While many of us have got office wear right down to a t, office footwear is another story altogether. We women have an unhealthy addiction to heels to the point of seriously affecting our orthopedic health just in the name of style. So how do we break the conundrum of wearing smart footwear without killing our feet?
Why are high heels the villain of this story?
Everybody says they are bad for you, except of course the people who make them, but why exactly are those towering pumps, those slavering stilettos so bad? Feet act like shock absorbers – they carry weight and absorb the impact the ground exudes back with ease. Now if feet are jammed into heels, well, ouch! The entire weight of the body then gets concentrated on the balls and toes of the feet. The preliminary results are achy feet; the secondary effects are the bunions, blisters and ingrown toe-nails and finally the tertiary and longer-lasting effects – serious bone damage. And high heels don’t just damage feet – long-term heel abuse can cause spider veins, a jammed Achilles Tendon, chronically taut and shortened calf and ankle tendons, hip damage, early onset of osteoarthritis in the knees and a sore lower back!
Does that mean we should take off our heels?
No, but high heels are basically just meant to strut in a little, not stride on for hours. Here are some tips to wear the heels on your feet, but not to wear out the ones in your feet!
- Ideally high heels should not be worn repetitively – if you’ve worn your stilettos on one day, give your feet a rest the next by wearing flats (but with a 2cm heel and a padded insole lest flats too become painful!).
- Try and choose thicker heels – wear blocks over stilettos or try wedges for the height and posture advantage without the I-am-dying-in-my-heels strain!
- Exercise your feet – every time you sit behind your desk, get your feet out of those heels and rotate them in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. Scrunch and release your toes, stretch your feet and walk barefoot for a while to ease those tendons.
- Be careful while buying heels – they have to be the right shoe size – not so loose that let your feet slip out but not pinchy tight either. Your toes need space to move a little – if they are jammed against each other and the shoes, you might be wearing a size too small.
- Use cushions and toe supports – ultimately wearing high heels may look great but they are terrible for your feet. Make use of heel pads, cushions and other padded inserts that make your heels more comfortable.
Choose the right footwear for work
Wedges are science’s answer to the foolhardiness of stilettos. They give you the requisite height and posture without putting on too much pressure on feet. Plus they come in pretty colours and textures that can really add that oomph to any office outfit, particularly in summers.
Gladiator flats: Nothing beats ribbons of fabric criss-crossing across your calves to add a sexy yet whimsical look to your outfit. Perfect for summers, gladiators take away the needs of heels by simply being stunners themselves.
Ballerinas: They come in an amazing number of colors, textures with a myriad of embellishments that can add so much to any old vanilla pant and shirt combination. Paired with a matching bag and some over-sized sunglasses, who needs heels!
Low-slung heels: You have to be on the lookout for these. Most low slung heels are a tad unattractive and come in a limited number of styles – but they do give you a good posture and that professional look.
Boots: Stilettos, wedges or blocks – boots are perfect office wear when the chill hits the air. Since they are minimal ankle length and can go up all the way to the thigh, they give your feet far more comfort than pumps or flimsy sandals – the posture is there but so is a modicum of comfort.
So to all you heel addicted women, there is hope. You can still wear attractive footwear to work that still looks appropriate and doesn’t destroy your feet!