SHOP SMART FOR HEELS THAT DON’T KILL

The task of convincing women to forgo heels completely is no easy feat and is probably an unrealistic objective. There’s no harm in wearing heels occasionally, provided that you choose options that minimises the discomfort and potential health risks.

Often women just seek for a little boost in their height (and confidence) when they’re shoe shopping for heels. Trying on a pair of high stilletos in store generates an instant feel-good moment but often doesn’t provide enough warning of the pain and suffering that could follow. The nightmare of blisters and foot pain generally starts AFTER your puchase.

It’s time to get smarter with your heel purchases! After all, you really don’t need to kill your soles just to look good. Keep the following things in mind the next time you’re heading off to a shoe shopping spree:

SIZE CHECK

Scenario: You walk into a store and there in the corner of your eyes, you see the shoe with your name plastered all over it. Your eyes light up with excitement as you walk towards it, ready to enfoce ownership. You eagerly ask the salesperson for a pair to try in your size. She returns empty-handed and that’s when you get that sinking feeling. Yes you have anticipated correctly – your size has sold out but ah…the salesperson indicates that the size below is still available. You squeeze your feet in and immediately you know that they’re a little too tight for your liking but because you love them so much, you decide to buy them anyway. After all, shoes stretch right?

WRONG. Never buy shoes (in particularly heels) that are too small for you. There is never a guarantee that they will stretch to accomodate your feet but one thing’s certain, they’re going to hurt! There should be a thumb’s width from the front of the inside of your shoe to the end of your longest toe. This tiny bit of thumb space is the ideal wiggle room for your foot so that it can move with ease inside the shoe, rather than forcing it to create friction against the sides.

CHOOSE WISELY

Scenario: You’ve read all the blog posts from Save Your Soles and despite acknowleding all the potential health risks of wearing high heels, you still insist on buying another pair of heels to add to your collection. Sigh…we tried!

No but seriously if you are thinking of sticking to heeled shoes, at least choose the ones that don’t result in a fast demise for your feet. The following options are generally better than your high single-soled stiletto killers and can help take some pressure off your feet:

  • Platforms
  • Chunky Heels
  • Wedges
  • Kitten Heels

GOOD TIMING MATTERS

Scenario: It’s a glorious Saturday morning and you decide to go shopping for some new shoes. You happily try them all on and purchase a couple to take home. In fact you love one pair so much that you start to wear them straight away. Fast forward 5 hours of walking…your feet starts to swell up and the foot pain/discomfort kicks in. What just happened?

Your foot generally expands a bit throughout the day and this is especially the case in summer. As a result, you should try to shop for shoes towards the end of the day as buying you shoes in the morning when your feet’s at its slimmest can result in that “oh-so-tight” feeling at the end of the day. Sometimes that extra high size up can make a huge difference.

What are your shoe shopping tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

-JL

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THE TRUTH ABOUT HEELS

Shoe-photo

Most women who wear heels are no stranger to the discomfort and pain that such shoes can bring but have you ever thought twice about the real damage it’s doing to your feet and body?

Ko and Lee (2013, p. 1309) suggests that high-heeled shoes can induce musculoskeletal diseases such as Plantar Fascilitis.

So what does this complicated medical term mean? According to The Hamilton Foot Clinic, Plantar Fasciitis is a condition characterised by a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel of the foot.

As descirbed by PubMed Health, the plantar fascia is the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. Plantar Fascitis occurs when this tissue becomes overstretched, swollen and inflamed – causing heel pain. Wearing ill-fitting shoes with poor arch support can increase the likelihood of Plantar Fascilitis – something that many high-heel wearers are unaware of.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, did you know that high heels can also cause another painful foot condition called Morton’s Neuroma?

As explained by The Hamilton Foot Clinic, neuroma affects the nerves between your toes, causing a stabbing sensation that is painful when you walk. Accordingly, women who wear high heels or narrow-fitting shows are usually more prone to neuroma. If you ignore these foot symptops, irregularities can occur that may hinder optimal foot function and aggravate the condition, such as high arches, overpronation and hypermobility.

