30 March 2009

My love/hate relationship with high heels

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Fashion

Because I’m 5′ 3″, high heels should be my best friend. They give me me height, make my legs look longer and help with my posture.

But sometimes, they are the most awful things in the entire world. Yes, the entire world.
Why shoes? Why do you hate me so much! I help make you look pretty!
I’ve had two events in the last week where I wore high heels, looked smoking hot and then was in total agony by the end of the night. Like, I could barely walk because the pain was so bad.
On Saturday night at the wedding, I had to abandon my Payless shoes because I could barely walk from the high heel-induced pain. Fortunately, we were indoors, the floor was relatively clean and I was wearing tights.
I went from wearing these heels:
To this, and felt immediately better after (plus I couldn’t wait to go dance again):
I’m apparently not one of those women who can breeze down 5th or Michigan Avenues in her Carrie Bradshaw-like heels or stand for hours on end looking pain-free and fabulous.
I have some heels that I know aren’t “going out” practical, but they sure look good while I sit at my desk :) Actually, I have several pairs of those.
Despite this agony, I won’t stop wearing heels, but rather, will maybe invest in these cute Foot Petal pads that my stepmom told me about, or embrace my “Mr. Rogers-like” practice of wearing sneakers while walking outside and then changing into other shoes for the main event.
A message to all high heels, I love you, but like the b*tch you are, you hurt me too.
Am I the only one who has a love/hate relationship with high heels? They do look so good on the rack but can be painful after about 15 minutes of standing.


  1. If at first you don’t succeed-skydiving is not for you.

  2. SarahBeth says:

    I’m 5’3″ too. Five years ago, I moved to the city and got a professional office job and quickly learned that it is NEVER appropriate to wander around the city in something less than fabulous. Tennis shoes while shopping in downtown Seattle on a Saturday? Might as well wear a camera around your neck, a fanny pack, and a sign that says “TOURIST.” So I have lived and breathed high heels ever since. And I LOVE the way they improve my short stature, as well as my posture. I’m pretty careful about the brands I buy and know which painful ones to avoid. But the downside? Now, wearing flats makes my back scream in pain, because I’ve permanently altered my posture. I am wondering if this is not a good thing…

  3. Lauren says:

    I’m so with you. I love how heels look, but how they feel? OUCH.

  4. Wonderful says:

    I definitely feel your pain! It sucks being short, and I have a shoe addiction, but i can only wear them in moderation before I want to scream.

  5. cat says:

    I know I’m late to the game but…I just have to recommend taking the plunge on a pair or two of quality, well made shoes. You will be surprised at the difference! When I was a student I used to waste money on endless pairs of cheap-ish cute heels, and they all killed my feet – got rid of them all. Now I only wear Cole Haan Nike Air and they are so comfortable. I can even go shopping in them!!! Try it and you won’t go back to cheap shoes! It’s more expensive, but worth it – they last longer, you can actually *wear* them when you go out, and they’re much better for your feet.

  6. Shannon says:

    Yes, heels are the devil. But even worse was that I bought a pair of flat ballets from the gap, wore them to work and they tore up my feets. Flats! Heels I expect it from, but flats, I never imagined. I wish flip flops were socially acceptable in every situation.

  7. I’m with you – definitely love the look of heels and the I feel in them at first, then it goes downhill from there usually ending in agony. Let us know if you try the Foot Petal pads.

  8. Katie cat says:

    Cute! Golashes are so comfortable. I wish they were more of a fashion statement.

    Ughh and I can’t handle wearing heels too long either. My joints and the bones in my knees ache :o( Aerosoles is supposed to have comfortable heels though, so maybe try there. I might eventually!

  9. Moonjava says:

    I totally know what you’re saying, I’m only 5’1″ so heels are totally necessary, especially if I want to wear jeans/pants. However I can’t stand them though I love the look of them. They’re just to painful. I go for the clunky heels until I can afford the comfy ones like Cole Haan.

