Stilettos are power in business. While you may not choose to wear four inch heels, it’s hard not to pull out some form of high heels when you want to look especially polished.
Besides the unmistakable confidence heels provide, heels give you a taller image and slimmer physique. Appearing taller and slimmer, regardless of your size or weight, can instantly make you look and feel more professional and powerful.
Controversially, in light of the #MeToo movement and it being “Year of the Women” with a record-breaking two hundred and fifty-five women running for office and one hundred and twenty women (and counting) elected according to The LA Times, it is worth pausing to note that according to Psychology Today, “in a business setting, you may get the agreement of more of the men in the room with high heels on. However, it is important to realize that the persuasive effect of high heels does seem to be connected to their sex appeal.”
Powerful women such as Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, wear stiletto high heels, despite a trend towards lower heel heights and even flats on the runway, and in street fashion. This perpetuates the expectation to wear heels in general as part of women’s polished business attire.
Any woman who has worn heels knows wearing heels can cause pain. This is because heels compromise your body position. Besides the basic foot pain high heels can cause, compromising your body position can lead to problems with your back, neck and shoulders. source
Reap the benefits of increased overall confidence and professionalism that heels can provide, pain free. Here are five hacks to help you navigate wearing high heels comfortably:
1. Wear Block Heels
Thicker heels distribute the weight more evenly. Over the past couple of years, block heels have dominated the high heels scene – particularly for work footwear. It’s easy to find stylish block heels that coordinate with your professional attire.
Stretch your plantar fascia and calves to compensate for the abuse. Here is a simple exercise to try.
3. Get Support
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Running often causes plantar fasciitis as does carrying extra weight, and wearing shoes without enough support, particularly arch support. You can add support with inserts such as these for arch support, or these to redistribute your weight.
4. Improve Your Posture
Wearing heels forces you to walk on the balls of your feet. This shifts your center of gravity to the front and makes you arch your back when you stand. Sheknows.com has useful advice that also provides a bit of a workout: “Use your core muscles and stand up straight. Pretend you’re strutting your stuff on the catwalk and use your hips and legs to propel yourself forward. It should feel more like a bounce than a normal stride. Practice it at home until you’ve got it down pat — this can be one of the easiest ways to avoid pain in heels.”
5. Go Flat Out
Opting out of heels entirely, and wearing flat shoes is a valid option. An anti high heel movement is happening in fashion right now, and it’s trickling down into the workplace. Pointed toe loafers are especially stylish to wear to work with everything from suits, to pencil skirts, and dresses. A pointed toe creates visual length, simulating the elongating effect of a heel.
For those of you who cannot wear heels for more than an hour or two, consider keeping your heels at your desk, or in your workbag. Wear flats everywhere, except for a presentations or key meetings where exuding power, polish, and confidence is critical.
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