How to Wear High Heels Without Pain. 10 Tips From A Podiatrist That Work

As a Podiatrist it is my job to advise people to stay away from wearing shoes, that do not provide adequate support, cushioning and correct fit. In reality though I know my clients are still going to wear what makes them look and feel good. Fashion always wins.


However, with a few tips we can look to modify our footwear choices, to cause less injuries, and long term problems in our feet, knees and backs –  and even possibly find heels that do not cause pain!

My top 10 tips to try and reduce pain while wearing heels:


  1. Look at what the shoe is for. Compromise for work, and keep your favourite Jimmy Choo’s for weddings, balls, parties and dinners. Aim for the 80 / 20 rule, 80% of the time something that is more appropriate for your foot type and activity.
  2. Buy your heels at the end of the day. This means you will fit them at their biggest, reducing the chance that an hour into wearing them they start to feel too small.
  3. Look for a more stable heel  – something block rather than stiletto. The more surface area under your heel the less your foot / ankle will wobble around and you will not overuse your muscles to stabilise your foot.
  4. Keep the heel height under 7 cm
  5. Avoid thin hard soles. The more forefoot and heel inner cushioning the better. A wedge, for platform will help too.
  6. More shoe the better. The more straps / coverage the less our muscles need to work to keep us in the shoe.
  7. “Party Feet” or Silicone Cushioning can provide added cushioning but beware they don’t take up more room in the shoe, putting pressure on the tops of your toes.
  8. Mix your shoes up. Walk to and from the office in flats. Change to your dress shoes for meetings, presentations. Wear a more sensible heel to the ceremony of a wedding and change for the reception.
  9. Recovery: Give your feet a 20 minute soak in Epsom Salts the next day, massage, stretch your calf muscles and wear good cushioned soled shoes. If you have danced all night and your feet red and throbbing ice can help reduce inflammation and over the counter NSAIDs if appropriate. If these tips have not helped see your local Podiatrist.
  10. Shop Australian – Bared Footwear and Frankie4, are two Australian brands of shoes that have been able to merge comfort and fashion. Both designed by Podiatrists and Physiotherapists.