    I just need 1 comfy pair, that’s all I’m asking for, is that too much to ask for!?


  10. Linda says:

    Aerosoles and Sofft make some trendy yet comfy heels. Ideal for dressing-up at work, but not necessarily for vamping-up to go out on a Friday night.

  11. i put dr scholl’s gel pads on the balls of my feet and they do WONDERS!

    help so so so so so much. go get them!

  12. Blaez says:

    i wear high heels only when i absolutely necessarily have to and i always bring a backup pair of shoes that look “ok” and not distractful or tacky for when the heels bring on the pain.

    when possible i wear flats or no more than a inch in height heels. i can’t wear carrie bradshaw or stiletto heels. i’d break my ankle or something! the highest i have is like 2 inches. maybe 3? not sure! lol but its enough to “do the event” and then wear something else or go barefoot.

  13. I love heels…well at least how they look. I can’t walk in them, at all. For my prom I wore flats. The second time I went to a prom I wore them for pictures and to walk in, then moved to flats. My date had to pretty much hold me up as I walked in them. I love the look just not the feel, I guess it’s a good think my bf is only about 2 inches taller than me, I don’t have to wear heels :)

  14. I’m 5’1″ and know EXACTLY how you feel.

  15. K says:

    I cannot and will not wear flats on a night that I hit up the town. Usually the numerous vodka tonics I consume numb the pain but I am not going to lie heels hurt more as I get older.

  16. Katelin says:

    i’m so glad i’m tall because sandals and ballerina flats are seriously my best friend. :)

  17. Miss Grace says:

    I buy comfortable heels. They DO exist. No taller than 3″ MAX, and I prefer brands like aerosoles or naturalizers, because old lady shoes are don’t kill my toesies.

    Harder to find cute AND comfy shoes, but worth the search for killer heels that don’t kill you.

  18. A Oh Dub says:

    I soo wear Uggs or flats to work and change into heels if the outfit permits, and back into flats for a walk to lunch. I use the inserts, and they help a little but not a lot. My feet hurt b/c of heels but I love wearing them, too…it’s an awful cycle!

  19. erin says:

    Oh yeah. I love heels. Soooo pretty! But after about 30 minutes of standing or walking in them and you’d best be getting out of my way because I NEED TO SIT DOWN. Why must they hurt so much? A few weeks ago I was in so much pain by the end of my night (we did more walking than usual on a Friday night out) that I was hobbling. And my feet continued to hurt the next day. Uncool.

  20. Nelle says:

    I think I have a similar relationship. I’ve figured out, however, that a 3.5 heel is neither too short nor too uncomfortable. I shoot for that height now :).

  21. Maxie says:

    It’s all about finding the *right* heel. I always walk around the store for a while in my shoes to make sure I won’t be miserable.

  22. stealthnerd says:

    At a whopping 5’1/4″ I should LOVE heels. And I do. I love to look at them. I love to buy them. I love to have them on my shoe rack. I do not, however, love to wear them.

    It’s kind of a problem.

  23. Miss Musing says:

    I put gel inserts into my high heels and it helps minimize the pain.

  24. A Super Girl says:

    Oh yes, they aren’t my friends either. I do have a few pair that I turn to that are relatively comfortable, but overall they aren’t fun. They sure are cute though!

    And PS…one of my favorite and most comfortable pairs of shoes is from Payless!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Maybe you should invest in something a bit nicer than payless heels, cheap heels are generally more uncomfortable because they have not been made with the same support system. I’m not saying go out and buy some new Choos, but a pair of Franco Stewarts or even Steve Maddens can go a long way!

  26. Even though I’m 5’3″… I can’t wear heels. Because I have a think for short men. So when I wear heels, I’m taller than they are. My boyfriend in high school wouldn’t go to prom with me unless I wore ballet flats.

  27. I hardly buy any high heels anymore because of the exact same issue. And even though I have those gel pads to put in them, I still prefer flat ballerina type shoes.

