How To Walk In High Heels

Need to look alluring, fast? Forget that you’re 10 pounds heavier than you’d like to be, hate your hair, or wished you looked better in red lipstick—high heels can make you look seductive right now by drawing attention to your shapely ankles, making your legs look longer, your backside more prominent, your breasts more pert and giving your strut a sensual swagger. Voila! Instant sex appeal! However, if you avoid the allure-adding appeal of high heels simply out of fear or inexperience, it’s time to step up to the stiletto, strap it on, and learn how to take a step in the thing:

  1. Start where you are. If you rarely—or never—wear heels, find a pair of sturdy-heeled footwear—a chunky, squarish heel in the vicinity of two inches is ideal. Slip on the shoes and walk. And walk. And walk. Preferably indoors, where you know the terrain. While you’re practicing, twirl, turn corners, stand on your tip-toes, step side to side as you would in a slow dance, do a jig, climb stairs, bend down to pick up a bit of dust from the floor, sit down and get up. Ready to graduate to a higher, skinnier heel? For comfort’s sake, make sure the toe is naturally rounded or open and avoid backless or slingback styles, which can be uncomfortable and make you (and your ankle) wobble. Repeat the above moves on a variety of floor surfaces
  2. When walking, keep your legs as straight and close together as you can. Feet should point forward, with each foot placed near-directly in front of the other.
  3. Step by placing your heel down first, then bring the rest of the foot down quickly and smoothly.
  4. Take smooth, even steps. If you feel unstable, consider shortening your stride.
  5. Think “supermodel.” As you walk, hold your chin up high and swing your arms for balance.
  6. Avoid walking on ice, slush, mud, grass, sand, gravel and grated surfaces, on which you can slip or sink. When in doubt, take off your heels or make your date carry you across iffy terrain.
  7. High heels are supposed to be sexy, yet nothing can be unsexier than tumbling down stairs in your stilettos. Thus, step slowly and grasp the handrail. When ascending, both sole and heel should land together firmly and simultaneously on each step. When descending, only the sole of the shoe needs to be planted on each step.
  8. Prep your feet. If you’ll be wearing shoes for more than an hour, consider “warming feet up” with some simple moves: Stretch your toes as far as they’ll naturally go. Return to original position. Repeat at least five times. Next, rotate each foot at the ankle five or six times clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Finish by flexing and pointing toes ten times each foot. Some people swear that these stretches make for a less achy high heel-wearing experience.
  9. If you start to fall in heels three inches or greater and there is nothing near to brace yourself with, let yourself go down. Of course you’ll be embarrassed, but trying to regain your balance may cause you to break your ankle—or at least your shoe.
  10. As sexy as they are, heels can stress your ankles. No matter how good you get at walking in heels, don’t walk great distances in them—and if you feel any pain in your ankle or feet, remove your shoes immediately. If you can find someone to massage your feet, so much the better.

STEPHANIE PEDERSEN is the author of Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know ( David & Charles Publishing).

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