Every woman knows that you can never own too many pairs of shoes. And high heels represent the ultimate in shoe fashion for many women. The shape of your legs can be greatly enhanced by any heel, whether it’s a low cute kitten heel or a sleek dangerous-looking stiletto.
Maybe you’ve never worn heels because you’re afraid to or think you can’t pull it off. However, it’s just a question of finding the right style for you–there’s a pump for everyone. For example, a pair of basic black pumps–with round or pointed toes–is a must-have basic for every woman’s wardrobe.
As for finding a comfortable pair of high heeled pumps, I can testify that this is indeed possible. I have feet that are narrow with long toes, so finding an attractive pump can be a challenge, but knowing what to look for and understanding your particular needs will enable you to find a high heeled shoe that will make your feet happy. Look for rubber on the heel itself, non-skid soles and a padded insole, paying particular attention to the ball of the foot, which receives the most pressure.
I’ve also bought two pairs of mules, though I always feared my feet would slip out of them and sprain an ankle. To prevent this from happening, it’s important for the sole to have good traction, so look for some kind of ridges on the sole.
High heeled sandals are my pump of choice, because the straps are adjustable–and, in a good shoe, the straps are also padded. I like the “breathing room” of a sandal, even though the look of a pointed toe pump is very stylish. To find a comfortable pair, carefully examine the straps, running your fingers over the top and bottom. Straps that have rough seams or stitches that protrude will rub against you foot, cutting into the skin or causing blisters.
Open Toe Pumps
There are several types of pumps. If you want a pump for warm weather, the high-heeled sandal is the way to go. They often come with trims, such as leather flowers or braided straps that make them look more flirty than regular pumps.
The next type is the open-toe pump, which many women find a good alternative to pointed toes as your toes have more room. Showing off a new pedicure is another appeal of open toe pumps.
Pointed Toe Pumps
The classic pointy toe heel is the standard fashionable, dressy pump for many women. It is recommended that, to compensate for the fact that your toes cannot fit into the point, you purchase a pair half a size bigger than those you usually wear. Again, cushioned pads can prevent feet that start aching even after wearing them for only a short time. A helpful shoe salesman showed me how to stretch out the toe by stuffing a rolled-up newspaper or a piece of fabric into the toe each time you take them off.
Round Toe Pumps
The next type of pump–ones with round toes–give more room for your toes to move as they are shaped more like your feet. Round-toe pumps often feature a strap over the instep and a chunky heel and often come in the popular Mary Jane style.
The next type of pump is the slingback, which has an open heel that’s held on by a strap that goes around it. These straps come in an adjustable, buckled variety or an elastic band that grips the back of you heel. The elastic makes the slingback slip onto your foot more quickly, but if you have feet that are narrow or wide, the buckled strap is probably the better option.
The next type of pump is the mule, which is basically just a backless, strapless shoe into which you just slide your foot. The heels tend to be lower (often they have a “kitten” heel), because they don’t have and kind of strap to hold them in place. Clogs area a type of mule–without the fashion appeal.
To help keep mules on your feet (vs. stuck in a sidewalk crack), you can insert grips, which are a textured typed of insole pad. Since I tend to be on the clumsy side, with wobbly ankles–I always use grips in the mules I own (truthfully, I don’t wear them that often.)
Stilettos: they go with dominatrix outfits, right? In fact, the word “stiletto” refers to a narrow type of Italian dagger; they are also called “spike” heels. Genuine stiletto heels have a stabilizing steel post in the heel to strengthen them. The heels can reach ridiculous (up to 10 inches) heights, though most of them are in the 4-5″ range.
This added height can make your legs look longer and leaner as well as added inches to your stature. I recommend that you practice wearing them–walking around the house–because you can injure yourself (or at least look like an idiot) when you wear them out on the town.
You should be aware that continuous wear of heels this high will prevent the muscles and tendons in the back of your leg from flexing as they normally do. For this reason, it’s a good idea to alternate the type of shoes you wear so this does not occur.
A cross between a pump and a boot is the “booty” (no, it’s not your butt!). The shaft ranges in height to just below to two or three inches above the ankle and–depending on the style–look good with either pants or skirts. The latest style of these ankle boots feature an open toe, which seems–to me–to go against common sense, but if you like them–go for it!
It always pays to purchase quality shoes, because it’s absolutely true that “you get what you pay for”. If, however, you cannot afford top-of-the-line shoes, you can–with a few tricks–get by with less expensive pairs. Shoe pads or insoles (they make them especially for pumps) can make up for any lack of inferior construction or materials. There are even narrow strips to stick under the straps to prevent them from cutting into your feet. You can find a good selection of these at the Foot Petals website. And go buy some shoes!