10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (2022)

Women and high heels have long been in a love-hate relationship—and for good reason. Though stilettos elongate your legs and accentuate your shapely calves, they're also killer on the feet. But what if an evening spent in heels didn't have to end in swelling and blisters? We asked four podiatrists to share their top tips for choosing better-for-you shoes.

A good pair of heels won't pinch or feel uncomfortable the second you put them on, but it's important to set your expectations if you're planning on being on your feet all day. "Don't wear heels for more than two hours at a time if you're standing or walking in them," says New York City-based podiatrist Hillary Brenner, DPM.

Howard Osterman, DPM, a Washington, DC-based podiatrist, adds that shoppers should look for shoes with cushioned soles and always make sure there is a platform if the heel height exceeds 3 inches.

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According to New York City-based podiatrist Emily Splichal, DPM, it's not only about the heel. It's important how you treat your feet post-wear, too: "Focus on stiletto recovery after a day or night in heels," Dr. Splichal says. She recommends rolling your feet on a golf ball, stretching your calves, and spreading your toes with products like Yoga Toes. "Even the healthiest heels are still stressful to the foot and body, so recovery is one of the most important secrets to being able to wear heels pain-free."

Wondering what other heel habits could be hurting your health? Read on for expert tips and foot-friendly options for every style.

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10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (1)

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10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (2)

(Video) How to shop for high-heels from a Podiatrist

New York City-based podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, encourages women to wear "commuter shoes" so they're not pounding the pavement in not-so-comfy soles all day. "Change into your heels at the event or party," she advises. Opting for a versatile pair of heels, like these from LifeStride, makes it easy to go from work to a fancier event. "The perfect height for someone like me who tends to wobble in high heels," said one Amazon reviewer. "With LifeStride, I can run in these. Seriously. They're cushy on the inside, and I love the fact that they have rubber non-slip soles. Don't expect to feel as if you're in sneakers, but for heels, this brand is the most comfortable I've ever walked in."

Best Wooden Heel: Toms Majorca Cut-Out Sandal

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (3)

When it comes to your wedges, wood isn't ideal. Dr. Brenner advises that women choose a shoe made from cork or raffia instead, so the base is cushy, not killer. Plus, "heels should preferably have straps, which stabilize the ankle," she says. Opt for ankle straps so you don't teeter while you're trekking it. This sandal has the look of a trendy wood sole, but it's leather-wrapped instead. "I am not eager to take them off, and my feet do not hurt while wearing or when I take them off," said a shopper. "I really like the strap in the back as well so that I am not constantly gripping my toes to keep sandals on."

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (5)

Looking for a new take on your basic ballet flat? These low pumps are perfect for spring and summer, thanks to their pink patent-leather upper. Plus, at a height of just 1 1/2 inches, the shoes meet our podiatrists' standards: "Try to keep heel height 3 inches and below," says Dr. Splichal. "For every inch over three, the stress to the foot and body dramatically increases." Amazon shoppers are impressed by them, too: "They are so soft and comfortable but they look even more amazing."

Best Classic Pump: Naturalizer Michelle Pump

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (7)

"Shoes without forefoot stability irritate nerves at the base of the toes and create pain in the ball of the foot," Dr. Osterman explains.The half-inch platform of these simple pumps makes them easier to walk in, while their cushioned sole makes them feel supportive and soft. "These fit like a dream. I don't wobble. No blisters," said one customer. "My feet don't ache even after hours on my feet. Very classic style with ample toe room."

(Video) 6 Types of Shoes That Might Damage Your Feet

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (9)

Feet naturally swell throughout the day, so it's best to buy shoes made from materials that allow for some stretch. Our podiatrists point to soft leathers and suede as more forgiving materials for the foot. These heels are the perfect compromise between comfy and sexy, thanks to their memory foam-cushioned footbed and adjustable ankle strap."Great for long nights out," wrote one reviewer. "They are instantly comfortable, no need to break in. The leather straps are soft as butter and don't cut into your feet."

Best D'Orsay Heels: Dream Pairs Low Heel Pumps

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (11)

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This on-trend shoe offers a stretchy ankle strap and a rubber sole, one of Dr. Brenner's requirements when it comes to choosing healthier heels: "I don't like leather bottoms because people can slip and slide." Instead, Dr. Brenner urges shoppers to choose a shoe with rubber or treads on the bottom so that they stand on a firm surface. We also love that the leopard print on this pair lets you take them from the office to date night in no time. Reviewers are impressed at how comfortable they are, too. "Exactly what I needed to complete my bridesmaid outfit," said one. "I wore them for about 10 hours for the wedding and reception, and my feet were not tired. I didn't have a chance to break them in beforehand, yet they didn't hurt my feet."

