I am sure that some readers will be able to file this under, “Been There Done That.”
Advice on walking in high heels offered by a future podiatry patient…
There are few more pleasurable feelings than walking gracefully in high heels and also few less pathetic sights than some one stumbling along in obvious pain.
The most important consideration is balance, especially when wearing stiletto heels. These have two balance aspects to them. Firstly, the small scale issue of transverse balance (side to side movement of the heel) which is adjusted by small movements in your calves and ankles to keep the heel vertical. Secondly, there is the larger issue of longitudinal weight distribution – that is adjusting your body weight back and forth with the larger muscles in your hips and back. This has a fundamental effect on your walking style. With more chunky, stable, heels, only the second of these aspects is really present, transverse rocking not really being a problem because of the larger heel area. You may decide to start with a chunky heel – its certainly easier – but on the other hand you will then lack confidence in the thinner heels. Its better master the balance exercises in section four previously – then you can concentrate on the distribution of weight and wear any type of heel.
As you walk, you must continuously adjust your center of weight to maintain your balance. The correct position when standing is a slight backwards lean and relaxed position so that the weight is evenly split between your heel and sole. Try to imagine your center of weight coming down your legs in line with the heels, but just forward (1-2in) of them. Another way to think of this, is the first movement up on tip toe puts all the weight on your toes, but then you just shift it back slightly, settling half of it onto the heel. A common fault is leaning too far forward which causes small mincing steps in order to prevent over-balancing. The remedy is to lean back. Of course, leaning back too far will have disastrous consequences too. You should try to imagine your weight settled into your hips and a smooth even stride leading from your hip and pelvic region which are more prominent than when walking in flats. Try not to exaggerate this movement and keep your bottom still – unless you particularly want to project a sexy image.
You will find that the way that your leading foot makes contact with the ground is related to your posture and stride length. I have seen it suggested in quite a number of places that the sole of the foot should come down first or perhaps together with the heel – this is pretty crap advice. In practice, this leads to you leaning too far forward and taking short steps. It can also be a strain to try and twist your foot further forward so that the sole comes down first, not to mention being uncomfortably off balance in the process. The best way is to make sure that your heel contacts the ground first, but the sole follows through very shortly afterward. Try not to put too much weight on the heel as it contacts the ground and make sure that sole follows through quickly and smoothly. If you lean too far back, then you will develop a large swanking stride and will tend to land fairly heavily on the heel, which is a good way to bend or break it.
And what about the foot?