If you experience such pain, it’s best to take off those heels and massage the affected area as this can help to alleviate pain. If your condition is a bit more severe, it’s best to seek professional care from a qualified podiatrist of foot-care specialist as they may recommend long-term solutions and tips.

However there is also an easier way to prevent all of this from potentially happening…#SwitchTheHeel and #SaveYourSoles. It’s that easy.

-JL

FASHION THAT DOESN’T KILL THE SOLE

Let’s face it, when it comes to taking care of our body, our feet tends to be low on our priority list.

The foot may seem like it’s quite a simple structure but it’s actually more complicated than you think. According to Dr Nina Byrnes, the foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 126 muscles and multiple nerves. Very rarely are we born with foot problems – most of the time, they are acquired as we age and wearing ill-fitting shoes can be one of the reasons.

Think about the last time you had to wear heels for a long time. Did you feel pain across the toes and/of in the heel and arch? Or did your entire foot just feel like it was about to collapse?

Heels or shoes in general with a narrow toe can push the toes together and this can damage the structure of your toes overtime. High heels in particular push a lot of weight and strain onto the ball of the feet, contributing to immense foot pain.

Many women perceive the thought of wearing flats as an unfashionable choice but this season, you couldn’t be more wrong. The latest runway trends from New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week dictate the return of the birkenstock and pool slides. Fashion that’s comfortable and stylish? Ditch your heels today and save your soles – it’s really a no-brainer.

See below for an edit of our favourite flats and slides, in stores right now!

Witchery: Sam Gladiator ($129.95)

Witchery: Sam Gladiator ($129.95)

Seed ($69.95)

Seed ($69.95)

Country Road: Harriet Sandal ($79.95)

Country Road: Harriet Sandal ($79.95)

Sportsgirl: Lexy Tab Slide ($59.95)

Sportsgirl: Lexy Tab Slide ($59.95)

Saba: Winnie Slide ($199)

Saba: Winnie Slide ($199)

-JL

DITCHING THE HEEL AT MILAN FASHION WEEK

High heels have long been attributed as the ‘fashionable’ and ‘trendy’ shoe of choice but the latest runway looks hot from Milan Fashion Week proves that switching the heel can be just as chic. Haven’t you heard? “Going flat” and “being comfy” is the new way to go.

To all you fashionistas out there, this is the best excuse to pull out those flats and invest in more slides! For once, fashion doesn’t have to kill your soles. Look to the latest Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collections from Bally, Missoni, Tods, Giorgio Armani and Sportmax for some style inspiration – images courtesy of Style.com

Bally Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection - www.style.com

Bally Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection – http://www.style.com

Missoni Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection - www.style.com

Missoni Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection – http://www.style.com

Tods Spring Ready-to-Wear Collection - www.style.com

Tods Spring Ready-to-Wear Collection – http://www.style.com

Giorgio Armani Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection – http://www.style.com

Sportmax Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection - www.style.com

Sportmax Spring Ready-to-Wear Collection – http://www.style.com

 

#SwitchTheHeel today and #SaveYourSoles – without sacrificing your style!

-JL

How High Heels Hurt Your Body

There are some things in life that we all know are very bad for us – smoking, drugs, excess consumption of alcohol…etc. Then there are those things that we know are not so good for us but because we undermine its impact, we are reluctant to change our behaviour – e.g. lack of sleep, not exercising regularly or eating too much junk food. High heels unfortunately also belong to the latter group. The harm of wearing high heels barely crosses our minds but the truth is, while a pair of 10cm high stilettos can give you a boost of confidence and make your outfits look better…do you realise the toll it’s taking on your body?

