Lisa Hannam
Lisa Hannam

How I’m Surviving Wedding Season in My Heels – Pain-Free

Comfort is king with shoes, but so is height for heels. So when I met Kevin Fraser, president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada and a Canadian certified pedorthist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and I asked him what kind of shoes I should wear to a full-day wedding to save my feet from pain, I couldn’t help but laugh awkwardly. He told me to choose a heel that’s two inches high. TWO INCHES HIGH?!


“Not going to happen,” I said. While I do think a kitten heel can be pretty for the right occasion, a wedding just isn’t it for me. Despite the fact that wearing heels to a wedding means I’ll be in them for at least eight hours, I want to look Cindy Crawford-tall. Doesn’t everyone?

So, I begged Fraser for more fashionably realistic advice, despite the fact that even chiropractors suggest short heels (which are not high heels!). Not just for me, but for all of us. I cannot be the only woman wearing high heels at a wedding. And I can’t be the only one who’s stubborn enough to keep them on all night – they go with my dress.

Here’s what we came up with:

    1. Fit is the new king, as it will allow me to pick the most comfortable heel at a height I’m comfortable with wearing (um, higher than two inches, please). To make up for that end-of-day swelling from being on my feet all day, Fraser says to make sure the shoe doesn’t rub or dig into parts of my feet. Try both shoes on at the store. Walk in them. And if I can, do that for 15 minutes. When I say that I’d be embarrassed to take 15 minutes of a salesperson’s time, he says most stores will refund shoes as long as there is no wear on the soles or heel. “Feet can expand in volume by five per cent in a normal day in a healthy adult,” he says. Midday is the best time to try shoes on before buying. Rule of thumb… or rule of finger that is:  I should be able to fit my finger in the back of the shoe for a good fit, Fraser says.
    2. Choose forgiving materials, like leather or fabric. While plastic and faux leather are shiny and beautiful, my feet will hate me for it. Instead, he says, I should choose materials that form to the foot instead of fighting it. I’ve learned this the hard way, and my favourite heels are not only leather, but the lining is too.
    3. Don’t do everything on game day. Book that pedicure a week BEFORE the wedding, he says. A same-day pedi, with all that buffing and filing and moisturizing, can make your feet extra sensitive and rid of the protective thicker skin. Toenails grow less than one millimetre in one week, so I have nothing to worry about with my polish, he adds. Also, don’t wear brand-spanking new heels to a wedding, he warns me. Wear them in before. I can always get them polished and cleaned up if they get scuffed.

If you take home anything from this post, learn this: The reason heels hurt me so much, says Fraser, is because they put my body weight on the balls of my feet instead of my heels. The best thing I can do to fix that is use a metatarsal support pad (a round pad that sits right underneath the balls of the feet). Funny enough, that’s exactly what Charles Lundy, director of research and development for Dr. Scholl’s, told me too. (Two men can’t be wrong about heels, can they?) This little pad lifts the front of the foot slightly, shifting the weight back to the heels, no matter their height. Rounded toe platforms alleviate some of this too, says Fraser. But – surprise, surprise – the sexiest heels to do that don’t have a red sole. Lundy says Jimmy Choos offer better weight distribution. No wonder I have more high-heeled Choos in my closet than other brands.


Dr. Scholl’s For Her Ball of Foot Cushions