Need a reminder on how to walk in heels? We’ve got you.
Some of you have likely heard the saying, "Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world,” with heels always being the implied footwear for said vanquishing. But if you can’t walk in said heels? Well, that essentially negates any potential conquests, whether you’re in the boardroom or at the bar. The thing is, as we enter wedding season, it becomes much likelier that you’re going to be wearing a pair of heels. And combined with the fact we haven’t had the same opportunities to dust off our favourite pairs over the past few years, it could get a little precarious when walking in your heels after so long.
So to avoid any embarrassing mishaps, we’ve put together a definitive list of tricks that’ll help you remember how to walk in heels, be they high or midi. Scroll down to check out the tried-and-tested tips for walking gracefully in heels, and while you’re at it, see the pairs we’re loving for 2023 and beyond.. After all, you’ll need something to test out your new skills.
1. Walk heel-to-toe, not toe-to-heel.
The easiest way to look ungainly in heels is to put your whole foot down at once as if you’re wearing flats. It may seem obvious to many, but when wearing a high shoe, put your heel down first, followed by your toe. This will make your walk look more natural.
2. Take small steps.
Wearing heels makes your stride shorter than normal, so you’ll have to take an increased number of small steps to go the same distance. Take your time, and don’t overstep—that’s how slips and falls can happen.
3. Don't rush.
Trying to walk quickly in heels can not only look awkward but also end in a disastrous trip or two. Between the smaller steps and the compromised balance, it’s best to take your time in heels. Besides, walking slowly gives off an air of confidence. It’ll encourage you to improve your time-keeping skills, too.
4. Lean slightly back.
You may find you want to walk faster than your heels will allow and end up craning your neck to compensate. So allow yourself to lean just the slightest bit back when walking in heels, as this will counteract your inclination to push your torso forward.
5. Visualise yourself walking in a straight line.
When you want to draw a straight line, you’ll get better results if you look at your end point as you draw rather than looking at your pencil as it moves. Similarly, when walking in heels, you’ll walk more gracefully if you look at your goal point (the café at the end of the street, for example) and visualise a straight line going toward it rather than staring down at your toes as you walk.
6. Arch your foot slightly.
As you take each step, or if you feel yourself slipping, arch your foot slightly to put pressure on the inside of your shoe. This will make your shoe fit closer to your foot, making it easier to manoeuvre.
7. Make sure your shoes fit.
If your shoes are ill-fitting, it makes the difficult task of walking naturally in heels almost impossible. If your heels are too big, use shoe pads for a better fit. If they are too small, consider having them stretched by a local cobbler.
8. Opt for a heel height you feel comfortable with.
Truth is, if your shoes feel too high to walk in, then they probably are too high for you. But that doesn’t mean all is lost—so many midi and low heels exist these days you can still feel the shoe love. In fact, they’re more on-trend than ever.
Shop Editor-Approved Heels
If you're not confident in a stiletto, opt for a block heel.
Mach & Mach specialises in creating modern Cinderella shoes.
Russell & Bromley’s platform heels have been a firm favourite amongst fashion types.
Block heels are a good option for occasions where you’ll be on your feet a lot.
This story was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.
Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over twelve years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories, and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, works closely with influencer talent on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media. Previously, Maxine appeared on TV in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.
Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship, she was offered a position on the Look magazine fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. She went on to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others. Maxine works remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh.