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Carhartt gingham button down shirt, Ralph Lauren denim pencil m skirt, Dr. Scholl wedge plateau heels (all own), wooden sunglasses c/o Winkwood, and vegan back pack c/o Jord

You bought a new pair of shoes that you tried on in the store. They seemed comfy enough for walking in high heels. At home, you nearly break your ankles. Here is the answer why and how to make sure you won’t fall for the trick another time.

  1. The mystery of walking in high heels
  2. The reality of walking in high heels
  3. How to get high heels you can walk in
  4. Which heels are best to walk in?
  5. How to walk in heels
  6. Wrapping up

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

The Mystery of Walking in High Heels

Your new lovely (way too high) high heels felt quite bearable in the store. Actually, you thought you wouldn’t even have to abuse your hubby as a walking aid when you hobble in them. Now on the dining table you committed your splurge, but with the same breath spit out that they were on sale and a great deal. Of course, you also needed a new pair for XYZ’s daughter’s wedding. Your hubby smiles – knowing you – and friendly pretends interest despite he never understands why one needs more than a pair of flip flop, sneakers, and dress shoes. Not to mention the 101 reason to wear heels over 40. You walk into your walk-in-closet and put the shoes on to model them for him. Then it happens! Stuck! The shoes seem to be glued to the floor like Cinderella’s glass shoes on the stairs. Your feet want you to walk up the wall, if only you could walk at all! This post explains why you have this problem and provides stylist’s secrets on finding heels you can walk in in the store and everywhere else.

woman looking at high pumps in store

The reality of walking in high heels

Does the above scene sound familiar? No, you aren’t crazy! It is all about physics and mean business tricks! 🙁

You were in the store in the morning or during lunch break. In the evening, you had been on your feet all day. They are swollen, especially, in warm climate regions and/or summer. Thus, the shoes seem tighter than they seemed to be in the store. Furthermore, your closet has tiles or normal household carpet, while shoe stores have very soft and thick carpets so that even Cinderella’s stepsisters could walk in her shoes.

style blogger in weekend look with gingham blouse, denim skirt, tan heels and backpack

style blogger in blue white skirt with shirt walking in high heels
Carhartt gingham button down shirt, Ralph Lauren denim pencil m skirt, Dr. Scholl wedge plateau heels, Hermes collier de chien bangle, rattlesnake tail belt buckle, Kieselstein Cord belt (all own), wooden sunglasses c/o Winkwood, and vegan backpack c/o Jord

How to get high heels you can walk in

Don’t give up. There are so many reasons why women love shoes. And you can still love them over 40 and beyond.

Outsmart them! Buy high heels in the late afternoon or evening. Test-drive the shoes on some hard floor. And just in case, do not throw the receipt away before your shoes passed the test on hard surface. Put a thin foil on the surface so you don’t scratch the sole. When the shoes still feel bearable on hard floor, you are all set for the street’s runways known commonly as sidewalks.

When this trick fails to work for you, try insoles or orthotics. There are also various European brands that produce pumps with footbed. You can find my review of Spring Step plateau shoes. Worried about how to style wearing orthotics? Don’t be. There are five tips to style orthotics over 40 and look awesome in my Vionic shoes review.

Ballroom dance shoes may be an alternative for strappy sandals. When I have to walk a lot on a business trip in summer, I like to wear a pair of 2.5 inch (5 cm) dance sandals. They provide good foot support making walking in high heels comfortable. Of course, since they come with a suede sole you will have to clue anti-slip soles underneath. Otherwise the suede sole wears off. A replacement would be very expensive. Also you don’t want that the suede soaks water. Wet shoes are a recipe for cold feet. You do not only want to avoid cold feet at frigid temperatures, right?

pretty shoes hanging on a railing

Which heels are best to walk in?

Be aware that wedge heels (like those featured in the winter outfit) are easier to walk in than stilettos. The wider the heel, the easier you can stand in them. It’s not such a great balancing act than a penny-size contact. Also most women experience any height greater than 2.5 inch (5 cm) as painful. Closed shoes give you more stability than slingbacks or strappy sandals. Wide toe cleavage also makes walking hard.

Also be aware that the higher the heel, the more pressure is on the balls of your feet, and the bigger is the pain when you are not used to these beauties.

When you like the blog, you may also want to get my style recipe book How to Dress for Success in Midlife.  Buy it now.

How to walk in heels

Men and many women too walk by putting the heel on the ground first. Then they roll up over the ball of the foot. This works perfect in old-school canva sneakers, ballet flats, flat gladiators, flip-flops, and flat-outs. However, this natural walking technique obviously fails to work when the heel is just a quarter of an inch or less wide. Consequently, in heels, you need a different technique.

pumps placed on a railing to display their heel heights


Instead lift your hip and put it forward (like in dancing salsa). Then commit to put your weight on the ball of your foot. It’s obvious that this walking technique has to be practiced. When you nail it down, you can even catch the bus in heels.

Pro tip: When you are not used to walk in high heels, but have to because of a special occasion, exercise walking in them at home. You don’t want to wobble down the aisle when you are the bridesmaid, or hurt your ankles when dancing with your significant other, or whatever the dressing situation is.

fashion blogger walking in high heels

midlife blogger looking posh in a full leather skirt with wedge heels

stylist in winter outerwear with heels
Outfit details: Shearling coat, GNW tights, head band, Kate Moss for Longchamp bag, tan LeatherCoatEtc cashmere lined leather gloves, detachable collar, tiger-eye buckle crocodile imprinted belt, Michael Kors wedge heel lace-up booties with pony hair, Oliveo pleated leather skirt, Anne Klein raglan sleeve turtleneck cashmere sweater, Gucci belt and pearls (all own)

Wrapping up

If you want to wear heels, make sure that your do everything to identify the right pair for you and don’t become the victim of selling tricks. The height, size of heel-ground contact, cleavage, cut and foot support or even a simple insole can make a big difference. Remember that parking space is scarce in Europe. Thus, everyone has to walk a couple of blocks either from where their parked or the bus stop, tram station, or underground. This fact is the basics for a huge market of dressy, but comfortable shoes for professional women.

When you like shoes, you may like to read (funny) answers and quotes to the question what is it with women and shoes?

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Photos: G. Kramm

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