It’s All In The Mind

Do you ever wonder why we wear heels, despite the pain it causes some of us? It seems a obvious solution to simply avoid wearing them, however the raison d’etre behind our choice stems from our more evolved social part of our mind (Freud calls this the super-ego) wanting to conform to social or peer pressure to wear what is expected. As adults these norms are set out by the media, social or otherwise.

Some people seem to live in heels, they never suffer pain and it’s as if its perfectly normal to wear them all the time. It comes from starting the right way, building positively with the right frame of mind. Through good experiences, all of a sudden hurdles seem lower and bridges easier to cross, you will be more likely to succeed. That’s a great ideal, but many of people already have strong negative impressions of heels. The more primitive (Freudian id) part of our mind is the instinctive part, it seeks pleasure and avoids suffering. As such the id strongly remembers negative experiences and will try to avoid such situations again. This puts the id and super-ego in conflict, with the stronger determining the choice of footwear.

Essentially your id and super-ego are your consciences which are managed by the ego. The balance of requirements between the id and ego will determine your endurance of heels. The goal is to maximise the super-ego side and minimise the id
Translated from Original Image by Rainer Zenz



Ankle Excercises

Following from my previous post, about strutting which was all about ensuring the impact from each step is spread evenly through your joints, your ankles are the crucial first part of this. Our ankles have evolved to have great freedom of movement, it helped us to run and climb when we were hunter gatherers. In modern society we have the luxury of considering aesthetics, and we can enjoy the beauty of heels, however some as I mentioned it’s something to get used over time.If you don’t regularly wear heels, your ankles will be floppy like our hunter gatherer ancestors, doing excercises to strengthen your ankle muscles will allow you to feel more relaxed and in turn more comfortable in heels. So you’ll feel fresh all day and night in heels, instead of being in agony after 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 48 seconds.


Mythbusting Heel Tricks

Many of you will have suffered in heels, gone back to see how others survive the night in heels. You’ll see many blog posts, or articles where top fashionistas, models, editors, designers, or idi-ahem-experts share their secrets. Some of the techniques seemingly contradict anothers, while other posts blatently promote some product, so which things are effective which aren’t? Everybody’s feet are different, so at times I’m going to be speaking for myself, but hopefully I’ll dispel the techniques that are damaging or downright dangerous.

There are some shocking suggestions out there, which are taken pretty seriously. One of the most drastic techniques is lopping off an inch from your stiletto heels. Lets have a look at what that will do, the heel of your shoe will exert more pressure than the foot of the elephant, an average person in stilettos exerts 2000psi, while an elephant only manages a humble 50psi. Hopefully you’re beginning to see the level of engineering that goes into one of these shoes.

Walk This Way/Talk This Way

I’ve been inspired by the the Run-D.M.C. lyrics, where an experienced lady shows a boy what women want. In the same way that Run-D.M.C. claim theres a special swagger for the boys, there is good reason that models have that typical runway strut, it’s not just pretentiousness. There is a really important function of the “model’s” walk, it’s to correctly spread the impact from each step through your body, it will help protect your joints from wear and breakages, and strengthen and tone muscles However if you try to walk in the same way as with flats, you’ll only end up fighting your heels and potentially causing yourself harm.

Essentially your heels are purposefully throwing you off balance, as a result you have to walk in a special way to retain balance by transferring the force of each step vertically up. Higher heels in particular take no prisoners, in the same way martial artists are trained to always be in the zone, because if you lapse for a moment you’ll get hurt, and the same applies for walking in heels, fall out of the zone and your shoes will punish you.

Couple of clear demonstrations of good technique. Heel first landing of the foot. Knees straight to transfer force up the body, spreading out the impact of each step. Hips swing forward to allow for straight leg, heel-toe movement.

Images used with permission, Left: ©Usien, Right: © Jason Hargrove


Where to train

There is a place where I visit with a new pair of heels, its the perfect location to break in a new pair of shoes, it also has all the facilities you might need if your shoes tire you out or need adjustments. This place has all the equipment you might need get used to a pair of unfamiliar shoes.

Where I hear you ask where can I find somewhere with perfectly flat and hard surfaces, is dry, heated in winter, air conditioned in summer, always something near to lean on, has a cobbler, with somewhere to sit down and great transport connections? Well, drumroll please…


Running Before You Walk

Following on from my intro to learning to walk, I shall be going into a little more detail. Platforms and wedges complicate things, so for simplicity I shall ignore them here, and deal only with single sole shoes designs.

From left to right How best to progress in height

When you’re tense you will fatigue faster, that is the cause of discomfort and pain. Crucial to being comfortable in heels is being relaxed and at ease, to become one with your shoes. If you haven’t been in heels for a while, or wearing a height much more than you’re used to, you’ve probably felt that pressure in your calves, that’s one big cause of tension.

Just like in the bedroom…

…the saying of ‘if it hurts, you ain’t doing it right’ is absolutely true. I believe that there is [at least] one pair of heels out their for each and every person, if you suffer in heels then at least one thing isn’t right. It’s time to fix it and be forever comfy in your stilettos.

Being full of idioms today, it’s important to learn to walk before you run. By that I mean it’s important to recognize that slipping into your dream pair of 12cm Loubs is likely to end in disaster. It doesn’t mean you’ll never achieve that, but instead use your dream shoes as a goal to work towards, the prize being able to strut out in style.

My Sergio Rossi 12cm sculpted wedge heels, I’m getting more comfortable with 11cm and getting closer

Keep coming back over the next few month and I’ll share as much advice and experience as I can, you’ll be walking like a model soon.