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (13)

Pass up the pointed toe pumps. Instead, Dr. Splichal suggests opting for shoes with a wider front. "The narrower or more pointy the toe box, the more pressure the heel will put on the toes. I always favor a more round shape." Of these budget-friendly heels, one reviewer said, "I bought these to wear at work and was able to walk all day without any aches, chafing, or blisters. There is a cushion right at the ball of your foot, which tends to be the first thing to hurt when I'm wearing heels. And even though they aren't real suede, the material is soft and finished well around the edges so they don't cut into your heel or sides of the foot."

Best Simple Sandal: Naturalizer Ivy Ankle Strap Heels

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (15)

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10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (16)

With a supportive ankle strap and a heel that's just 2.5 inches tall, these sandals by Naturalizer work equally well for weekend brunches and weekday happy hours. They also have a platform, one of Dr. Sutera's favorite features: "Platforms are good because they have height in the front that you can subtract from the heel in the back." Reviewers are impressed by how well they fit. "I found my shoe in this padded and ultra soft-strapped shoe," wrote one shopper with rheumatoid arthritis. "I ordered wide for comfort. I walked and danced all day/night with not an ounce of pain."

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (17)

One of Dr. Osterman's favorite shoe brands is Pikolinos. The podiatrist-approved line boasts options that come with cushioned forefront beds, ample room in the toe boxes, and block heels for more stability. "The wider the heel, the less one has to balance on the shoe," Dr. Osterman explains. "Think of the heel like a stilt—the smaller the heel, the more the calf muscles have to work, which can be unstable and fatiguing." One shopper says this style is "comfortable even for long periods of time."

Best Platform Sandal: Naturalizer Pressley Platform Dress Sandal

10 Comfortable High Heels That Won't Wreck Your Feet, According to Podiatrists (19)

Get the height you want minus the pain by going for a shoe with a forefoot platform. The 3.5-inch heel on this strappy sandal is offset by a half-inch of height in the front, making it easier to walk in. Supportive straps across the forefoot make this the perfect addition to your wardrobe for wedding season. "They are strangely comfortable, supportive and easy to walk in," said an Amazon reviewer. "They are slightly platform in the front but not in the usual dorky overdone way and the heel is slender enough to still look sexy but wide enough to be stable."

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FAQs

How can I wear heels without hurting my feet? ›

A sprinkling of gravy powder soaks up any moisture. Which helps keep your feet from slipping around

What is the healthiest heel height? ›

The best height heel height is between one and two inches. If the shoe is extremely tall, it will cause jamming of the toes and ball of the foot every time you walk. Pay attention to the shape of the toe box, whether it's pointy or curved.

Is there such thing as comfortable high heels? ›

The most comfortable heels will likely have a heel height that's lower than 3 inches, good arch support, and supportive cushioning, according to Dr. Brenner. "You want to buy a shoe with a heel that is wide and chunky, as opposed to a stiletto, which is narrow and can throw off the gait cycle," she adds.

What are the easiest heels to walk in? ›

Block heels are generally easier to walk in than slimmer heels. Ranging from a low square heel on a flat shoe, perfect for a day in the office, to a fashionable cylindrical heel for a night out, you're sure to find a block heel to suit every look.

Does taping your toes help with high heels? ›

Wear your high heels all day with this simple trick

All you have to do is tape your third and fourth toes together before putting on heels. This is supposed to relieve some of the pressure on the nerve between those two toes that causes most of the pain. TODAY Style spoke to podiatrist Dr.

Why does the top of my foot hurt after wearing heels? ›

Extensor tendonitis: This is caused by overuse or tight-fitting shoes. The tendons that run along the top of the foot and pull the foot upwards become inflamed and painful.

Are platform heels better for your feet? ›

Although still not recommended, a flatter platform shoe may put less strain on your feet. Look for a wide wedge or platform that is nearly parallel with the ground. This will ease some of the pressure on the ball of your foot. But the rigid sole can still hamper your natural walking motion.

What makes a heel comfortable? ›

Thicker heels provide more support. "The thicker the heel, the more comfortable it will usually be," Cruz said. "More thickness gives you more stability and better balance, which helps with overall comfort."

How do I find the perfect heel for my foot? ›

What Is The Best Heel Height For Me? 3 Different Ways To ... - YouTube

What is the best heel height for plantar fasciitis? ›

Proper heel height (ideally around 10mm difference between heel and forefoot) will place less strain on your plantar fascia. Lower heel heights can strain your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia further and exacerbate the condition.

How high is the so Kate heel? ›

Both heels are 5 inches high (120 mm), however the So Kate has a significantly thinner heel than the Pigalle. The “pitch” of the shoe (basically a measure of the steepness) is greater with the So Kate as well.

Is Jimmy Choo comfortable? ›

Jimmy Choo shoes are surprisingly comfortable, including Jimmy Choo heels. In fact, Jimmy Choo shoes are so comfortable, many wear them throughout an entire day.

Is a block heel more comfortable? ›

Block heels are generally a lot more comfortable than most, due to their chunky heel. Weight is distributed more evenly which means that there's far less strain on your arches and the balls of your feet.

