High heels are a guilty pleasure for most of us.
Although heels have been blamed for a range of health problems from bunions to back pain, flats are probably not your best friend either. So, let’s get straight to the point—pointed-toe heels favor every woman’s body, whether you have a petite figure or a curvier shape. In fact, heels help give you that girly figure and even work well for a tall girl. Why? The sharp toe extends the line of your leg and gives the illusion of slimmer, longer gams.
It should not surprise you to hear that I regularly wear high heels (from my favorite pair of black pumps to gladiator sandals and boots) and would suggest that if the heel height is correct, you too can wear heels, from a few hours a day to all day.
Every woman has her own perfect heel height, depending on the structure of her feet. If you take this into account when buying shoes, you can improve overall foot comfort considerably. Indeed, if you are a naturally high-heeled woman who keeps wearing flat shoes such as trainers or ballet shoes, you will be going against your natural foot type and will cause your feet no end of stress.
The height of your heels can make or break an outfit. Properly worn, high heels can make casual attire super sexy in seconds and can make your legs appear to go on for miles. However, sometimes the middle ground is best, and 1 or 2″ heels can emphasize calves in a classy, professional manner when you are in the workplace. And there are just some outfits that require flats, and knowing how to identify these outfits is one of the critical skills that you need to insure that your shoe selection does not make you appear silly, or worse, a bit “trampy.”
Follow these guidelines to determine what height heel suits you and your attire best.
The sinus tarsi is a bony canal inside the foot that runs roughly crossways (like left to right) just in front of the outside ankle bone. For some women, the recess of the sinus tarsi is moderate and a1-inch or 2-inch heel will do the trick, but others need a 3-inch heel to elevate the foot into an arched position. For them, wearing heels will be more comfortable than wearing flats, but beware a heel that is too high. A heel of up to 4 ½-inches is fine; anything more than that is bad for your posture as it makes your bottom jut out and overloads the toes and balls of the feet. These heels can be worn for short periods only, and are made for limos, not for walking.
Heels not only have to be the right height but in the right position. They should not be not too far back, but under the center of the heel so they support your weight properly and follow the natural line of your body.
The structure of the heel counter—the part of the shoe that holds your heel—is also very important. If it is too squashy and unsupported, it will not give enough support, and that can cause heel pain. Cheaper ballet pumps are particularly prone to do this.
- To find your perfect heel height, take off your shoes, sit on a chair and extend one leg straight in front of you.
- Where would your heel touch the ground? With your leg stretched out in front of you and the knee supported, make an imaginary line from the heel to the ground.
- If your foot is at a right angle to your outstretched leg and does not dangle, you have a low ankle-joint axis and will be more comfortable in flat shoes than in high heels.
- If your foot points down, you need to measure the distance between the top of your big toe and an imaginary line from the bottom of your heel. This is the right heel height for you. Measure it against your favorite shoes—the ones you swear you are most comfortable in, no matter how high or low. I can almost guarantee the heel will match it.
If you wear size 10 heels or less, there’s no need to read any longer. If you wear a US size 11 or above, as we do, you often can only purchase classic heels online, which can be a crap shoot because sizes and manufactures differ.
I have been asked many times about buying heels, so in response to the many questions I have received the last 20 years about my shoes, I will give you this! Find shoes that are comfortable, in your price range, that will complete your style. However, I know you can't go wrong with the selection from En Femme.