  28. Lil' Woman says:

    I hear ya..I’m 5’3-5’4″ and I love the look og heeels but I don’t think I have one comfortable pair in my closet..it’s a double edged sword.

  29. Susan says:

    I know what you mean. I have five foot zero – I used to be able to rock a pair of high heels, but my knees are turning against me.

  30. SoMi's Nilsa says:

    All I can say: Amen!

  31. Penny says:

    After seeing what years of wearing very high heels has done to my aunt’s feet,I made a conscious decision to never wear high heels.You heard me right,never.My feet are just way too sensitive,and even blister sometimes when I wear flats,so I can just imagine what high heels would do to them.

    I’m a sucker for comfort over class.Although,it must be said that you get really pretty flat shoes.So I don’t feel so bad about my choice.

  32. Jane Perry says:

    i totally understand the whole love hate thing. if i could wear flats the rest of my life. i just might. but some of those heels are just too cute!

  33. Heidi Renée says:

    You are not alone. I went shoeless at my own wedding. It was all I could do to stand during the ceremony.

  34. Andrea says:

    When I have to get dressed up then I wear heels cause I’m 5’2” with stubby little legs but other than that i stick to practical shoes.

  35. SA says:

    I’m 5’2″ and hate hate HATE heels. Pretty to look at though.

  36. Totally in the love hate relationship.

    I normally wear knee high boots with chunky 4 inch heels, and they’re my most favorite piece of footwear.

    However, I also own a pair of delicious Colin Stuart leather boots with stiletto heels – yum.

    These are my most uncomfortable high heels – I actually start limping if I wear them for an extended period of time!

    I unfortunately love love love these boots and wish I could wear them more often, and I would, if they didn’t cause my feet to hurt so much!


  37. Maki says:

    I know what you’re saying. I’m 5’4″, so they are my best friend as well. But, I LOVE heels!! It’s true that I can’t wait to get them off after a long night of partying, but I can go on and on for hours standing up with heels… It makes me feel good about myself.

    Loving the photo of you in the wellies. Perfect!

  38. Caz says:

    Being 5’9″ I can often get away without wearing heels because I’m tall anyway. But I still love them! I love being even taller, and I love the way they make my legs look. That being said, I hear ya on the pain! OUCH. After a few hours, or lots of walking, they always hurt SO much.

    From what I’ve heard: those gel inserts etc. are lifesavers. You should spend the $5 each to stick a pair in each of your high heels.

    A slight platform makes for a better feeling ball of the foot.

    Look for a 3″ heel instead of a 4″. They make your legs look just as good with less strain on your feet.

    Learning from experience (and my boyfriend’s impatience) I always try to take a large enough purse that I can tuck a pair of flip flops or flats into for walking long distances. I’m totally a flats-commuter girl and put heels on once I’m in the office. Lame maybe, but less painful definitely!

  39. Megan says:

    I think it is fair to say it is much easier to totter in $800 Manolos than $20 Payless. As much as I heart Payless, you do get what you pay for. Even Carrie would have blisters. :)

  40. I have been banned from wearing certain shoes. After complaining two or three nights in a row a friend of mine did me a favor and threw the most GORGEOUS pair of heels out… for me. I will thank her one day. I’m sure. But sometimes I still envision a kick ass outfit that they would be perfect with.

    Oh men have no idea what we do for fashion.

  41. LBluca77 says:

    I love heels. I have an entire shoe closet full of them. The higher the better. But yes they do kill my feet too. Some of them I have managed to break in enough that if i have to be standing for a long time they don’t bother me. But most of my heels are only for walking from the cab to a seat.

    Try heels with a little platform at the toes. It also helps with height and i find them to be more comfortable.

  42. Mandy says:

    I hate heels. The idea of wearing them for more than an hour or two makes me want to cry. I only wear heels once or twice a year. I can wear a smaller heel, but typically I just choose to wear flats.

