walking

Mythbusting: Toe tape

This is a post from one my archives, I hope you will it’s an interesting technique that is worth exploring.

The term foot binding, will always be associated with the horrific and tortuous procedure historically performed on Chinese women prior to the 20th Century. You might argue we put ourselves through similar tortures forcing our feet to shape of a heeled shoe, it’s true but we do it through choice, and we can liberate our feet whenever we choose. Now ironically it’s a form of foot binding that is supposed to help.

According to Marie Helvin, taping together toes three and four (counted from your big toe) will stop you from suffering in your heels. I can report having tried it, it does indeed seem to work. Why I’m not totally sure, but my weight seems to be more evenly spread, without the tape I feel my feet rolling outwards, instead when taped the weight is more towards the ball of my big toe.


My Elbas are really easy to wear, but the tape means I can stand in one spot a lot longer. It does only make sense with closed toe shoes, but still works even when the vamp is really low cut.

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Mythbusting: Gel Insoles

So I’m sure you’ve all heard about Gel insoles, theres a lot of info flying about about them and I’ve definitely heard conflicting information, and sometimes you might wonder if a reviewer has been paid, or influenced in some way to write this. I shall try to approach this as objectively as possible, bringing in various points of view.

First of all lets see how these things work, the idea is the gel moulds to your feet and reduces the pressure on your feet, the gel is also meant to absorb the impact of walking. Now these things are do genuinely reduce pressure while standing, and do give you an extra half hour of so of standing, but if you walk properly most of the impact is taken by your heel and straight up your body so it doesn’t make much of a difference, on the other hand if the shoe is loose it really messes your balance up while walking, especially if the insole doesn’t fit properly.


You may have seen this advert on the TV recently (if you still watch TV), it claims to give your heels “the sneaker feel” but lets be honest, you’re still putting all your weight through the balls of your feet, and theres no way you’ll want to stand for a full day in these.

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Mythbusting: Toe tape

The term foot binding, will always be associated with the horrific and tortuous procedure historically performed on Chinese women prior to the 20th Century. You might argue we put ourselves through similar tortures forcing our feet to shape of a heeled shoe, it’s true but we do it through choice, and we can liberate our feet whenever we choose. Now ironically it’s a form of foot binding that is supposed to help.

According to Marie Helvin, taping together toes three and four (counted from your big toe) will stop you from suffering in your heels. I can report having tried it, it does indeed seem to work. Why I’m not totally sure, but my weight seems to be more evenly spread, without the tape I feel my feet rolling outwards, instead when taped the weight is more towards the ball of my big toe.


My Elbas are really easy to wear, but the tape means I can stand in one spot a lot longer. It does only make sense with closed toe shoes, but still works even when the vamp is really low cut.

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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.

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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

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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…

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Cheat with platforms

Platforms are a great way to get you extra height for free, I’ll admit it’s cheating but what’s life if you don’t find some shortcuts. Effectively the platform reduces the heel height by the same amount as the platform. So if you usually wear a 10cm heel, you could wear a 12cm heel with 2cm platform.

The trick is to be subtle in your approach, and nobody does it quite as well as our friends in Italy. A hidden platform can give you 1-1.5cm without showing much, and if the shoe is cut well it will draw attention away from the platform

Nicholas Kirkwood loves to live dangerously, his shoes are extremely low cut to show loads of toe cleavage, and a defined arch. Teaming them with a pair of fishnets is a good way add more drama, but usually I’ll go bare with these.

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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.
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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.