At some point or another, nearly every girl has coveted a pair of high heeled shoes. High heels are sexy and saucy and even though many women have a love-hate relationship with their heels, most still wear them. If you’ve shied away from high heels, favoring casual footwear for their comfort and safety, but you’d like to treat yourself and indulge in a nice stiletto, you simply need to learn to wear them. Learning to walk in high heels is akin to learning any other simple skill — it just takes practice.
If you've never donned a shoe with a heel higher than 1 inch (2.54 cm), start with a low heel of about 2 inches (5.1 cm). Look for a shoe that doesn't have an exaggerated point at the toe as this can scrunch the toes and cause unnecessary pain. For your first pair of high heels, you might opt for a slightly chunkier heel to help stabilize your foot while learning.
The most important thing to practice when learning to walk in heels is posture. Your gait will seem unnatural at first due to the angle of the foot, but you still walk in a heel-toe sequence. Stand up straight with the chest up and shoulders back, but relaxed. Engage the abdominal muscles slightly to help straighten the back. Your knees and thighs should be relaxed as you step. Check your posture in a full-length mirror and practice your walk in high heels on both hard and soft surfaces at home. If possible, practice on stairs as well, being careful to hold a handrail and placing your weight evenly on both heel and toe with each tread.
Once you've got the hang of proper posture and gait, you can safely venture out of the house. Be aware of the surfaces you walk on when wearing heels. Walking over soft grass, sand or rough or slippery surfaces will require extra attention. Abnormal surfaces can pose a trip hazard to even the most experienced high heel wearers, so use extra caution. When you are first learning to walk in high heels, you may be tempted to unnaturally alter your gait, which is normal, but can make you look and feel awkward. Avoid this by being mindful of the posture and gait you practiced at home.
When you have learned to walk in high heels that are low, you can graduate to the traditional high heel, which is typically between 4 and 5 inches (10.2 to 12.7 cm). The basic posture and gait doesn't change, but the angle of your foot to the surface you walk on will. Just continue practicing in graduated heel heights until you are comfortable with any heel.
While learning to walk in high heels takes practice, it is simple to learn. While this new found skill opens up new possibilities in foot fashion, it also requires a bit of responsibility. Podiatrists recommend wearing high heels for only a few hours each day and to avoid walking great distances in them. You can decrease your chances of developing foot and leg pain by learning the proper posture and gait while wearing high heels and buying properly fitting shoes. Though heels are a treat, most foot care experts suggest treating high heels as you would chocolate cake and other indulgences — enjoy them, but in moderation.