It seems like the number one struggle women constantly face with fashion is the level of comfort (or lack thereof) experienced in any given pair of shoes. Heels are obviously the most common offenders, but these days even a pair of flats can be murderously painful on your tootsies.
And while at times it may seem like a never-ending battle, we're determined to help make your life as stylishly pain-free as possible. To that end, we reached out to a few of our shoe designer pals to get them to dish their insider tips on how to make heels more comfortable. And the results are in! Keep scrolling to read what they had to say.
Speaking to four separate shoe designers at big brands, from Stuart Weitzman to Sigerson Morrison, we asked them to share their number one tip for making sure your heels fit most comfortably. Much to our surprise, they all kind of said the same thing: It's all about the padding under the ball of your foot.
Whether it's hidden foam inserted during the manufacturing process, or something you later add yourself to ease the pressure on the ball of your foot, that little bit of extra padding is crucial. Keep scrolling to learn all four designers' pro heel-padding tricks now!
"The only reliable alteration to a shoe that does not hold the foot properly is to add a foam pad filler," Weitzman advises. "But only if such filler does not make the shoe uncomfortably tight. If the heel is higher than the lady is used to wearing, it will most logically be a difficult adjustment for her; and of course, if it is not comfortable when tried on, it should be put back in the box and returned to the shelf."
Weitzman's tip for making sure the shoe is, indeed, a comfortable fit?
"Try it on," he says. "Then walk around the store a few times. If it’s tight, don’t assume it will stretch. And if it slips in the heel, assume it will always do that."
Stuart Weitzman The Legwrap Sandal, Cashew Suede ($498)
Stuart Weitzman The Myslide Sandal, White ($213)
Stuart Weitzman The Barebraid Sandals, Clay Nappa ($435)
"I'm making some shoes with heart-padded footbeds that cushion the foot and help lower the impact of wearing a high heel," Tapia tells us. "But, of course, they still look glam!"
Isa Tapia Astor Block Heel Sandals, White ($346)
Isa Tapia Astor Block Heel Sandals, Red/Multi ($346)
"Pay attention to how narrow the shoe looks in the toe area and if there’s any foam or padding under the sock," Fisher tells us. "High heels are always easier to walk in if they have a platform—the more support the better! Adding a piece of foam under the sock will offer some extra cushioning."
And how to double-check that a heel will be comfortable before you buy it?
"The heel height! If the heel is extremely high on a single-sole shoe, you know these shoes won’t be good for walking," Fisher advises. "Also, if it's a pointy-toe style and it appears very narrow, your toes will be suffering by day’s end."
Sigerson Morrison Poker 2 Buckle Sandal, Black ($225)
Sigerson Morrison Ice Boots, Light Natural Leather ($148)
"It’s all about the tred point," Key says. "The tred is where the ball of the foot hits on the shoe in a high heel. If it’s not correct, then your weight balances too much on the front of the foot and will be painful. Insole padding also affects the comfort of your shoe, if there's not enough or if the quality is poor."