite the ballet and the Tai Chi, it's always been a bit of a weak ankle - not helped by the fact that I've sprained the other ankle a few times as well. I didn't want to make matters worse, and I'd heard somewhere - or maybe it was common sense - that you could seriously damage yourself walking in stilettos, and in heels in general. I also remembered that it took me a long time to get used to walking in my brown boots, which had two extra inches in the heel compared to my now-retired black ones. 

In light of that, I dove into Google with the very simple search stream of 'how to walk in stilettos'. I was pleasantly surprised that I was not the only one curious about how not to get shin splinters and permanent damage to my feet. I was also pleased - though  not quite in the same way - to discover that I hadn't been wrong. You can do some serious damage to your feet without even knowing it! 

Sure, I mean, heels make a woman's legs look amazing - not to mention the added height advantage if you're short like me! - but the higher the heel gets the more it affects your posture and the pressure applied to your skeletal and muscular structure... and that's ignoring the fact that you're not exactly stable on 5+ inch narrow heels, one step wrong and you run the risk of breaking an ankle and falling flat on your face, the total opposite of the point of wearing the shoes in the first place. Check this out for more information, though if you're really interested just hop into Google and do some of your own research, there's a lot of it out there and it's not hard to pick out the bogus sites from the good ones.

All that aside, because we all know that you're going to opt to wear the heels anyways - well, most of us anyways, I know there are some very sensible people out there who know better - how do you walk in stilettos?  (Disclaimer: I'm no expert! This is just me sharing my Google findings with you!)


  1. Wear a shoe that fits. Some salespeople will advise you to choose a half or full size larger when it comes to stilettos, this is usually so you have the option of wearing an additional non-slip sole inside the shoe for more support and comfort.
  2. Exercise your legs and ankles, espeically if you're like me and have weak ankles. The stronger your leg muscles, the more confident and comfortable you'll be. Before you put your shoes on, do some quick flex and point exercises with your feet and calves, get the circulation going and warm your feet up before subjecting them to the pressure of the stilettos.
  3. Before you try walking, practice standing. That may sound silly, but do it! If you can't stand comfortably - without wobbling - you're going to fall on your face whenever you stop walking.

  4. When you start practicing how to walk start out with a non-slipper surface, avoid tiles to start with as they're ridiculous slippery. Practice slowly, take plenty of breaks. Don't try to stand, walk, and wear those shoes for more than a few hours a day until you feel your feet don't hurt and you're totally at ease in them. SLOW, not fast, is the best way to go here. Once you get more comfortable, try different surfaces, like hardwood (when walking on wood, check whether or not you're leaving marks!).Walk with your back straight and walk toe-to-heel instead of putting your heel down first, put your toes down first. Think of it like aiming your toes straight in front of you. It'll be weird at first, but you'll get used to it and you'll find a balance and realize that you're quite comfortable.

The most important thing above all: IF YOUR FEET START TO HURT. STOP! Don't push, take it slow. I cannot stress this enough, if you try to do it all at once you could seriously and irreparably damage your feet and your legs, not to mention your spine, and you really don't want that.

Check out this video, also, I've put some links in at the bottom that you might want to consult if you find this at all interesting - or worrying.

Safe walking & ClearSkies~V

Further Reading

How to walk in Stilettos 
Walking in Stilettos
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wearing Heels
Wearing High Heels - Effects on the Body

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