  43. Ginger says:

    *sigh* I feel the same way. Heels are damn sexy but hurt like the dickens after 15-30 minutes of actual usage.

    I use inserts as often as I can, but I also try to buy better quality shoes as well. They tend to be roomier and built better and don’t pain you so much.

    Personally, I love Rockport for their shoes. A lot of their stuff is fugly, but you can find some really great classic shoes there too. My fave pair of boots are from there. They have skinny 2″ heels and are the only pair that I can wear all day, then into the night while I dance, too!

    I really think it’s worth the investment. Why get 5 pairs of Payless shoes that you can’t wear for more than 20 minutes when you could pay the same amount and get a fabulous pair that will last you forever? (I’m guilty of the Payless shoes, too)

  44. Lucy says:

    I totally could have written this post. I’ve always wanted to be one of those glamorous women out shopping in her heels. Sadly I’m the girl in her tennies or ballet flats if I want to last more than 1/2 an hour.

    I love heels, but they don’t love me back. :(

  45. Hi! I'm Erin says:

    My rule is that for every day heels they must be shorter than 3″. My FAVORITE pair of heels ever was a pair of black Bandolino’s that had about a 2″ heel. I wore them EVERYWHERE without pain. I eventually had to replace them with a pair of Nine West ones that are almost as good.

    I do have some fancy heels that are 3″ or higher, but I don’t wear them if I’m going to be walking much. Except for, you guess it, another pair of Bandolino’s. I guess the key is to find a brand that just really fit your foot.

  46. golublog says:

    I’m 5’1 I should embrace heels as well. I like them in theory, but can wear them for all of twenty minutes before I cry out in pain.

  47. Andi says:

    at 5’0′ I would love to wear heels but I walk a lot around San Francisco and my feet just say no. It sucks.

  48. Lys says:

    yeah…heels are the devil. i own a few pairs that i only wear to events that require me to dress up. which means i pretty much wear them twice a year if they’re lucky (i’m lucky if i don’t get to wear them.) plus, my bf is my height, so if i wear them, i tower 3 inches over him!

    i’m a chucks and vans kinda girl. no heels, no laces, just slip-on, flat-footed comfort :)

  49. My experience is that the better quality the shoe, the less my feet hurt. Of course, better quality often means more expensive, which is tough because I’m a girl on a budget.

  50. laurwilk says:

    Hmm…at nearly 5’10”, I think I hate high heels more than most girls. Because my legs don’t get to have that fake elongated look thanks to a great pair of heels. Not unless I want to be 6’2″. And so I think we should all go back to a level playing field. Heel free! I don’t get to be cute and petite so why should petite girls get to be long and tall! Hahaha, GRRRR!

    And the agony…oh lord! I have ONE pair of heels that don’t hurt my feet. I can’t wear any heel with a heel because my heels are so dang skinny and they slide out as I clodhop down the street.


  51. Emily says:

    I also have a love/hate relationship. I have the foot petals and they dont help :-( I’e just learned that I cant go above 2.5 inches if I plan to wear them all day!

  52. jlc says:

    Hahah!! You are sooo not alone! Most of my shoewear is ballet flats thanks to the hubbs who is also MY height.

    Totally diggin’ your rainboots though. ;)

  53. jlc says:

    Hahah!! You are sooo not alone! Most of my shoewear is ballet flats thanks to the hubbs who is also MY height.

    Totally diggin’ your rainboots though. ;)

  54. Shannalee says:

    I TOTALLY get this. I’ll never forget a few falls ago when I was in Minneapolis for the weekend with a friend, and we were doing a lot of walking at this conference thing – I literally almost cried because my feet hurt so much. We promptly went to Target and I bought these UGLY flat shoes that slide on and off and wore them, not caring at all how they looked.

    It’s a constant struggle because none of my heels are comfortable for more than a few hours (at most). I can wear them to work (where I sit) but it’s hard to go anywhere!!

    You’ll have to post and update if those petal pads or anything else is a real solution. I would be thrilled!