Reading about health consequences from wearing high heels isn’t going to be the most exciting thing and would hardly appeal to the women readers I’m aiming for. As a result, I wanted to share this infographic from The Spine Health Institute from Florida Hospial Medical Group, which gives a quick summary of how high heels can affect and hurt your body, including your spine, hips, ankles, feet and also your posture and gait.

For those of you who insist on continuing with heels – at least read the last section on some tips to keep in mind so that you can reduce the negative effects of wearing high heels! Seriously ladies, it’s time to #SwitchTheHeel and #SaveYourSoles!

how-high-heels-hurt-your-body

The Spine Health Institute

-JL

Why Do We Wear High Heels?

statementshoes

 

High heels – whether you love them or loathe them, there’s no denying that women all around the world have some sort of fascination towards them. Even those who belong in the latter group may find themselves occasionally doning a pair of stilettos. Essentially we all know that high heels are bad for our feet and let’s not even get started about the discomfort. So the real question is WHY DO WE KEEP WEARING THEM?

Here are some of my thoughts and musings upon doing some research…

The ‘Feel Good’ Factor

Frank (2008) explains that in addition to making women taller, the structure of high heels help to exaggerate the female form, working to attract favourable attention.High heels can also accentuate a woman’s legs and create the appearance of a thinner body contour. These factors all contribute to making a woman feel more attractive, thus enhancing their confidence and self-esteem levels, which serves to explain why so many are reluctant to give up high heels.

Social Conventions On Femininity

Women are often compelled to adhere to normative dress codes in order to present themselves in a manner that’s considered socially acceptable. High-heeled shoes are deemed as a favourable footwear option for women, in particularly in the eyes of the opposite sex, as it adheres to the “social conventions and constraints of femininity” (Woodward 2007, p. 142) This perhaps explains why women often turn to heels for occasions like job interviews and dates.

Fashion and Pop Culture Trends

With A-list celebrities constantly donning the latest high-heeled shoes down the red carpet, coupled by designer fashion labels such as Jimmy Choo and popular TV shows like Sex and The City constantly glamourising high heels, more women are encouraged to wear high heels as they perceive the choice to be the most trendy and fashion-appropriate (Sanghani 2014).

Do you wear high heels? If so, do any of the above reasons resonate with you? Or perhaps you disagree? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

-JL

Why You Should Ditch The Heel

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With New York Fashion Week kicking off this week, there’s no doubt that there will be no shortage of high heels strutting down the catwalk and on the streets of Manhattan. Heels have long been associated with high fashion, a trendy look and is often regarded as the must-have accessory for any woman who’s looking for a boost – both literally and psychologically.

Let’s face it. As women, we all love wearing heels yet we also hate them. Any woman who claims that heels are not painful have either a) not worn them long enough, b) are taking breaks every hour by switching to flats or c) lying out of denial and refusal to ditch said heels. The clever guys at BuzzFeed have decided to chart out a woman’s happiness levels when wearing heels and as always, they are completely on point:

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Jokes aside, wearing heels is not only an uncomfortable experience, it can also cause severe health implications that us women choose to either ignore or regard as insignificant. We often live in the “now” and forget about the “what ifs” and the long term.

This is where Save Your Soles comes in – a campaign that’s not going to advocate for a complete ban on heels but rather to convince women to make the switch to better footwear more often. There’s no denying that wearing heels can be fun but at the same time, one should be more aware of the not-so-glamourous side of things.

For example did you know that everytime you sqeeze your feet and thrust your toes forward into those gorgeous stilettos, that you could be increasing the risks of developing the following problems:

  • Plantar Fascitis
  • Archilles Tendonitis
  • Sprained and Swollen Ankles
  • Aching Feet
  • Blisters
  • Hammertoes
  • Corns and Calluses
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Knee Strain

As this is only the first blog post and I don’t want to scare you away, all the health risks are thus far summarised in dot point form. Keep watching this space for more information and tips to better foot health.

Ladies, you don’t need to kill your feet to look good. #SwitchTheHeel and #SaveYourSoles!

-JL