We all know you can wear heels at any age – you can wear anything you want at any age, really – but have you noticed that those high heels aren’t as comfortable as they used to be? Turns out there are real reasons for that.
As we age, our feet change. You might find that your shoe size goes up. No, our feet aren’t actually growing, but their shape is changing. Gravity and weakened ligaments and tendons can cause our arches to drop and our feet to get longer and wider.
Another change is that we lose foot fat. Who knew that foot fat was a thing? Over time the fatty padding on the bottoms of our feet thins out, giving us less cushioning as we walk.
So what do you do to keep your feet feeling great? Get new shoes, of course! (For some of us, new shoes are always the answer!)
Here are some things to look for when you go shoe shopping.
Get nonslip soles. Soles that grip the ground will give you a more secure footing and keep your feet from sliding out from under you. A grooved sole also gives you added traction if you are walking on surfaces that are wet or slippery.
Open wide. If you are worried about having to bend over and wrestle your feet into a pair of shoes, look for shoes with a wider opening. You can slip your foot in with a minimum of trouble.
Laces or straps? If your fingers have become a little stiffer over time, Velcro straps might be better than laces. You can pull the straps nice and snug for a good fit.
Don’t be stingy. Be prepared for sticker shock. To keep your feet comfortable and in good condition, you might have to shell out more money for a pair of shoes than you are used to. Quality really matters when it comes to shoes. Spend enough that you get the right fit for your feet. It will be worth it in the long run.
Padding: If you want to keep a bounce in your step, look for shoes with ample cushioning on the footbed and sides. This will keep you comfortable as you run errands or go sightseeing. Padding eases the force of your foot hitting the ground and will lessen the wear and tear on your hips, back, and knees.
Don’t go too high. If you have balance issues and are afraid you might do a face plant on your way to work, don’t wear shoes that have too high a heel or a high platform. Look for flats or shoes with a slightly raised heel. These can be just as stylish as heels.
Brick and mortar stores are your best bet. Buying online is great for convenience and selection, but you want to make sure you have shoes that fit your feet just right. To get that, you’re going to have to go to a store. Go ahead and research different shoe styles online if you’d like, but when you’re ready to buy, go to a store and try the shoes on and walk around in them for a bit.
No one is saying you have to throw away your high heels in favor of “old lady” shoes. But quality supportive footwear is going to make it easier to step out in those heels when you want to. And you know you’re going to want to.