What makes a heel comfortable?

Many women view high heels as implements of torture, and they certainly can be. But there are a group of design features that can make them far more comfortable to wear. Here's some tips from style expert Sally McGraw. 

1. Heel width: Spiky stilettos - heels that are narrow from the base to the tip - can make balance difficult and put extra pressure on the ball of the foot. A thicker, tapered heel helps distribute your weight a bit more evenly.

2. Toe box: Very few women find truly pointed toe shapes to be comfortable, and square toes fall in and out of style. The two toe box shapes that tend to be timeless and comfortable are round and almond. Round gives your toes more room overall, but almond runs a close second. 

3. Footbed cushioning: If you need to use a custom insert, built-in cushioning can be the enemy. But if you're just shopping for a supportive, walkable heel, seeking soft arch support and ball-of-foot cushioning can make a huge difference. 

4. Heel height: The obvious factor, of course, but worth mentioning. If you have trouble with heels overall but like the look, aim for 2" or so. When you get above 3", many women experience pain and balance issues. Bear in mind, though, that platform heels can be deceptive: Subtract the platform height from the heel height to determine the perceived height (how tall the heel feels when you wear it).

5. Brand: Some bargain brands offer a few comfy designs, but lines that focus on foot comfort tend to make heels that feel good to wear. Clarks, ECCO, Born, Naturalizer, and Rockport are all good bets.

6. Do your best to find heels that meet as many of these criteria as possible. And if you need guidance, the staff at Schuler Shoes (https://www.schulershoes.com/) is knowledgable and helpful.

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