If you wear high heels, you know the question isn’t whether you’re going to need to take them off before the end of an evening out. The question is when.
High heels have been a fashion staple for decades. Getting on centuries, either. But arch support for high heels is virtually nonexistent, and it’s hard to imagine a less comfortable style of shoe.
We’re going to explore why high heeled shoes are such a pain, and see whether shoe inserts for heels can help.
Why Do High Heels Hurt So Much?
It’s no secret that high heels are uncomfortable. Here’s why: they put your feet into a position that they are not designed to be in.
Your foot has a natural gait, (check out our post about determining the best shoe for your foot type to learn more about that,) and that gait usually requires your heel and forefoot to be directly underneath you as you stride. Having your heel & forefoot in the correct position helps your lower extremities stay in alignment, and helps you distribute your weight evenly throughout your gait.
Now, let’s take your heel and elevate it by 1, 2, or even 3 inches. What do you think that will do to your gait?
High Heels & The Forefoot
First off, it pushes weight and pressure on your forefoot that was designed for your heel. This can lead to discomfort and even injury to the metatarsal region of the foot, depending on the amount of pressure.
Putting more pressure on your forefoot will cause your toes to naturally want to splay out more, to give your feet more surface area to displace the pressure there. (Think of how your feet behave when you stand on tiptoe.)
If you have a shoe with a narrow toe, you may be causing the metatarsals to get pushed together instead of spreading out the way they naturally want to. This is one of the most common causes of high heel pain, so if you plan on wearing an elevated heel make sure that your shoes also have some room at the front, so your toes can move about the cabin.
High Heels And Balance
As we’ve written about in our post on the Anatomy of a Shoe, one of the biggest elements of correct alignment and support is balance.
Balance is largely determined by the outsole of a shoe, where the bottom of the shoe meets the ground. A supportive outsole is wide, and covers a decent amount of surface area.
This may be the polar opposite of the high heeled shoe. It’s hard to maintain balance, (shocking, right?) and they can throw you out of proper alignment with every step.
Arch Support For High Heels
When looking for a shoe with good arch support, we encourage folks to look at the midsole of a shoe: the bit between the outsole and the foot. Look for a contour that pops up to post the arch.
Now, as you can imagine, the high heeled shoe doesn’t have a lot of native arch support inherent to its design.
There’s usually room between the arch of the foot and the midsole of a high heeled shoe. When there’s room, there’s movement. And when there’s movement by the medial arch, the foot can roll in and add to the balance issues and alignment problems that are already present in the architecture of high heeled shoes.
Are Supportive High Heels Possible?
Truly? No. The high heel is a nightmare when it comes to a truly supportive, healthy gait.
That being said, there’s an option to help you get more support and help you make it further into the evening in comfort: shoe inserts for heels.
Posting the medial arch in a high heeled shoe can help reduce movement, which aids in maintaining proper balance and alignment.
Proper arch support can also help with the weight distribution issues and alleviate some of the pressure that they place on the forefoot.
Finding an insole that will fit into a high heeled shoe can be a challenge: but that’s precisely why we invented the Orange Light. It’s small enough to fit into a high heel, even one with an open toe! (But keep in mind, our insole will require a full back and closed heel to ensure a snug fit.)
Will a shoe insert for heels fix all the problems you will face? Sadly, no. But they can help.
Still, it’s not a bad idea to bring along a pair of comfy, supportive shoes to change into when you’re heading for a party or an evening out… you know. Just in case.
To learn more about Orange Insoles, check out our inventory and find one in your size today!