Why are platform heels more comfortable? ›

Consider shoes with a platform

They elevate the ball of your feet as well as your heels, which means they tend to keep your feet at a more comfortable angle than a lot of other high heels. As a result, they're among the most comfortable to walk in.

Why cant some people walk in heels? ›

The reason why you can't walk in high heels, or why you're finding it very VERY difficult, is because high heels throw us off balance. Elevating our heels increases the amount of pressure placed on our foot, pushing our bodies forward and changing the way we balance and walk.

Is a thicker heel easier to walk in? ›

The thicker the heel, the easier it is to walk on it

In general, the thinner the heel, the harder it'll be to balance on it, so when you're still getting used to walking in high heels, choose thicker, sturdier heels, which will give the foot more stability and give you more confidence.

Is Jimmy Choo comfortable? ›

Jimmy Choo shoes are surprisingly comfortable, including Jimmy Choo heels. In fact, Jimmy Choo shoes are so comfortable, many wear them throughout an entire day.

Why do high heels hurt my feet so much? ›

Additional pressure can also be put on the toes, which tend to contract more when wearing heels. But a lot of the pain one feels comes from small intermetatarsal nerves that run in between the bones of the foot themselves, and when wearing heels, the nerves become irritated and enlarged.”

How do you wear 4 inch heels comfortably? ›

How to Wear Heels for Beginners - YouTube

Why are platform heels more comfortable? ›

Consider shoes with a platform

They elevate the ball of your feet as well as your heels, which means they tend to keep your feet at a more comfortable angle than a lot of other high heels. As a result, they're among the most comfortable to walk in.

Are Prada heels comfortable? ›

Made in Italy, the shoes' sole, upper, and lining are made of superior-quality leather that Prada is famous for. What women are saying: “This is perhaps the most comfortable heels I had ever worn. I feel like the shoe is designed with human foot anatomy in mind and seems quite well designed for a heel.

Are Stuart Weitzman shoes comfortable? ›

Weitzman shoes are among the top five best fitting and most comfortable shoes that you can buy in North America.

Are Manolos comfortable? ›

Do you find them comfortable to wear/walk in? Absolutely. In my opinion, Manolo Blahniks are some of the most comfortable shoes I own. They bend to your foot as you wear them, making them a go-to for a long day or night out.

Does taping your toes help with high heels? ›

Wear your high heels all day with this simple trick

All you have to do is tape your third and fourth toes together before putting on heels. This is supposed to relieve some of the pressure on the nerve between those two toes that causes most of the pain. TODAY Style spoke to podiatrist Dr.

What to put in your heels to make them comfortable? ›

No need to push those gorgeous shoes to the back of your closet. They are salvageable with the help of padded inserts. Silicone or gel inserts are an easy answer for how to make heels more comfortable. Here's why: they'll hold your feet steady in shoes.

Can high heels damage your feet? ›

In addition to causing foot pain, this odd weight distribution can create issues in your knees, ankles, hips, and lower back. Heels also can cause ingrown toenails and contribute to the development of bunions and hammertoes. In extreme cases, heels can cause tiny stress fractures, which eventually lead to arthritis.

How do you get rid of numb toes after wearing heels? ›

Treating Morton's neuroma
  1. Changing your footwear.
  2. Wearing custom orthotics.
  3. Stopping activities that aggravate the nerve.
  4. Corticosteroid injections.
  5. Pain medications.

How do you walk in 4 inch stiletto heels? ›

AMIClubwear : How to Walk in Heels - YouTube

What size heel is comfortable? ›

The average heel height is around 3 inches, or 7.5cm. This falls into the mid-height range, which usually measures in at 2-3 inches, or 5-7.5cm. This is the most classic heel height, and mid-height heels should be comfortable enough to wear all day.

Why does the ball of my foot hurt after wearing heels? ›

High heels cause you to bear your weight on the balls of your feet. Three-inch-high heels put seven times higher pressure on this area than when you are wearing flats, which can lead to metatarsalgia (pain and inflammation at the ball of your foot.)

How do you walk on a platform heel? ›

How to Walk in Platform Shoes | High Heel Walking - YouTube

Are platforms better than heels? ›

And while many would assume that a ballet slipper-type shoe would be way more comfortable on your feet, Cunha suggests platform sneakers are the winner here, as they have a thick rubber sole, which can provide more arch support, shock absorption and comfort for your feet.

Videos

1. Are Your Shoes Destroying Your Feet?
(TSAOG Orthopaedics & Spine)
2. 5 Essential Tips for Buying High Heels by Grant Duong PODIATRIST
(Grant the Foot Doc)
3. Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD) - Lewis Nurney, Singapore Podiatrist
(East Coast Podiatry)
4. Common foot problems caused by axial spondyloarthritis - and how to relieve them
(National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society)
5. How to Break in High Heel Shoes
(Health and Beauty Tips)
6. Panic! At The Disco: Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
(Fueled By Ramen)

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