Putting your best foot forward
A male colleague once expressed his bewilderment as to why women choose to walk around the office in ratty slippers or flip flops after coming into the office sporting a pair of sassy 4.5-inch stiletto heels.
Usually, when a woman has reached the point where she doesn't care if she's seen in terrycloth ballerina slippers or $1 Old Navy flip-flops, her feet are in recovery from the unimaginable suffering of being in the fiery pits of high heel hell. It really is a place. I swear.
There is something about wearing heels that brings together the outfit, the purpose or even the day; it’s a professional confidence booster akin to a man’s tie. But while there may be 85 different ways to tie a tie, there’s only one way to wear a shoe. And if you do it wrong, your body will hate you for the unnecessary torture, your chiropractor will love the money he’s making off you and your podiatrist will have some of the best stories to tell.
So before you reach for your workday attire finisher, ask yourself a few questions to ensure that you’re wearing the right heels into the office.
The first question is, “Is this heel too high?” There is an appropriate heel height to wear into the office. Assuming you’ve already chosen a pair that is professional for the office, for comfort, it’s probably best not to go over 4 inches. Corporette.com, a career advice website geared toward women, polled 578 of its readers and found that 44 percent of respondents believed that anything over 3.5 inches just isn’t practical. Only 12 percent said they felt that it’s appropriate to go as high as you can “as long as you can walk.” Unfortunately, the experts —Spine Health Institute of Florida— give women a lot less wiggle room, suggesting that 2 inches is ideal for health and comfort.
“How long will I be on my feet today?” If you plan on being on your feet longer than 1 hour, 6 minutes and 48 seconds, it might not be a good idea to pull out your brand new patent leather, pointed-toe Manolos. That’s how long women in a study reported it took to feel pain after wearing an uncomfortable pair of heels. And if you’re one of the 20 percent who feel pain within 10 minutes, you might want to head toward a comfy pair of flats if it’s your day to give several hour-long, back-to-back presentations or will literally be hitting the pavement running around the city for meetings. The bottom line is to keep your daily activities in mind when you’re choosing a pair of heels.
The biggest factor in wearing heels into the office is to ask, “Can I walk in these comfortably?” Heels are not heels without the graceful strides that you take while wearing them. If your stride is not graceful, better yet, if your strut looks more you’re trotting on stilts, you’re doing it wrong. Even when you’re sporting Dr. Scholl’s, you can get a false sense of comfort for a short while and end up with throbbing feet by the end of the day. To ensure that you can walk comfortably, choose a pair where there is no rubbing, no slipping, and no flopping—make sure they are a good fit. There are plenty of tips and old tricks that women use for comfort. Find what works for you and stick to it.
The take home: Your health is far more important than fashion. There is nothing worse than having to walk around the office in slippers or wobble across town in pain.
The final question: Do you really want to be THAT woman?
Please share your tips and tricks for wearing heels to work comfortably.
Posted by Sherkiya Wedgeworth on Sep 26, 2014 at 5:23 PM