Heel thyself

There is no denying that a night out in heels will more taxing on the muscles, it takes a lot more effort to reach the same end goals compared to flat shoes, yes it’s great as it means more calories burnt! That does come at a bit of a price though, I’m sure we have all felt that burn in our calves and thighs after a night out or a day shopping in our favourite shoes, unexpectedly the world of sports science has the answers.

What do these possibly have to do with each other? Keep reading to find out!
Image left used with permission © Rupert Sanderson 2016, image right used under Creative Commons License Credit:Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

That ache during the following morning is literally a stiletto hangover, heels need a lot more balance adjustments so spending a lot of time on our feet wearing heels has caused our muscles to work overtime, they’ve been oxygen deprived and even after a good eight hours of sleep there’s still that lingering lactic acid that hangs around in those hard to reach bits of the legs. That’s no problem if we have the time for a good hot bath will open up all those small blood vessels and allow that lactic acid to break up and leach out.

Lets face it though, our weekends are precious and nobody has two hours to burn to take a bath the morning after each stiletto session, so what if there was a solution? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to do all that recovery while we slept? Well the world of sports science has the answers, professional athletes have even less time for recovery, especially during the more intense periods of their respective seasons, they have therefore some useful techniques we could borrow. Bathing and massages are all time consuming elements which work well but I’ll focus on some quick techniques that can be worked into our real world lives.

Before exerting themselves athletes will stretch and warm up, it helps to open small blood vessels in the body meaning every single muscle is primes for action. Since we are hardly about to sprint the 100m final, a few stretches will adequately loosen up our muscles and give us a couple of extra hours in the tank.

What I mainly want to focus on though is the recovery phase, essentially after spending time in heels we should see it as post workout. The worst thing to do is be totally inactive, that’s fine if it’s earlier in the day, we can potter around the house in our slippers, cook and do some chores etc. Light activities keep the blood pumping round washing away the soreness. That’s not realistic if we are getting home late whether from work or pleasure, but a little change in the way we do things will ease our lives.

First of all, try to avoid collapsing into bed, have a quick shower, this will set into motion the process of recovery, its the perfect way to signal to our bodies to start repairing and refreshing itself. Next is our secret weapon, sports people use compression garments to aid recovery post exercise and we can benefit just the same by using compression on our legs. So before getting into bed I’ll slip into a pair of compression tights, and I recommend a pair that is at least factor 10 which will be a decent amount of squish.


Perfect for sleeping in, these are my Class II compression tights in sexy prosthetic beige, they offer a lot more compression than ones from the supermarket. Also I would only wear footed tights to bed as they allow proper circulation at the ankle.

We can actually wear these with our heels too, and there are some really fun looking compression tights these days that could seriously be paired with an outfit, but often in many places they only come in hearing aid beige. Besides I, like many prefer to let my legs breathe a little, so only really wear when recovering.

No longer reserved for grannies! We want to be both healthy and fashionable and there is a distinct rise in popularity of pretty compression hosiery, hopefully we will see these in supermarkets in a couple of years
Used under Creative Commons License credit:Enter

A few weekends ago I made a comparison test, over two nights I recovered differently, first sleep in compression, then the next night without. I totally accept that this test is in no way scientific, there are far too many variables and the sample size is one and I already had preconceptions! However when trying this I definitely felt a whole lot fresher in the morning after compression recovery.

Thanks for reading this inane rambling today, and if you’ve made it this far, please feel free to give this a try, and let me know how you all find it! If it works well and we ask shops to have more choice in this then business will listen.

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5 comments

      1. Wow! I still haven’t put my winter wardrobe away! And this is London where temperatures are typically a few degrees warmer. On a plus note now I work around the Liverpool Street area I have discovered the wonders of Collectif clothing.

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