Some women seem born to rock high heels, but for most of us, we look like a fawn learning to walk. Our ankles shake, our feet ache, and our calves kill us. Still, unless you have an injury and have been advised not to wear heels, learning to walk in high heels is largely a matter of practice. You have to develop your swagger, and most importantly, strengthen the muscles in your feet, ankles and legs — and that will just take time.
So, if you’re looking to wear high heels but know your heel game is lacking at the moment, read on. Here’s how you’re going to learn to walk in high heels.
Step 1: Start Low
Just like you wouldn’t sign up for a marathon before you can run a mile, you’re certainly not going to be able to walk in 5 inch stilettos right off the hop. Start with a kitten heel (around 1.5-1.75 inches), and become comfortable in them before you start working your way up. You should be able to wear the kitten heel for 3-4 hours, no problem, before you can graduate to the next level.
When you get a new pair of heels, be sure to practice walking in them in your own home before you take to the streets. Don’t just wear them in front of a mirror for a few minutes and take them off. Really get a feel for them, being sure to walk heel-toe, with each foot placed as if walking a thin, straight line.
Step 2: Mid-Level Promotion
Next up, you’re going to try a slightly more substantial heel. Aim for a classic 2 inch. If you’re looking for an extremely comfortable option, pick a block heel. These heels are wider, and because your weight will be more evenly distributed, you’ll be able to walk more easily. However, if you’re goal is to make the transition to stilettos, now is the time to start mastering the art of walking on a slimmer heel.
Don’t rush to graduate out of these heels. You want to be able to walk perfectly comfortably in this more modest rise before you even think about upping the ante. If a couple hours on your feet in this heel height is still too much, you’re not ready to move up. This may takes months — or longer if you’re not regularly wearing heels. Be patient.
Pro-tip: To accelerate your progress and decrease your likelihood of injury, perform standing calf raises daily. Perform 3 sets of 20-30 reps to start. This will strengthen the main muscles needed to sustain your weight for long periods in heels. Do them barefoot for best results.
Step 3: Top Tier
If you’re planning on sporting a heel higher than 2 inches, you’re venturing into stiletto territory. While stilettos can be as short as 1 inch, most are 7 to 8 inches high. Yikes! You’re obviously not going to want to jump from 2 inches to 8, so work your way up slowly. It doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful high heels on the planet: if you can’t walk in them, you’ll look ridiculous.
Keep doing those calf raises, and be sure to add stretching to your regime. The best stretches include calf band stretches, the drop heel stretch, and simply pointing and flexing your toes.
So, do you think you can handle the heels? If you follow these steps and take your time, you stand a really good chance!